Everyone, it seems, has his favorite little neighborhood breakfast joint. There’s been bragging around the office about the coffee cake at the Cracked Egg; another faction is partial to omelets at the Original Pancake House. But for overall quality, variety, imagination and efficiency, Bouchon at the Venetian, Thomas Keller’s bistro, is in a class by itself.

First off, the smart décor by Adam Tihany—featuring tiles from France, Belle Époque brass fittings and a spacious outdoor patio—is sure to impress anyone but a determinately dour visitor. Then there is the fact that Bouchon makes its own sticky buns, almond croissants, epi and brioche for its matchless French toast. Butter is sourced from a farm in Vermont; it’s canary yellow, cream-scented and so good you want to say “I can’t believe it’s butter.” And the menu is chockablock with great breakfast dishes: eggs with boudin blanc, tempting quiches, a delicious salmon baguette that’s a French twist on an American bagel and lox. The coffee is excellent, and there is always fresh fruit, impeccably sourced. The one thing the bistro does not serve is pancakes. But there’s always hope.

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Cocktail Culture

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By Xania V. Woodman

Combining ingredients that are both popular and typical of Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine, Paymon’s general manager Jeff Ecker created a drink that pairs well with the tradition of smoking hookah. With delicate flavors such as mango, coconut, orange and cherry, Ecker notes that it appeals to the female set as well. The cocktail was also featured in 2002 on Rachael Ray’s show, $40 a Day. It has remained on the menu ever since, a testament to the enduring success of this match made in the Mediterranean.