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…your Breakfast Cravings, and Daily Caloric Intake!

What is it about diners that make you giddy at the thought of ordering breakfast for dinner? It’s not like you can’t have an omelet or French toast any night of the week at home, and yet, we rarely indulge. But when you sit down at a diner, you’re literally paying someone to give you all possible options at once. And every time, you scan the menu with indecision, befuddled at the myriad gut bombs and food comas to be had.

© Copyright 2010. Siiri Sampson. Chicken Fried Steak filling enough for you, me, and the four people at the next table.

Couzin’s Café in Kirkland (12861 NE 85th St.) is no exception. It’s your midday Disneyland hidden within an unassuming strip mall, your second chance at that breakfast you missed running out the door this morning. Don’t let the minor short-comings of the strip mall, a bleachy smell on arrival, or slightly undercooked fries get to you. Couzin’s has plenty of tempting lunch options to offer you and the three co-workers you brought along, like the generous turkey melt and enormous hamburger.

Let’s not lie to ourselves; you know you’re ordering breakfast, because you can. As with any American diner, Couzin’s has self-proclaimed house specials starting with Nick’s Egg Benedict ($9.95) that beats the pants off any other Benedict you’ve had before. If Nick is the one cooking it back there, I’d be willing to do his dishes for a week to get that homemade Hollandaise recipe. He’s smothering that whole wheat English muffin and hand shaved ham with it just right.

The real star of Couzin’s Café is the Chicken Fried Steak, served with two eggs perfectly over medium, golden hash browns and your choice of toast. Not only is this bigger than two people can reasonably handle in one sitting (so order with the hungriest friend at the table), its batter is peppery and covers the plate sized, hand pounded steak with just the right amount of crunch. Of course there’s a blanket of silky white country gravy keeping it warm and adding some saltiness to the equation.

If lunch is more your speed, you won’t be disappointed with the homemade split pea soup, or any of their hot sandwiches, fresh off the grill and perfect for the never-ending chilly Fall days upon us. Honestly though, you can always make a sandwich or salad at home, so stop screwing around and order breakfast already! Spin the bottle, and hope it lands on Nick’s Eggs Benedict so you can spend seven minutes in heaven with that sassy Hollandaise. For those more inclined for straight forward eggs, hit up the California Scramble ($10.95) with hash browns and toast. With generous amounts of veggies folded into billowy eggs, topped with sour cream and avocado, it’ll more than stoke the fire for the rest of the day.

Finish off the eclectic culinary excursion with a shared cinnamon roll ($3.95), freshly baked and warmed up just before serving. The pooled butter surrounding the roll, combined with the gooey frosting melting down the side is the perfect way to end your lunch hour before you fall asleep on your desk for the next two hours.

*Originally published for The Eatside, a Voracious column for the Seattle Weekly.
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