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A Food Fest Devoted to Breakfast

You know that thing where you come up with a great idea and think, “I’m not going to do that, but somebody definitely should.” That’s how I feel about BreakFestival, a two-day breakfast extravaganza that will be held in New York City over Labor Day weekend.

Whenever I start planning a party, my first instinct is to just fill the table with breakfast foods. (Sometimes I suppress it; other times the French toast casserole comes out in full force.)

Not surprisingly, that’s the way the folks at Extra Crispy — a new breakfast-focused publication that is the driving force behind the festival — like to throw parties too. The event will include booths, tournaments and live music, yadda, yadda, yadda. But let’s be honest, the real appeal is at the table — more specifically, 20 chefs and a dozen or more food stations offering up classic and innovative breakfast dishes, bloody Marys and breakfast beer. Talk about #lifegoals.

According to Extra Crispy’s site director, Ryan Grim, New York City — the home of both Extra Crispy headquarters and the festival — is arguably one of the best breakfast cities in the nation thanks to the ubiquitous and ultimate comfort-food combination that is the egg and cheese breakfast sandwich (“There’s one on every corner,” he said). And from the 20th-century classic Chock Full o’Nuts to today’s endless supply of artisanal coffee shops, New Yorkers have an obsessive relationship with their morning caffeine, Grim said. “A huge part of our daily life includes where should we get our coffee, how much should we spend on it from 99 cents to 9 dollars, and how not to spill it on ourselves while riding the subway.”


And then, of course, there’s bagels and lox. “New York is the bagel capital of the world,” he said. “And you don’t find the wide variety of excellent lox and white fish in any other city.”

To that end, both Kossar’s (the 80-year old bagel and bialy icon on the Lower East Side) and the Nova emporium Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish will be serving forth their best during the festival.

Come Labor Day, I plan to put on my eating pants and check off a bucket list item I never knew I had — until now. And if the regular Sunday morning crush at Russ & Daughters is any indication, I have a feeling I’ll be in good company.

Leah Koenig is a contributing editor at the Forward and author of “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen,” Chronicle Books (2015).


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