Movable Feast: Eat your breakfast!

Breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day. It’s the vital sustenance that gets you going first thing in the morning and keeps you going until the sweet relief that is lunch. Skip your breakfast, doctors say, and you’re asking for trouble.

University City offers plenty of options for the discerning breakfaster who left the house with an empty stomach. Here are some of the highlights.

On the cheap

If you have just a couple of bucks in your wallet, University City’s ubiquitous food carts are the answer. At the corner of 38th and Spruce streets Bui’s Lunch Truck has a selection of breakfast sandwiches that are filling and perfect for those on a tight budget. It’s nothing glamorous, but you can pair it with cheese and a squirt of ketchup, or top it with bacon or sausage, among other options. It’s all packed on a hoagie roll and starts at $2. Among the other lunch trucks serving up cheap breakfast fare is Sue’s Lunch Truck (32nd and Market sts.) where you can get a hot egg sandwich starting at $1.00. For $1.75, you can make that a ìlargeî sandwich with cheese.

Health kick

It’s a challenge to snag a healthy breakfast on the hoof, but if you skipped your morning bowl of oatmeal at home, you can still get your daily dose of righteousness by stopping at Picnic (Shops at the Left Bank, 3131 Walnut St., 215-222-1608), the upscale takeout cafe at the Left Bank. As well as piping hot homemade oatmeal, other healthier-than-a-bagel options include granola for $2.50 a bowl. Crunchy and full of fiber, it also packs a hefty sugar punch, so it’s not exactly a guilt-free indulgence for carb-watchers. For an extra 50 cents, though, you can ramp up the nutritional benefits with a dollop of organic yogurt (from Lancaster County’s Pequea Valley Farm) or a spoonful of fresh berries.

Café society

Metropolitian Bakery (4013 Walnut St., 215-222-1492) also has options for the healthful eater, including a hearty millet muffin. But it offers plenty of sweet delights, too. If you’re in need of a serious boost of sugar, try one of the Bakery’s plain, chocolate chip or almond croissants for $2.50 or unwrap a sweet treat with a zing—a chocolate chip-espresso muffin for $1.50. The French Berry Roll (a specialty) is packed with wheat germ and sun dried berries and makes a delicious breakfast treat, either plain or with a smear of cream cheese.

Ease into the day

If it’s peace and quiet you seek, skirt the morning Starbucks stampede and—assuming you’re a member—head to the Faculty Club (2nd Floor, The Inn at Penn, 3611 Walnut St., 215-898-4618 ), nestled within the Inn at Penn. Here, from 8 to 11 a.m. every weekday, members can help themselves to free coffee or tea and a respectable, though hardly lavish, assortment of bagels and Danish. There’s just one downside. Since the hotel takes over the club’s main dining room for its own breakfast service, to reach the room set aside for members, you must walk past a bountiful feast of sausages, eggs, muffins and fresh fruit laid out buffet style for hotel guests. Take heart, though: they’re paying a lot more to enjoy their time in this oasis of calm than you are. Join the Faculty Club now and you’ll pay only $27 through the end of August.

Originally published on February 24, 2005