Breakfast, I find, is underrated. Breakfast food is not, with its cult following for dinner and Ron Swanson's penchant for the stuff alongside pretty, dark-haired women. But getting up to go meet someone for breakfast, on a weekday, before 11am is hardly a social thing people do--at least in New York, where sleeping in often feels second only in luxury to cocktails at The Carlyle. This is mostly because people have these "job" things I keep hearing about where they have to go into "offices" at a "certain hour," whatever that means. But as full-time freelancers SJT and I do not have those, so Thursday morning we met for a meal that was solidly, decidedly breakfast: 9am at Buvette in the West Village (they do open at 7am Mondays through Fridays, now but my initial thought upon hearing that was, "Well, let's not get crazy.") Once we confirm our plans SJT texts me, "Ladiez who breakfast!" It does feel quite glamorous, doesn't it? Like we have membership in some exclusive club only a rich husband can buy.
I've written about Buvette briefly before, the petite small-plates French restaurant in the West Village, but neither of us had ever been for breakfast. The place is a madhouse for brunch on weekends with a mob of people waiting out front, and neither of us wanted to chance that. So we chose an early hour, early enough where we could have a leisurely breakfast and still have plenty of time for a work day afterward. I was happy to wake up at 7-ish to get there in time, too; excited even. It was a far cry from my forcible mattress detachment that happens when I'm in the midst of Fashion Week. Or, interestingly, what would also happen when I first moved to New York and had a 9-5 job; it was often punctuated with the whine "I DON'T WANT TO GO TO WORK!!!!" ripping itself almost involuntarily from my lips every morning. I want to hover above that girl groaning her way out of bed like the blue fairy in Pinocchio, wings a-twinkling, eyelashes a-batting: "Shhhh, my child. There is another way life can be lived! You can actually love what you do for a living!" And, magically, here we are now (I love shooting Fashion Week, it just makes me batty and tired, as it does everyone).
The morning commute, though I've done it of course since becoming a freelancer, still boggles me and my thought process is regularly How do people do this every day? May RuPaul bless and keep your hearts and souls on this train that is practically exploding with people.
I walk across Washington Square Park to Grove Street, and find SJT waiting in front for me. Even at 9am, the place is packed and we have to wait a few minutes for a table. It's enough to acknowledge that fall is finally upon us, a brisk chill of wind running through my clothes as if to say, "Nah girl, it's not summer anymore. Try a leather jacket over that asymmetrical cardigan tomorrow." It's invigorating nonetheless, and shortly we have our seats at a little marble-top bistro table in the corner. The lights are bright, the counter is bustling, and our little paper menus are stamped with today's date. I decide on a poached egg with lentils and kale. Fun fact: I am a slut for a poached egg. I find them to be the most glamorous of eggs, the way they sit neatly in a little cloud before you slice into their soft white flesh and shiny, runny yolk falls everywhere. I will order them whenever they are available, and sometimes when they're not. SJT chooses the Frits a la Americane, sunnyside eggs with bacon and sage.
Our selections arrive in the teeny manner I have come to adore from Buvette--a petite plate for he and bowl for me, but both brimming with food. My poached egg, in all its glamour, rests atop a stew of kale and lentils, all sprinkled with a light dusting of grated cheese, accompanied with two thin slices of grilled French bread gently glossed with olive oil. I slice into my egg with the corner of the spoon I have been given, scooping up yolk and kale and lentils and cheese all in one bite, and it is divine. A pop of salt from the cheese, a chewiness of kale, a softness of egg, and I am in love. I alternate between spoonfuls into my mouth and onto the magically crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside slices of French bread. There is salt and crunch and smoothness and I wish I had the words of a proper food writer to describe it all.
We linger over breakfast, taking our time and making our way through our small plates, chit-chatting about travel and work and travel again. It makes me realize that I don't know the last time I truly went to a place and ate capital-B Breakfast like this. I often can't force myself out of the house before noon on the weekends and a weekday breakfast is usually me huddled in front of a bowl of cottage cheese or oatmeal with my computer open, still in my pajamas, glasses perched on my face--it is a sight significantly less glamorous than a poached egg, specifically the poached egg I had at Buvette. This one was an inspiring enough meal to make me want to do breakfast again, not just there but anywhere, this simple luxury for which it is without a doubt worth getting out of bed.