The Breakfast Burrito
It’s like Thanksgiving every morning
By Nick DekkerPublished November 1, 2011
November is the month of Thanksgiving, and let’s face it: Thanksgiving is the greatest holiday ever. Take a long weekend, put on some loose sweatpants and sit down to a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and green bean casserole. It’s the one day of the year that binging isn’t frowned upon. To get yourself in shape for the big feast, you need to start early. And I mean early in the day. You need a big breakfast, and one of the most efficient ways to consume such a meal is the breakfast burrito. Take a giant tortilla and wrap it around everything that’s right and good in this world. Plus, breakfast burritos can be filled with ingredients to please carnivores, vegetarians and even vegans.
Quick history lesson: the breakfast burrito isn’t a Mexican dish. It was invented by Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S., adapting the burrito form to include all we love about breakfast: eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, veggies, black beans, salsa. The breakfast burrito typically incorporates some Mexican flavors, but its invention is uniquely American. That’s the American way – take an international dish and pack it full of breakfast.
Get in shape for your Thanksgiving eat-a-thon with a burrito pilgrimage to these local breakfast stops.
Katalina’s Café Corner
1105 Pennsylvania Ave.
Katalina’s is one of the coziest and most colorful breakfast joints in Columbus. The little corner shop with its big wooden patio is an oasis of nourishment in the middle of Harrison West, offering rich meals of Latin pancake balls oozing with Nutella and breakfast tacos loaded with chorizo, eggs and hot sauce. The patio offers a perfect spot to start the day with coffee and a country egg sandwich, while the indoor seats are tucked into every available nook, allowing diners a view of the bustling kitchen.
Kathleen Day and Ryan Janiszewski, who run the shop, never want you to go hungry. Enter the Big ’Ol Burrito (pictured). This massive concoction starts with a spinach tortilla, wrapped around scrambled eggs, American cheese, peppers, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms. The massive meal is sliced in half and served atop a bed of hash browns. It’s also adorned with a side of fresh black bean and corn salsa. Spice it up by adding chorizo or veggie sausage. This flavorful breakfast beast exhibits the creativity of Katalina’s menu and reminds us that a little bit of spice makes comfort food all the better.
Northstar Café has built a loyal following through not one, but three locations around Columbus. Their model of sustainable practices, natural ingredients and creative food preparation draws lines out the doors. Northstar’s breakfast menu has made them a mainstay for the local early morning crowd. The Cloud Nine Pancakes are made with light ricotta cheese and dabbled with bananas and maple syrup. Rich mushroom frittatas go sizzling by as the kitchen crew brings your meal straight to your table. Tall glasses of orange juice are squeezed before your eyes.
The star of their breakfast menu is the Big Burrito. (It’s also one of this writer’s favorite breakfast dishes in Columbus.) Northstar’s take on the breakfast giant wraps a fried egg in a colorful flour tortilla with a mix of black beans, sweet potatoes, sautéed onions, red peppers and white cheddar cheese. I heartily recommend going for the addition of a thick slice of bacon. The blend of veggies, starches, egg, meat and cheese creates a beautiful harmony of flavors that holds together while eating. Try drizzling some of their fresh salsa over top; let it seep down into the ingredients for best results. The Big Burrito can also be prepared completely meat and egg free for the vegan crowd.
Nancy’s Home Cooking
3133 N High St.
Nancy’s is the epitome of the old school neighborhood diner. They’ve been cranking out comfort food for over four decades, and they just won’t stop. When they closed their doors in 2009, the Clintonville neighborhood stepped up to help fund renovations, and the eatery reopened in early 2010. Regulars continue to fill the booths and counter seats at Nancy’s, hungry for big breakfasts like sausage gravy and biscuits, French toast and mounds of home fries.
The Nancy’s signature dish was – and still is – the Garbage Omelet: three eggs loaded with, well, everything: ham, sausage, bacon, green peppers, red peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese. But who has the time to eat an entire omelet with a fork? Fortunately, you can order the same ingredients in burrito form. Yes, the Garbage Burrito packs all the meats, veggies, eggs and cheese into a giant flour tortilla for your dining convenience. In case that isn’t enough, the dish is served with home fries and toast. If you’ve never been to Nancy’s, the Garbage Burrito is a perfect introduction to their home-cooked cuisine.
Nick Dekker holds a legitimate job teaching theatre at Ohio State, but on the side he writes a blog at www.breakfastwithnick.com. He’s also a husband and father, smokes a pipe, and helps run Wild Goose Creative. His book Breakfast With Nick: Columbus debuts November 5th. Please buy it.