If you are a lover of breakfast, it can be very easy to get a satisfying meal without necessarily getting an interesting one. It’s not terribly difficult to whip up a tasty plate of scrambled eggs and bacon. If all you want is a plate of Cheese N’ Eggs, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, just go to Waffle House or IHOP. And I am by no means scared of a little Wa-Ho. But there are better breakfasts to be had out there. So, rather than post on breakfast meals that you could get anywhere, I have ventured out to find some of the dishes that are unique and bring something a little different to the most important meal of the day.
So, my next entry to the Better Breakfast series focuses on Rise-N-Dine. I have been eating here for years and have very rarely ever been disappointed. The interior has a “quirky diner” feel to it, with probably 15 or so booths/tables and a countertop bar. Located near Emory’s campus in Decatur, there is always an eclectic mix of college kids, 20 to 30-something hipsters, all the way up to grandma and grandpa. And most of these folks are more than happy to wait up to an hour on the weekends to get a spot here for brunch.
The breakfast item for which Rise-N-Dine is probably the best known is their sweet potato waffle, so I basically insisted that my friend get one to split with me. I don’t know how, but in all of the meals I have had here, I had never tried this.
This is a thick, Belgian style waffle served with a nice dollop of warm butter. The sweet potato is blended into the batter and is completely incorporated. The waffle was moist, fluffy, light, and delicious. The sweet potato flavor is definitely present, but subtle enough to not overpower the dish. I have always been a bigger fan of a savory breakfast, so I don’t know that I would order one of these as my entire meal, but if you are with a group it is great to share. While sweet and satisfying, it is still just a spiced up waffle, so it is kind of tough to go wrong here if you are in the mood for a sugary breakfast. Seriously…when was the last time you ate a bad waffle? That’s like saying you had a bad piece of bacon.
For my main course I ordered the same dish that I had the very first time I ate here: The Pangaea. This dish actually comes to Rise-N-Dine courtesy of Butch Raphael from the now defunct Pangaea Restaurant and Bar (R.I.P 12/07). But Raphael’s legacy lives on in this interesting Mediterranean/Indian fusion breakfast dish. This consists of two scrambled or fried eggs topped with a slightly spicy tomato sauce, with sides of hummus, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and a cucumber-onion salad. This is all plated on top of a piece of grilled roti bread.
I love this dish. The spicy tomato sauce on top of the scrambled eggs is fantastic- not too spicy and adds a lot of flavor. I was also surprised at how much I liked the hummus and feta paired with the eggs. My recommendation is to not treat the hummus/olives/feta as a side, but to get some of all of it on the fork together in one bite. And whatever you do, don’t ignore the roti bread on the bottom. It is buttery and adds a great crunchy texture to each bite. By the time I was done I almost asked for another piece of roti to wipe the bowl with. This is one of those breakfast items that you can’t get anywhere else in town, and if you dig on the Mediterranean/Indian flavor profile, it is worth making the trip for.
Though I didn’t order them during this particular trip, other dishes that I would recommend looking into are the any of the breakfast tacos, the Nutella pancakes, or the Polish Omelette. You can check out the rest of the menu here.
If you like a good breakfast and feel like mixing it up a little, Rise-N-Dine should definitely be on your short list of places to try.
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