The Coast News Group
Birds Eye Kitchen
The Beef Pho at Birds Eye Kitchen with a couple eggs added this author the next morning. Photo by David Boylan
ColumnsFood & WineLick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Worthy restaurant leftovers

I’m going to be completely honest with you and say that there are many restaurant meals I order specifically with the intent of enjoying them as much or more the next morning for breakfast. That enjoyment can take the form of straight-up eating as is, even cold on occasion, or doctoring them up with more breakfast like ingredients.

I will order a pizza in a size larger than I can eat for dinner with the intent of eating it cold the next morning almost every time.  With that, I thought I’d share some of my favorite leftover, next day meals from area restaurants.

I’ll start with the obvious, and what I’ve already mentioned, cold pizza. On the rare occasion that I can actually plan a hangover, having cold pizza, a big gulp, and a day to do absolutely nothing makes it a little more bearable.  The type of pizza is important here. I want a pliable crust with plenty of sauce, lots of cheese and some meat involved.

Traditional pies tend to work better for this and local restaurants that come to mind that serve those are Leucadia Pizzeria, Mr. Moto, Corner Pizza and honestly, just about any major chain. And while I love the crispy wood-fired pizzas that abound in the area, given a choice I would not choose them for leftovers. Don’t get me wrong, I would devour them as well, just not the preferred choice.

While we are on the topic of red sauce and cheese, just about any type of Italian food that involves it makes for a delightful next morning meal. Lasagna is a favorite, baked ziti, chicken or veal parm, and of course spaghetti and meatballs. I’ve filled many a frittata with angel hair pasta and red sauce and it was amazing.

Leftover chicken or veal parm subs devoured cold are a treat as well though I find I usually have to order a second one the night before as there is not going to be anything left over from a single sub. Rosanna’s Pasta Shop is a perfect source for any of these Italian dishes.

Risotto is another choice to repurpose for breakfast and it can be spectacular. It can be done with any kind, but I’ve found that my own recipe of roasted corn and applewood bacon risotto makes the perfect risotto cake for breakfast.

It’s quite simple really, kind of like forming a hamburger patty but with risotto. Ball them up then flatten with your hand or a small plate, patting them to keep them together.

Heat up some butter or olive oil in a nonstick pan and fry them up like you would hash browns, leaving them on longer than you think you should before you turn them to get that crispy brown exterior. While they are finishing, fry up a couple eggs over easy, lay them over the risotto cakes and dive into that crispy goodness. The great thing about having bacon in the risotto is well, you have bacon in the risotto.

With all the amazing choices we have in the area for great soup, that is my next favorite category for leftovers for breakfast. The obvious pick is the chicken soup from La Especial Norte (although we live in the land of plenty so there are many local options) and I always order a large and practice portion control for dinner. That can be easy to do with the addition of tortillas and chips and salsa that comes with the order.

The next morning, I heat up the leftovers and either drop a couple of fried eggs in or try, mostly unsuccessfully to poach those eggs in the hot broth. Either way, the healing nature of this soup works its magic all over again for breakfast.

The same concept can apply very easily to your favorite Pho or Ramen and my go-to lately has been Bird’s Eye Kitchen in Leucadia. Since Pho is usually loaded with noodles, it has worked best for me to just lay the fried eggs on top of the soup as I have in the photo above.

I’ve also found that just about any dish from Chin’s or Chinatown is great the next day and you are almost guaranteed leftovers with Chinese food. Fried rice refried with a scrambled egg mix is a delight as are their noodles and even dumplings though they never seem to make it to the next day.

Leftover steak schnitzel from Valentina or any similar beef or pork dish fried up in a scramble with potatoes eggs, cheese and salsa on its own or wrapped in a burrito does the job as well.

This list is endless, and everyone has their go-to leftovers for breakfast dishes and the great thing is there are no rules, it’s pretty much anything goes! Email me at [email protected] with some of your favorites.