Breakfast with a gentle giant

It's not often that you see any posts on my Vox about breakfast, considering that I go to work at about 10am each morning, which means that I wake up at 9:30 and basically roll out the door haha. But every now and then, I like to enjoy the pleasures of a hot breakfast or brunch. There's just something so sinfully joyful about waking up on a lazy Sunday morning to a plate of fluffy pancakes and eggs and a mug of hot coffee. I have woken up on weekends to make breakfast before, but it's a lot of work early in the morning, and I always seem to have the problem where by the time I finish one item, another item has already gotten cold, and microwaving breakfast is just wrong. So when I really want fresh, hot breakfast, I look to the small mom & pop diners around Boston that offer no-frills cheap breakfast options (I have always felt that breakfast at chain restaurants like IHOP lack something, that homemade touch and flavor that little diners have).

One of my favorite hole in the wall diners is Sunny's Diner in Cambridge, just a few blocks outside of MIT's campus. It's no glamorous cafe, and I used to walk past this place without paying much attention, until I heard from some friends who came here religiously. This tiny little diner is so popular among MIT students that it is almost always packed in the mornings, especially since it only stays open until 2pm each day. The food is your traditional diner breakfast and lunch fare, and the prices are very reasonable for the amount of food you get (most breakfast plates are about $5-6 each). Anyway, my friend Zheng came up to visit from NYC this weekend, and when he mentioned that he wanted to grab a good brunch, I told him that I simply had to show him this little gem. So today, a terribly cold and windy Sunday morning, we braved the elements and made our way to the cozy inside of Sunny's Diner.


After skimming over the menu, we both quickly and gluttonously decided to order the Gentle Giant breakfast plates, which comes with a whopping 3 eggs, 2 pancakes, choice of bacon, ham, or sausage, and a side of home fries… all for just $7.50. I was originally planning to just order pancakes with a side of sausage, but after seeing that the price would come out to $7.25, there was no reason not to throw in the extra 25 cents for the big upgrade and all that variety! The greedy food-lover in me called out and before I knew it, two heaping plates of food sat before me, beckoning to me with their sweet and greasy goodness. This was going to be a breakfast that I wouldn't forget.

Where to start?!? The eggs, I asked for over easy, and they were done perfectly, with the yolks still runny and both sides cooked to tenderness. The home fries, they were amazing. I usually am not a big fan of home fries, because other places tend to make them too greasy, too soft, too heavily seasoned, too potato-y. But these were great, because they had that satisfying crunch on the outside that yielded to the soft fluffy potato inside, just like a big delicious french fry. They didn't need any extra salt either, and was not overly herb-y, which I really liked. And the sausage, it was one big link sliced in half and seared with a light crust on the flat side, juicy and savory without being too fatty or too processed. Yummm. And finally, the pancakes. I was sitting at the bar, so I got to watch them make all my food right in front of me on a big griddle, and what I love about Sunny's Diner is how everything is done as if it was done at home. They make small batches of batter at a time, and the cooks and waitresses have time to chat about anything while you wait at the bar. My chocolate chip pancakes came to me piping hot and fluffy, dusted with powdered sugar and with the butter melting on top as I eagerly reached for my fork. They were delicious, fresh, and simple… IHOP has nothing on these pancakes!

Admittedly, by the time I was done with that gentle giant, I was pretty much unable to get up from my seat. But it was such a satisfying meal I really wouldn't have changed a thing. It was definitely worth the massive food coma that followed and the blast of cold air that greeted me as I regretfully left the diner. Besides, I really can't think of any better way to catch up with an old friend than casually chatting over a hot plate of breakfast. Mmmm….

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