Lina’s Buttermilk Pancakes/ Lina’s Homefries/ Lina’s Broccoli, Tomato and Mozzarella Omelet/ The Famous Lina
I love to cook, I love to eat. I love to talk to cooks whose food I love to eat. And as a cook, I am very particular about where and what I eat. So, I am happy to dedicate this column to Lina, the cook whose food I love to eat!
My friend, Mela, and I have been going to breakfast for years. It started with four friends, Sandy, Jeannie, Mela and I. Sandy and Jeannie moved away a few years ago, and Mela and I continued the breakfast tradition. Once a week, on a Saturday or Sunday morning, Mela and I will try to have breakfast together.
I am an early bird, so early; the birds are not even up yet! My husband is not. He loves when I go to breakfast because he can be left alone with his coffee and his crossword puzzle for a few morning hours. By the time I get back home it’s after 11:30 in the morning and he can handle my hyper ness better.
Mela and I love to try different places to eat breakfast and critique them like food experts. We are very high maintenance when it comes to ordering our breakfast. The best thing about Mela is she will share breakfast with me. I always like to share everything, so, I get more variety that way. She likes wheat toast, I like rye. I like waffles, she likes French toast. We both like omelets, but different kinds. After years of sharing breakfast we have it down to a science. I am like Sally, from the movie, “When Harry met Sally”, when I order. I want to make sure that I get my butter from the little, individual plastic pats that actually say butter and not the fake butter in huge metal containers that looks way too yellow and smooth to be butter. It never is. My omelets have to be well done. I hate a runny omelet with uncooked egg. Enough said. I think you get the picture now, how I can traumatize a waitress. Rest assured, I always try to be polite and friendly to the waiter and waitress, after all this person is handling my food.
Which brings me back to Lina’s breakfast. Mela’s cousin Ray told her to try Lina’s Caffe Del Monte this past summer. We have been spoiled. Mela and I only want to go there for breakfast now. Lina is like a friend besides being a wonderful cook. Her buttermilk pancakes are the highest I’ve seen and so light and fluffy. We split the 3 pancakes in half and then sometimes Mela and I take half of our halves home, they are so large. The home fries are perfect. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, seasoned just right with oregano and cooked in a frying pan. But the most delicious of the three is Lina’s omelets. She cooks her fresh broccoli and tomatoes in olive oil just right.
There will be no recipes this time, because great cooks like Lina are reluctant – and rightly so – to share all of their cooking secrets. Instead, I decided to take pictures of the delicious breakfast we were about to devour so I could share this visual delight with my readers. Sometimes it’s just not polite to ask for someone’s recipes. Lina volunteered that she uses oregano in the potatoes, because I tasted it and I figured out the olive oil too. Lina was born in Italy and moved to United States years ago. She serves only breakfast and lunch 7 days a week but no dinner. Dinner should be eaten at home with the family. I love her. The people that come to her caffe will sometimes stand at the counter and drink their espresso, just like in Italy. If they sit down to eat, and Lina is not too busy, she sits down and has a conversation with you. Caffe Del Monte is a family affair and has been in business for 21 years. Lina’s son, John, is there with her, working side by side, serving, talking and doing whatever needs to be done. But Lina is definitely the cook. We talk food every time I visit. When I leave, I usually buy the biscotti from the big glass cookie jar on the counter. Biscotti baked by Lina. My biggest compliment to this day, is from Lina. She baked my biscotti recipe from this website and gave me some when I came in for breakfast. They were great. Caffe Del Monte is the place to get home cooking from a wonderful cook and mom, Lina!
Caffe Del Monte, 321 N. Main Street, Port Chester, NY (914) 937-0108 – Tell Lina, Somebody’s Mom sent you!