The Buffy the Calorie Slayer Diet
Blue Moon Café (1621 Aliceanna St.,  522-3940) has, in the space of just a few years, positioned itself as a perennial front-runner in the best brunch sweepstakes. And they do take the first meal of the day seriously at this Fells Point café. Huge food here, in a cozy, winsome setting. The corned beef hash is a winner. (However, the cinnamon buns are not as big as a human head, no matter what they say). The weekend wait has become part of the experience, but no waiting is necessary on weekdays; Blue Moon is also open for late-night scarfing on Thursdays through Saturday nights.
A few blocks away, Jimmy's Restaurant (801 S. Broadway,  327-3273) continues to embody the essence of the perfect city diner. Sunday breakfast here is observed religiously by those who appreciate the hospitable service, the lightning-quick kitchen, and the still great prices. Breakfast is served all day, and the place opens early.
Fells Point fans have two estimable coffeehouses to choose from. The Daily Grind (1720 Thames St.,  558-0399) provides a clean, well-lighted place for students, java-heads, smokers, and anyone else seeking refuge from the raucousness of the FP waterfront. A side window serves coffee-loving dog walkers. Some old-timers may express nostalgia for the original location, two doors down from the present one, but during warm weather the people-watching potential is world-class. Farther up Broadway, Funk's Democratic Coffee Spot (1818 Eastern Ave.,  276-3865) serves vegan and vegetarian food in a low-key, pleasantly cluttered atmosphere that recalls a time when things were less slick, less packaged.
In Federal Hill, Caffe Brio (904 S. Charles St.,  234-0235) has taken over the old One World Café space (One World still operates at its University Parkway location, though). Some of the emphasis on vegan cuisine is gone, along with a few of the puckish staff. Open for business at 7 a.m., it's still a great place to hang out with a good book or the Sunday paper, and the place is featured on a "dog-friendly" Web site because pooches are welcome to join their owners at outdoor tables. Spoons Coffee House (24 E. Cross St.,  539-6751), which operates out of a restored rowhouse next to the Cross Street Market, is open early for breakfast, and serves light fare throughout the day.
After all these years, the Butcher's Hill institution Morning Edition Café (153 N. Patterson Park Ave.,  732-5133) still attracts a loyal weekend crowd to its cute restaurant. Open only Friday through Sunday, the wait for a table has been known to be strenuous, and the service, at least in the past, less than thrilled to see you, but it's hard to top the place for its comfortable setting and its wholesome, Vermont-style brunch fare.
Early-rising Hampdenites head to Golden West Café (842 W. 36th St.,  889-8891) for breakfast, not to mention lunch and dinner. There's a Tex-Mex twist to the standard offerings throughout the day, which means huevos rancheros in the morning. When the weather is nice, the café's front porch is one of the city's sweetest perches for reading a new novel. Across the street, A Common Ground (819 W. 36th St.  235-5533) opens even earlier (7 a.m.) for the morning crowd. It's the sweet little neighborhood coffeehouse that everyone wants in their neighborhood--chummy and comfortable, with an idyllic back porch.
In Mount Vernon, Sylvan Beach Café (7 W. Preston St.,  685-5752) offers a pleasant alternative to some better-known establishments. Operated by a nonprofit foundation, this more than worthy and widely heralded enterprise gives at-risk youth an entrepreneurial leg-up, and provides further public service as one of the few places between the Inner Harbor and Penn Station where you can get a hand-dipped scoop of ice cream.
On the other end of the clock, Mount Vernonites who don't want the night to end head to the Belvedere, where Kobe Teppan and Sushi (1023 N. Charles St.,  685-0780), stays open for sushi and fun until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights as DJs play while the crowd mingles. (By day, Kobe operates as a Teppan-Yaki restaurant, where the chef cooks at your table.) Farther up the road, the indispensable Korean restaurants U-Jung (12-16 W. 20th St.,  230-0422) and Nam Kang (2126 Maryland Ave.,  685-6237) stay open until 4 a.m. most nights, serving tremendously flavorful Korean food (see separate listings on Page 45).
The Papermoon Diner* (227 W. 29th St.,  889-4444) serves filling and nutritious food in an expansively playful setting in Remington where, against all odds, the self-conscious kitsch--Christmas lights, mannequins, Barbie dolls--actually works. Breakfast is served all day and night, and the omelets and challah French toast are more than decent. Budget-conscious students can satisfy themselves by choosing from such alluring munchies as fried green tomatoes or a reasonably priced hummus sandwich.
As inviting as the Papermoon is, many remain loyal to their favorite diners, an association usually formed when they first got their driver's license. The family owned Bel-Loc Diner* (Loch Raven Boulevard and Joppa Road, Towson,  668-2525) has been popular since the Johnson administration. Its chief competition for a long time has been the Towson Diner* (718 York Road, Towson,  321-0407), specializing in breakfast with Greek additions like souvlaki. The Double T Diner* (6300 Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville,  744-4151; and several other locations) is ideal for national holidays when everyplace else is closed. The indescribable Sip and Bite* (2200 Boston St.,.  675-7077) has attracted more than its share of substance- and otherwise-altered personalities to this all-night, Hopperesque haunt in Canton. If you're in the right mood, it will make you bless America; in the wrong one, you'll want to hop the first bus out of town.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201