Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, June 20

Gapers Block

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The concept of Milk and Honey Café is simple, yet remarkably effective: Customers order at the counter and are assigned a table number and table where they wait for their meal to arrive. This methodology has obviously been applied to hundreds of lunch counters and eateries around the city, but I have yet to witness it at a trendy breakfast spot of this design.

The results are fantastic. While other breakfast establishments around the city are plagued by long, stagnant lines of grumbling patrons on weekend mornings (something oft-griped about in this column), for the most part, the Milk and Honey Café maintains a steadily moving line.

But quick turnover is certainly not the only thing that has solidified my status as a regular customer: Milk and Honey's culinary offerings, which are listed on overhanging chalkboards, are not only sound enticing but also never fail to deliver enormous taste and freshness.

Take for example the smoked salmon on a toasted bagel I ordered on my last visit. True, this is a somewhat straightforward breakfast choice, but Milk and Honey's velvety herbed cream cheese (clearly not the low-fat variety), fresh salmon and plentiful condiments -- including sliced red onion, tomatoes and capers -- put other versions that I've sampled in the past to shame. Perhaps that's why I spotted so many other patrons indulging in this dish that morning.

Likewise, huevos rancheros has been tweaked ever so slightly to make it oh-so less ordinary. The usual ingredients -- scrambled egg, black beans, salsa, tortilla, and cheese -- are all accounted for, but the presentation is unlike anything I've seen before. A round, individual-sized casserole dish is served straight out of the oven and piping hot with a thick layer of melted cheese bubbling on top. Consuming this dish is an event in itself -- to get to the delicious innards of this dish, one must crack through the cheese layer with a spoon, releasing steam and wondrous aromas.

Other standout breakfast items include orange brioche French toast with almonds; oatmeal with brown sugar, toasted walnuts, and dried cherries; and a scrambled egg panini with bacon, cheddar, and tomato.

But the folks behind Milk and Honey Café don't think breakfast is the only important meal of the day -- they're pretty keen on lunch, too, which is why a plethora of sandwiches and salads are also chalked on the boards. I have yet to try a salad because the sandwiches are so tempting, with fresh combinations of quality ingredients, like medium-rare, herb-crusted roast beef on ciabatta; crabcake on a baguette; and goat cheese, truffle oil and artichoke panini.

Currently, my favorite sandwich is the avocado and smoked gouda served with romaine and tomato on slices of soft multi-grain bread and seasoned with spicy cracked-seed mustard. For me, a good sandwich is one that is well-balanced -- the bread should not dominate nor be overpowered by the other ingredients. By this standaed, Milk and Honey makes a great sandwich; it's thick enough to almost not fit in your mouth, but the bread and filling are in a perfect ratio to each other.

My only grumble with this spot at this point is the sullenness of the staff, a curious dichotomy indeed given that the interior of Milk and Honey is so sunny and pleasant. I've never been treated rudely, it's just the few employees I have come into contact with seemed unhappy to be serving me. I found them to be so intimidating on my first visit, in fact, that when they forgot to make me a chai tea latte, I considered not alerting them to their mistake just so I wouldn't have to converse with them. Now, I'm quite used to their gloom and doom -- I'm determined to someday make one of them smile.

Despite this minor hiccup, I would heartily recommend Milk and Honey to anyone looking for a quick, delicious meal. This restaurant, with its food and counter service, certainly isn't reinventing the wheel, but it's made damn good use of it.

Milk and Honey Café is located at 1920 W. Division. Hours are Monday-Friday 7am to 4pm, Saturday 8am to 5pm, Sunday 8am to 4pm. Breakfast is served from 8am to 11am on weekdays and from 8am to 2pm on weekends.

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About the Author(s)

Kim Conte loves to write and eat, and dreams that one day someone will pay her a lot to do both.

If you feel the need to get in touch with her directly, do so at .

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