Feast: 9 breakfasts to go

Going without breakfast can turn your brain into a fritzing light bulb that repeatedly buzzes: "Eat something … zzz … Eat something." But who wants to take the time for a real meal when you can press snooze another 10 times? Which is why, when in a rush, many of us settle for microwavable crap made from pasteurized American cheese and unpronounceable chemical substrates, or maybe a pastry and giant cup of coffee that steadily converts the cerebral cortex into a vapid hummingbird.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.

For a hearty, quality alternative route to keeping your blood sugar up, try these handy local breakfast spots. They prepare eggs and bacon for a couple bucks and a few minutes of your time. All these brekkies travel well in a messenger bag without leaking, and they are available all day. (Take note, fast-food restaurants. As it turns out, breakfast time comes between waking and going to work — not just before 11 a.m.).

METRO CREPES


The fastest of the bunch is Metro Crepes in the Financial District. Inside the picturesque atrium of the Citigroup building, its little walk-up windows serve stuffed mini-pancakes in about the same time it takes to put cream and sugar in a cup of coffee. The Oakland Crepe, packed with egg, bacon, and cheese, is filling, yet light enough to avoid that big-breakfast food coma. And at $2.95 it won’t cramp your finances, either.

1 Sansome, SF. (415) 217-7060, www.metrocrepes.com

BLUE DANUBE COFFEE HOUSE


The crispiest bacon in town might be on the open-faced breakfast bagel at the Blue Danube in the Richmond District. Crunchy slices sit on top of tomato, egg, and cheddar that’s melted to perfection. The eggs are steamed, which keeps them from being too greasy and means that even when wrapped in a bulky box, the sandwich isn’t too sloppy to throw in a bag.

306 Clement, SF. (415) 221-9041

HOUSE OF COFFEE


Although known for its many varieties of excellent java, the folks here should be famous for the delicious Irish breakfast roll — a fluffy sandwich roll accented with Irish sausage, bacon, cheese, and your choice of HP Sauce (a popular English and Irish condiment that tastes like bland A-1, and whose initials stand for "House of Parliament") or ketchup. The $5 sandwich doesn’t come with egg, but it can be added for 75 cents — and the sucker’s served all day.

1618 Noriega, SF. (415) 681-9363 www.coffeesf.com

COPPER KETTLE


You can also try a version of House of Coffee’s specialty, minus cheese, at this comfy eatery. These rolls don’t come with HP sauce either, but if you’re feeling worldly, you can add it yourself — there’s a bottle on each table of the homey restaurant.

2240 Taraval, SF. (415) 731-8818

POSH BAGEL


This Sunset District outpost of the chain store may be the second-fastest breakfast game in town. Yes, eggs are microwaved and bacon’s precooked, but the resulting sandwiches are quick and tasty, if a tad oily.

742 Irving, SF. (415) 566-2761

KATZ BAGELS


At Katz’s Lower Haight location, the egg-mit-bagel thing has been worked out to a science. Order tags with all the possible fixings wait for the hungry crowd, and cooks pump breakfast out like a well-greased pan. Their bagels are fluffy, chewy, fresh, and quick — plus, omelets are served in a matter of minutes. Try the wheat bagel, with its faint hint of cinnamon. I like these dedicated desayuno demigods who serve breakfast all day — but don’t forget Katz ends its day at 2 p.m.

663 Haight, SF. (415) 863-1382

BOULANGE DE COLE


No matter where you live or work in the city, the Boulangeries are there for you. Born of a perfectionism that only the French can muster, this mini-chain is especially good for its delicious quiches. The chorizo quiche at Boulange De Cole wins the Goldilocks award for being not-too-spicy and not-too-bland, with sausage that’s not-too-oily, making it one clean, neat, tasty little egg pie.

1000 Cole, SF. (415) 242-2442, www.baybread.com

EL NORTEÑO TACO TRUCK


It’s a safe bet that half the police, thieves, judges, and trial lawyers in this city already know about the taco truck across from the San Francisco courthouse. Try the hefty breakfast burrito with a choice of chorizo, bacon, ham, or potatoes any time of day: cashiers don’t bat an eye when one’s ordered at 2 p.m. They just start frying them eggs ‘n’ bakey and get it out in about six minutes. And hey, if you’ve got to go up the river — don’t do it on an empty stomach.

Harriet and Bryant streets, SF

LULU PETITE


For those morning ferry commuters, stop by this little shop in the Ferry Building. Featuring some of the recipes from Lulu, its big sister on Folsom, the menu includes two fancy-pants baked egg sandwiches with fontina cheese and heirloom tomatoes. One comes with roasted peppers and scallions, the other with sausage. Since both are served on levain bread, you’re sure to remember the complex flavor of this sandwich no matter how quickly you eat it.

Ferry Building, SF.

>>More Feast: The Guardian Guide to Bay Area Dining and Drinking