Break of Dawn Part II

As previously discussed: birthday brunch, stew for breakfast, etc. and so forth.

Now, here’s everything else. We like to share our food.

Starters: Hawaiian Sausage, Tempura Eggs, Homemade Braised Bacon

Excellent sausage seems to a focal point at Break of Dawn, appearing not just in an à la carte starter but several entrées as well. Hawaiian Sausage is a rich, porky, and spicy (not so much hot as just well spiced) experience. So in other words, my kind of sausage. The herby sauce underneath and crispy coleslaw-like accompaniment beside both go very well, again demonstrating the extensive thought put into everything on the menu.

Tempura Eggs seem more reminiscent of something a ramen place might introduce as a special topping, as a twist on the usual soy sauce egg perhaps, but here it is a wonderful starter. They were perfectly cooked with a crispy crust and still-runny yolks. It’s a simple enough combination, the tempura batter and an egg, but it’s a great pairing.

The Homemade Braised Bacon is house cured, cut very thick, and served with a house-made ketchup. Expertly cooked and finished with a nice crisp on the surfaces and perfectly activated fatty parts.

The Vietnamese coffee and mimosas were also excellent.

Entrées: Kabocha Squash, Green Eggs

The eponymous kabocha is just a single component of the beautifully smooth bisque served with shrimp and chicken egg rolls. For an avid soup lover like my mom, this dish was a perfect breakfast. And who doesn’t like egg rolls?

One could call the Green Eggs a more conventional breakfast dish, but Break of Dawn elevates this dish to a level far beyond any regular ham and eggs. The ham is house-cured, and the green comes from the Thai Basil pesto, which I surprisingly enjoyed as part of the dish. Poached eggs and steamed-then-fried potatoes round out the plate wonderfully.

Deserts: Cinnamon Bun, French Toast Crème Brûlée

I love cinnamon buns. I don’t eat enough of them. Nicely presented with a coffee and almond glaze lending nice nutty notes and aromatics from the coffee with whipped cream melting on top.

I love french toast too. I eat it even less than cinnamon buns though. This french toast is solidly in desert territory, though, with Mexican chocolate sauce lining the bottom of the plate and soy caramel. Of course the french toast itself was great, with the requisite crust and moist middle and all that.

Overall, I loved every presentation, as well as the food itself, of course. So often one sees presentations that are overwrought or trying too hard, but Break of Dawn’s plates are neither of those.

Break of Dawn: Kangaroo Sausage

After quite a long time of hearing about Break of Dawn and having friends highly recommend it to us, we finally tried it! We loved it, of course.

Now I’m always the first to come to Orange County’s defense when someone starts calling it a “culinary wasteland” or “land of chain restaurants” (those are both actual insults I’ve heard), but even I was surprised that a restaurant of this caliber is nestled in the quiet, slightly rundown Laguna Hills Mall. We met friends for a birthday brunch, and as soon as we sat down, we were off. The attentive waiters immediately took orders for starters and drinks (see Break of Dawn Part II).

Interestingly, this was one of the few times I had difficulty deciding what to get. Everything sounded, and looked, as I could see on surrounding tables, great. But a closer reading of the menu turned up a surprise. Beef tongue!

The name of the dish may not shed much light on its actual form, but I sprung at the not-so-common chance to eat one of my favorite meats in a non-Mexican setting. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was very pleased with what was set before me: a stew! Yes, a stew for breakfast. I can honestly say I had never thought of that, and I have had some unique things to break my fast. I’m probably more surprised than I should be, to which I can only say “I am as god made me.”

Upon eating, I was even more surprised to find flavor the likes of which I hardly ever find outside of my house and my mom’s cooking. The dish obviously had much thought put into its construction and preparation. Everything had its place. The beans, the two proteins, the romano cheese, and even the egg all played in the orchestra that was playing the symphony of flavors in this dish, conducted by Chef Dee Nguyen.

Cajun baked beans, beef tongue, fava, bourbon, romano.

Cajun baked beans, beef tongue, fava, bourbon, romano. The crust (I use that term with love) of rustic bread was a nice touch too.