The Best Cafes (and Restaurants) to Bring Your Laptop and Eat an Actual Meal

The Cusco Sandwich at Plenty Cafe

The Cusco Sandwich at Plenty Cafe

Maybe you’re a freelancer with a few hours between meetings downtown and you want to keep up the productivity. Or there’s construction in your office building and you can’t get anything done with power tools grinding away upstairs. Or you work from home but you’ve reached the point at which you’ll freak out if you don’t leave the house today.

You need a spot to get work done — school, freelance, creative, or just catching up on email. You also need to eat, and as tasty as the croissants and cookies at most coffee shops are, they’re not exactly brain food.

We’ve rounded up some of Philly’s favorite spots to camp out for a few hours (or more), eat a real breakfast or lunch, crush your task list. For our purposes, we’ve stuck with Center City and adjacent neighborhoods; we also made free wi-fi for customers and an actual food menu (however brief) a requirement.

And for when the workday spans meals, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite trendy spots where you might spend a working lunch (and maybe happy hour afterwards) while chowing down on a more substantial, chef-driven menu.

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This Make-Ahead Oatmeal Saved Our Lives

If I’m going to be honest, I’ll admit that I’d always seen oatmeal as the homework of breakfast. On one hand, It’s definitely the healthiest option on the brunch menu; on the other hand, it’s oatmeal: mushy, squishy, gooey-gluey. I’d never chosen to eat oatmeal (cookies notwithstanding) without a twinge of oughta reverberating in my frontal cortex.

Then one day my pregnant wife sent me a recipe from The Kitchn for oatmeal that you can — get this — make a whole week’s worth of at once. It seemed, honestly, insane. “That’s bonkers!” I thought. “Wouldn’t it just turn into a giant cauldron of pasty gloop?” Memories of dining halls and motel breakfasts flooded into my head. I was not a believer. I ignored the ridiculous recipe. My wife rolled her eyes.

Then she and I welcomed our first child — and along with the transcendent joy of snoogling with your just-born progeny came the crippling sleep insecurity that accompanies a squalling newborn. All of a sudden, the idea of making, like, five days of hearty breakfasts in one shot was super appealing. In an act of groggy desperation, I retrieved that recipe from my chat history and prepared to disregard the laws of grain physics as I understood them. I forced myself to believe that cooked oatmeal might not turn to gruel over the course of a week. Read more »

The Checkup: Why Oatmeal Shouldn’t Be Your Automatic Healthy Breakfast Pick

• Interesting! BuzzFeed asked dietitians and healthy-eating experts to choose the best breakfast picks from a ton of fast-food restaurants’ menus and it turns out, oatmeal — the item always slapped on the menu for the healthy folks — isn’t always the answer. They noted that in some cases (ahem, McDonald’s and Burger King), the dish boasts way too much sugar and not enough protein, making an egg sandwich a better bet. So remember that next time you get stuck at the airport, flight delayed, at an ungodly hour of the morning. [BuzzFeed]

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The Weird New $5 Philly Breakfast Item to Curb Your Bagel Addiction

A sample of the new sweet potato breakfast soup at Pure Fare

A sample of the new sweet potato breakfast soup at Pure Fare

I’ve got two words for you: Breakfast soup. If you imagine some sort of wholly unappetizing brothy egg concoction when you read those words, let me assure you: That’s not what I’m talking about here. But I do understand why your mind would go there — that’s exactly where my mind went when Kriti Sehgal, owner of the fast-casual spot Pure Fare, told me they’d added breakfast soup, along with a number of other new breakfast items, to the menu at their Rittenhouse location at 119 South 21st Street.

Breakfast soup does NOT sound appetizing to me. And this is why I was so surprised at how darn delicious and delightful their take on it is.

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Now Open: Res Ipsa Cafe

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The all-day cafe is the new fast-casual. Or anyway, that’s certainly how it seems with the recent surge of these hybrid coffeshop/bar/restaurants we’ve seen around Philly. And the newest? Res Ipsa Cafe, which opened this weekend at 22nd and Walnut. It is (as these things often are) a team effort between the crew from ReAnimator Coffee and Tyler Akin of Stock.

So what happened when these two forces came together in one small space?

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Stockyard Sandwich Company Opens on Spring Garden Street

Opening Day Special: Roast Pork Loin - Spaghetti Squash, Shallot, Fennell, Apple Mustard + Side: Spaghetti Squash - Brown Butter, Kabocha, Pecans

Opening Day Special: Roast Pork Loin – Spaghetti Squash, Shallot, Fennell, Apple Mustard + Side: Spaghetti Squash – Brown Butter, Kabocha, Pecans

Stockyard Sandwich Company, a seasonal, farm-to-table restaurant opens today. Since temperatures have suddenly dropped 20 degrees, we will be sticking to sandwiches instead of the salads offered on the menu. We suggest you do the same.

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Breakfast for Dinner at Dizengoff

Dizengoff hosts Breakfast-for-Dinner book party with Chef John Currence

Dizengoff hosts Breakfast-for-Dinner book party with Chef John Currence

The answer to the insipid interview question: “If you had the opportunity to invite anyone to dinner, who would it be and why?” has always been obvious to me. I would invite a Philadelphia chef because a) they’re local, alive, and non–fictional, and therefore might actually show up and b) they could cook for me, so even if I left with a heart full of disappointment, I would at least have a stomach full of something other than coffee and bagels from the café below my apartment.

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The Checkup: How to Order Fast-Food Breakfast Like a Nutrition Pro 

Photo by Flickr user one2c900d

Photo by Flickr user one2c900d

• Maybe you slept through your alarm for an early flight and didn’t have time to pack a breakfast before hitting the airport; maybe you’re stuck on a long car ride in the middle of nowhere, where rest stops are the only spots to find sustenance; whatever the case: Fast-food breakfast happens every now and then. Here, a nutritionist’s top picks for when you find yourself in line at a fast-food spot first thing in the morning. [POPSUGAR Fitness]

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Breakfast of Champions: The Dutch Reviewed

 

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The Dutch | Photo by Emily Teel

Breakfast is the last great, untouched frontier. Of all the meals available to us (lunch, dinner, supper, elevenses, fourthmeal, midnight snacks, etc.), breakfast is the most pure, the most un-fuck-with-able. No one in his right mind tries to innovate during breakfast. No one tries to dazzle you with technical wizard-powers or supply lines to long-lost fruits and vegetables. Breakfast is toast and jelly. Coffee. Pancakes. Eggs and bacon. Waffles in all their myriad glories. It is, occasionally, oatmeal. Complicated (but comforting) pastries. Half a grapefruit doused in Wild Turkey. Whatever.

I love congee and chilaquiles as much as anyone, but Americans own breakfast the way the French do dinner. We have stolen all the great ideas ever had about breakfast and made them our own. Americans are so good at breakfast that our canon doesn’t extend merely to regional variations, but to social, religious, economic and historic ones as well. The trucker’s breakfast is a thing. The yoga breakfast. The camp breakfast. The Lutheran pancake social or Continental or Southerner’s petit déjeuner. Breakfast knows no bounds save temporal. And brunch? Well, brunch doesn’t even have those rules to adhere to. Brunch laughs at the notion of rules.

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The Checkup: Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Skipping Breakfast

• If you’ve been shamed by your mother and your significant other and your barista for skipping the most important meal of the day (who is hungry before the sun rises?!) for years now, rejoice while reading this argument from pediatrics professor Aaron E. Carroll, who says, really, “breakfast has no mystical powers.” So if you’re never hungry, don’t worry too much about skipping it. [The New York Times] Read more »

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