Brunch · Full Complement

Morning Glory, Philadelphia: Little House on the Prairie

SOME weeks conspire against you; that’s just a fact of life. My back window blew out in last week’s windstorm and won’t be replaced for another two weeks; until then, I have to bear with a cardboard-and-garbage-bag monstrosity that hisses at the slightest brush of wind. The refrigerator called it quits last night, and I woke up to the delightful task of throwing out all the meat and salmon I’d stocked up for the next two weeks, a pint of haagen dazs sticky toffee pudding, and a liter of milk. (I am going to be SO cranky without my morning tea this week; I’m warning you now.)

Then there’s the fever. Oh yes, my world is just getting better and better. Not only did I wake up with a sore throat and fever this morning (totally exacerbated by the refrigerator fiasco), but I also inhaled a lungful of dust while beginning the packing process. And then I got a splinter while locking the door.

Clearly, my apartment hates me.

Luckily, I’m leaving it behind. And to celebrate the fact that this albatross will be around my neck for a mere two weeks more, I picked myself up and jetted down to CVS (for a thermometer & cough drops) and then off to Morning Glory for some recuperative eats.


Crab Cakes

Thank goodness today was Saturday or else the line in the Morning Glory back patio could have been a real trial. As it happened, though, Malik and I were third in line for a table and only had about a 10 minutes’ wait. Customers are invited to wait outside on the patio; there’s a sign-up list on a table by the door where you can put down your name, number of people, and table preference (table, counter, 1st available; yes, you have to sign up for the counter). DO NOT even think about waiting indoors. You’ll be shunted out by a harried and scowling waitress. I’m just saying.

Once at a table, though, you’re greeted by the smiling tattooed wait-staff, the incessant chatter of satisfied customers, and the smells of yummy food. The menu is extensive; not only is there a brunch menu (which also includes a backside devoted to drinks and sides) but also a brunch specials menu.

Malik and I both ordered the Hot Apple Cider, and then spent a good 10 minutes agonizing over the various frittata offerings. Malik eventually went for the Mo Glo Crab Cakes Breakfast Special with scrambled eggs and potatoes ($11.00); I chose the Smoked Salmon Frittata with Asparagus and Goat Cheese ($8.50), which comes with a giant square buttermilk biscuit and either potatoes or grits.


I love the smell of cider, and the memories that particular scent evokes. Morning Glory’s cider is of the extremely memory-laden sort, and recalls a sense of hominess while allowing you to indulge in nostalgia. Mug in hand, Malik murmured that he wanted to curl up and take a nap around his cider.

Served in stainless steel mugs, the cider makes you feel at once like a pioneer and a child. Indeed, our conversation somehow turned to what we were like at age twelve. We concurred: we must have been strange children, indeed. Never mind that I was going to marry Prince William (that, at least, was sort of normal, right?); but I was planning to marry him and then desert him, taking our two children to a small Midwestern town, not revealing to them that they were royalty until they were old enough to vote. Who does that? And, secondly, what 12-year-old fears that their kids will be snobby and too entitled to make friends unless they’re spirited away from the cause of their entitlement and grow up in Wisconsin? That’s just weird.

Morning Glory also specializes in large portions—frontier-sized portions. Malik had wondered if his crab cakes would be big enough; but with all the sides—the biscuit, the scrambled eggs, and the potatoes—he only ate ¾ of the serving. Though they were a step up from other crab cakes he’s had in the recent past, there was still something lacking. But the lemon dill sauce was a great send-up, and earned a beaming grin and a salute of the apple cider mug.

CiderThe Smoked Salmon Frittata, stuffed full of salmon, asparagus and goat cheese, was so fluffy that I couldn’t suppress a sigh of contentment before I’d even take a bite. And the sigh was deserved: this was a masterpiece. Light, moist, tender….While the potatoes didn’t thrill me, the frittata certainly did, even through the fog of my fever. And the biscuit! Huge and heavenly. I sat back, replete and completely sated, and ordered a second apple cider to complement the yummy glow inside.

Morning Glory calls itself a “finer diner.” Their hot chocolate is the real thing—no powdery packets for this South Philly eatery! It’s a great place to relax and wash away the week’s woes. With a birthday party going on at one table, a small child playing with a tinfoil plane and straw at another, Morning Glory delivered the exact remedy I needed: an afternoon away from the real world, in a quiet corner where I could think back on my childhood and laugh, a little red-faced, at the strangeness of children.