Being a relative newbie to Shanghai has its perks. Your new, built-in social circle of expats shows you the ropes and invites you out to a bevy of F&B gems. You wind up at some solid after-hours hangs, down 1 or 2 more gin & tonics than you would have liked…before you know it, you wind up waking with a banger of a headache and that gnawing need-some-greasy-goodness feeling in your tummy.
On the first new city hangover, a friend and I headed to Munchies in Jing’an on Wuding Lu. The name and decor clue you in to their easy-going, free-spirited nature. The menu is packed with classic American comfort food like pancakes, omelets, burritos, and hamburgers. My friend is a fan of their chocolate peanut butter milkshakes and hamburgers while I opted for the veggie omelet this go round. While not the best brunch/breakfast meal I’ve had here yet, it was certainly filling and budget-friendly.
In my opinion, Mr. Pancake House is a step above. They offer a very similar menu with similar pricing. The unfortunate bit is that whether you dine in or order online, there’s at least an item or two that they no longer offer or have run out of. Such was my luck with I received a call from the store and Sherpa’s that they were out of chocolate chips for my chocolate chip pancakes (!!!) and asked for my approval to substitute with chocolate syrup. The espresso martinis of previous hours begged for the chocolatey, buttery goodness of these pancakes so I forged ahead. Here’s hoping they can make positive changes to improve their stock since their food is consistently flavorful.
Finally, I cannot resist the berry-chocked, lemon zesty, rich, buttery goodness that is the dish you see below. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lazy morning where I don’t feel like making breakfast or if the previous night ended in a dive bar with dance-worn feet and a liter of Asahi, I will always crave this beauty of a stack. Enter Blueberry Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes from Al’s Diner. The menu features many American classics like omelets, skillets (Purgatory Eggs for hot-and-spicy fans), sandwiches and pasta dishes. The Key Lime Pie, priced right and well-balanced, offers a great finish for any Al’s meal. Gracie’s Ice Cream offers a one-two punch for Al’s fans as their unique flavor combinations like miso-caramel and balsamic strawberry shine. I’ve already shortlisted their banana split for my next post-post-party hangover meal.