Breakfast in Brussels

So two months of no American breakfast makes me a bit cranky. You may be asking why I don't just go buy the stuff and make it. Well, typically I don't eat breakfast here, and more to the point I have a hour commute from Da Lecht (Anderlecht) to the VUB campus, which means eating is something of an after thought. Also there's the cost thing. See I get free breakfast as a part of my host family home-stay here, usually bread or fruit which is normally very practical for my mornings "on-the-run". Considering the cost of living here I really just can't bring myself to giving into my yearning American cravings of scrambled eggs and bacon.

However earlier this week I broke down. I was literally going to snap if I didn't get something that remotely looked like U.S./English breakfast. I had a primal hunger which led me to the internet for a search of breakfast in Brussels. Other than a few pubs, which offered breakfast, I found very little. I'm certain there are places here, but it's difficult to find. I did only have an extra hour to spare, so a table-service restaurant was not in my options.

Then I had this thought, surely McDonald's here in Brussels must offer breakfast, right? Biscuits, burritos, anything? Not really, but they do still carry the Egg McMuffin. Sure enough I ended up getting off at Porte de Namur for a quick stop at Mickey D's. Immediately after entering I felt guilty. I'm living in Brussels and I'm at Mickey D's? But I couldn't help it, my mouth was watering for the elusive spongy goodness of an English muffin with salty Canadian bacon and eggy goodness in between. Consider this was my first time at any American chain in Europe since arriving, I consider this breach of my Europhile code of conduct acceptable. After-all, even the most familiar of foods are different here. It's still exploratory, right?  Of course McDonald's isn't really fast-food here. A twenty minute wait for one orange yolk egg, on an English muffin was only acceptable since I didn't have to be anywhere important at the moment.

As I ate my muffin on my walk back to the Metro, I felt like a crack feign getting her fix from her dealer. Ahhhh.... finally breakfast!!! The first in almost two months. I could feel the fatty goodness course through my veins. I was renewed, though awkwardly ashamed of my fall from abstinence of my home culture.

I did however find an alternative, which, while still not gastronomically spectacular, does solve that ever so complicated challenge of being authentically Bruxelles, cheap, but still breakfasty. Better yet it's quicker than McDonalds and doesn't require self-regret or guilt. Where is this place? Opinio Cafe on the VUB campus. There's a little sandwich shop which makes decent sandwiches from 10:30-1800 daily. They're all about 3.50 Euro, but so far, the best I've had is their "Breakfast". It's a foot-long baguette with eggs and bacon. It won't win any awards for breakfast of the year, but when you're walking from Petillon with a major head-ache from the night before, and have to have something, anything breakfasty... then this is pretty darn good. It definitely is a cheap eat worth its weight in gold.


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