BITE-SIZED

Cool Way to Start, or Reboot, the Day

Breakfast never ends, but the lunch options 
will tempt you as well

Posted:

In the heart of Riverside lies a casual yet 
 borderline hip café, complete with free WiFi and a self-service bottomless coffee station.

Breakfast is available even at lunchtime, which is a bonus. Sometimes you just want (OK, need) an omelet, eggs Benedict or French toast in your life after a hectic morning has passed.

In addition to a clever build-your-own omelet selection, Cool Moose's menu boasts four Benedicts — traditional, smoked bacon and tomato, smoked salmon, and veggie.

Daily specials are scrawled across a blackboard, including the homemade soup selection. A recent offering, the Desayuno de Costa Rica, caught my eye: a breakfast platter with scrambled eggs, chorizo and cheddar on a grilled corn tortilla, topped with tomatillo salsa and accompanied by sweet plantains, black beans and rice.

The lunch sandwich options run the gamut — Cuban, chicken salad croissant, ham and brie panini with maple mustard, half-pound Angus burger with sharp cheddar, a gyro with tatziki, and a classic Reuben, to name a few. The chicken salad croissant, made with all white meat, is tossed with crunchy celery, red onion, walnuts and a slightly sweet honey mayo. Complement the sweetness with a side of garlicky truffle fries.

For vegetarians, options include a veggie burger on herbed focaccia bun, a marinated grilled portobello panini with roasted red pepper, provolone and sweet basil pesto (which pairs nicely with a side of crisp sweet potato fries dusted with sugar), and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Cool Moose's buttery Texas-style toast makes for a simple yet satisfying grilled cheese. You can add slices of tomato or crisp bacon if the mood strikes. Or pair your 'wich with a cup of soup for dunking.

Open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Cool Moose can be counted on for an inexpensive, laidback bite. On the weekends, the outside tables fill up fast with patrons — mimosas in hand and pups in tow.

For a filling yet wallet-friendly meal, order an egg, cheese and apple chutney breakfast sandwich on a flaky croissant. It's the perfect amount of sweet and savory. Add a side of grits and blueberry coffee and you're still out the door for less than $10, including tip. Can't beat that. And ask for a coffee club card, earning you a free cup after your first six.

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