I love breakfast places. Not the fancy luxurious hotel kind; those always have an edge of intimidation for me, an uptight haughtiness. I’m talking about the small joints tucked in nooks-and-crannies around town that serve-up two eggs with hash-browns and a good cup of coffee for something stupid like five dollars. You know them by the sweet, buttery smell filling the place that makes your stomach rumble just walking in the door. They usually have a counter and several tables, but they’re a good notch below a diner. Hollywood had great hangover dives.

There are always a few regulars in those places, chatting low with the waitress or cook, some kind of intimate conversation that feels conspiratorial. I might catch a word or two about kids or a dog, but not much else. And a lot of these joints accept cash only. Occasionally, they’ll have the best pancakes in the universe. They never feel special at the time, only satisfying. But with a foggy morning mind, stepping into another day, those are the places I find myself looking for. I can taste the hash browns right now. And the pancakes.