Most of the time, I skip breakfast. I know, they say you're not supposed to, most important meal of the day, blah blah blah – but a cup or two of my inartfully home-brewed coffee first thing in the morning and I'm usually good to go. And yet, I actually love breakfast foods, especially those on the savory side of the aisle: eggs, toast, bacon, sausage – these are all wonderful delicious things. And I'll gladly eat them any time of day.
So I was pretty excited when I heard about All Day, a spot that recently opened in the "Arts & Entertainment District" on the northern edge of downtown Miami. The concept is pretty straightforward: good coffee and egg dishes, served all day. I was even more excited when I learned it was run by Camila Ramos, the talented barista and former head of Panther Coffee's retail operations.
The coffee menu at All Day – posted on the wall in green neon behind a massive Marzocco espresso machine – is a bit enigmatic and designed to foster a conversation. "01 - Double Shot" is straightforward enough, a double shot of straight espresso (pulled with Ruby Coffee Roasters' Creamery Blend; the Panther alumnae is now a free agent and uses beans from several different roasters). But "02 - & Milk" requires some more user input: what's your preferred ratio of milk to coffee, do you like your milk foam wet or dry?
All Day - Miami flickr set).
The ten choices also feature drip, pour-over, and cold brew coffees, including a nitrogen gas infused version with the thick, frothy texture of a well-pulled Guinness; esoterica like "Royal Tea" (an infusion of coffee cherry husks and evaporated milk, also given the nitro treatment); and a rotating daily special (currently a concoction of cold brew and rosemary limeade).
I am not really a coffee geek, and won't pretend to be. So I can't tell you much other than that the espresso I had on my first visit was bright and rich and creamy; the "& Milk" I had on my next visit, with a 2:1 espresso:milk ratio (in Miami we'd call this a cortadito; in San Francisco you might call it a "Gibraltar"), was even better. I usually drink my coffee black, but the short pour of milk nicely tempered the acidity of the coffee.
Can we talk about something I actually know something about?
The food menu at All Day, created by chef Charles Lutka, who ran Gigi for the past five years, is very egg-intensive. There are three variations on the theme of breakfast sandwich. The first of these, the "Runny & Everything," combines a sunny-side-up fried egg with a couple slices of bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, and a thick slab of tomato, all served on a puffy, everything-spice dusted brioche bun. Though nominally a sandwich, this is – as the name warns – a gooey, fork and knife affair. It was a good combination; I think a sturdier bread might give it a little more architectural integrity, something more up to the task of sopping up that runny yolk.
The Pan Con Croqueta was another tasty combination that I wound up giving the Costanza treatment. A variation on a Cuban breakfast staple, this sandwich was anchored by a couple plump, crisp-edged pork croquetas, resting atop a runny, green-hued, herb-flecked egg spread, with some gouda cheese for a little extra creaminess and thin-sliced pickles for some tart contrast. Even the sturdier Cuban bread couldn't quite hold together the runny egg salad, though this was another delightfully happy mess. I suppose if I want to keep my hands clean, I should try the "One Handed" next.