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Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012: Eat and Repeat Half & Half

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Half & Half has been on my radar to try, long before it was recognized as one of the Twenty Five Best New Restaurants in St. Louis and consequently eligible for my 2012: Eat and Repeat challenge. However, we'd heard stories about long waits on weekends and sneaking away for breakfast or brunch during the week just isn't possible. We finally stopped by a few Sundays ago after church, determined to wait it out no matter how long it took! Though our wait was quoted at 40 minutes, we found ourselves seated within 15...a pleasant surprised. The first seats available were at the bar, but we snatched those up, having heard service at the bar is typically better than at a regular table anyway.
Sitting at the bar made me a little too self-conscious to pull out my DSRL, which is why all pictures in this post are via my iPhone. The place was packed and I decided not to be the obnoxious girl snapping photos throughout the meal!

Half & Half is known for their fancy coffees and brewing methods, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to explain what or why. Ryan opted for an iced coffee since it was so hot out, but wished he could've tried one of the pour-over speciality coffees. The iced coffee was on the sweeter side, with no shortage of half & half (no pun intended!). We mulled over the menu and as tempted as I was to order the giant burger that the guy seating near us at the bar was chowing down on, we'd come to try their breakfast foods.
The menu has a little bit of everything on the spectrum of classic (eggs and potatoes) to indulgent (fried chicken livers), savory to sweet (mango pancakes, one of the specials the day we were there!). We decided to split the much raved about Clara Cakes [pancakes with raspberries, mascarpone, and granola] and the Veggie Hash [brussels sprouts, spinach, potatoes, and onions with 2 eggs and toast].

Considering how busy it was (there was a steady stream of people in and out and waiting the entire time we were there), service was much better than we expected, especially after seeing some negative reviews about the service. We were never without water, a good thing considering how hot it was in there (which I attribute partially to the 107 degree temps outside!), and hardly had to wait for our food.
Had we had to wait longer for the food to arrive, it would've been worth it. Oh, the food!!! We started in on the Clara Cakes, which felt like we were being naughty and eating dessert first. Not normally a fan of thick pancakes, I couldn't get enough of their tender, fluffy cakes. I would LOVE that pancake recipe! The berries, mascarpone, and granola were all added in generous portions and put these pancakes over the top.
The veggie hash also won us over. It was definitely on the greasier side, but not overly so. Why have I never thought of adding brussels sprouts to hash before? Brilliant! The eggs were cooked just as we liked them, with plenty of runny yolk to drown the vegetables in.
Prices are a little higher than a typical breakfast joint (especially for the coffee!), but this isn't your average breakfast. The atmosphere is undoubtedly hipster--I felt like we were in Nashville, TN or Wicker Park, IL--but although the decor and the servers and the pretentious coffee might be hipster, you definitely don't have to be a hipster to enjoy this spot! We'll definitely be back again and again...and in the meantime you can bet I'll be creating one (if not both) of these recipes next month for the second half of the challenge!

One Year Ago: Blueberry Polenta Muffin Tops
Two Years Ago: Minty Cabbage Salad

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