Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Fri May 15 2015

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  • Gabe Zaldivar | May 15, 2015 3:00 AM ET

    Remembering Great Meals: Enjoying The Breslin's Power of Nostalgia in NYC

    Remembering Great Meals: Enjoying The Breslin's Power of Nostalgia in NYC

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    Eating at The Breslin is like finding a forgotten childhood photo. Suddenly you are awash in myriad memories of sights, sounds and tastes.

    Keep in mind that this was my first time eating at this fine New York City gastropub.

    Not that you need to have been somewhere before to be struck with a wave of nostalgia akin to finding that GoBot you thought you lost forever.

    The great thing about food, other than its ability to beat back a hangover, is its ability to invoke a fondness for a place we used to be.

    Well, where I was currently situated this lovely March morning in 2013, was 16 West 29th St. 

    On a recommendation, the wife and I entered what was a darkened pub that erred on the side of moody over a very near glum ambiance.

    Soon we would be face-to-face with monstrous portions of what you might call comfort food, although that’s selling this stuff a bit short.

    Consider this the food equivalent of wearing a onesie on a rainy night and covering yourself with your favorite Star Wars-themed snuggie. The meal was like a damn cuddle session on a plate, it was so comforting.

    I opted for the full English breakfast, which I always thought should be renamed The Reason You Won’t Be Hungry the Rest of the Day. But I guess that’s not as catchy as its current meal moniker.

    My better half, in a fit of pure awesomeness, decided on the “oven baked three cheese sandwich.” This is essentially ordering a grilled-cheese sandwich for breakfast, a decision that ranks up there with manned missions to the moon on the genius scale.

    Now if you aren’t familiar, an English breakfast consists of all the wonderful bits of the meal fried up and placed in front of you like a surprise-birthday party of your best buds.

    In this case there were your usual fried eggs (creamy and prepared just right), sausage, bacon, tomato, mushrooms and blood pudding.

    Now move past any thoughts on cringing at the blood pudding part. If you haven’t tried the stuff consider doing so, because it’s essentially just a sumptuous sausage patty with a bad rap.

    The baked cheese sandwich came drooling with melted cheese and a nice golden color on the bread to denote proper use of butter on the beast.

    My platter was a collection of the usual breakfast suspects done the right way. But it wasn’t the familiarity of the ingredients but the preparation that conjured the first time I tasted a truly great fried egg, ditching my childhood fascination with the boring scrambled egg.

    The entire meal had me thinking about the morning breakfasts my parents would make me on weekends: my father frying an egg in an unhealthy but entirely delicious manner with bacon being provided en masse.

    The meal was decadent in a specific way I remembered, making each bite a flip through the pages of a picture book.

    Snagging a bite of the cheese goliath, I was again taken back to the very first time I had cheese outside its usual form.

    You see, to me cheese is never complete unless it’s been melted and drizzled over pasta shells or stuffed between two pieces of bread and handed over with a side of tomato soup.

    Now my first foray into the grilled-cheese sandwich was with regular white bread and American cheese, a far cry from the oven-baked iteration I was enjoying at the moment.

    But the feeling of finally trying the “good stuff” still resonates all these years later.

    The Breslin did that for me, reminding me that fatty, gluttonous food can be good for the soul when done correctly.  

    The meal was buttery but never greasy, decadent but never ostentatious. The meal also transported me back to a time when a meal this extravagant in taste demanded playing outside instead of drinking buckets of coffee to stave off sleep.

    Those were the days. 


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Gabe Zaldivar The Main Course

Gabe Zaldivar Born on the rough streets of suburban West Covina, I learned a great many things, some of which has proved useful: knowing the tell-tale sounds of an ice cream truck and crafting a world-class burrito come to mind. You have seen my work on Bleacher Report and possibly my mug on CNN. Perhaps, if you are into archaic modes of entertainment, you have also heard me on the radio. Pop culture is my beat. If it has to do with the intersection of travel, entertainment and pop culture, I'm your guy.
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