Three brunches to rule them all

On the road to Big Happiness (retired, house paid off, good health, social security checks not bouncing), we get by with lots of little happinesses. And one of the truly fine little ’nesses in this world occurs when you’re flyin’ solo at your favorite breakfast joint, workin’ on a great plate and reading the paper.

The late Joseph Campbell liked to talk of finding true happiness by “finding your bliss.” Well, if you agree that a great way to bliss out is to treat yourself to breakfast/brunch a couple times a week, here are three recommendations that have been thoroughly researched by me and my mouth. Each of the following specialize in old-school comfort food, and man, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, especially during these chilly gray months. If you believe in the old adage that one should “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper,” these vital yet funky joints will get the job done with that crucial first meal of the day, big time.

Landrum’s—There’s only one Landrum’s now, at the corner of Rock and Hymer in Sparks. I’m sure there are many who have lived in northern Nevada for years, but have never been to Landrum’s since the classic location in Reno at Virginia and Arroyo turned into an insurance place. If that’s the case, you’re blowing it. This Landrum’s, with chef Dave on the spatula, can still fill your personal burner with belt-loosening satisfaction. Yes, Dave will crank out the classic chili cheese omelet, if you must, but I suggest you wrangle with a custom scramble instead. It’s a killer piece of work. There are still no booths, only stools at the counter, just like it’s supposed to be.

Jack’s—This joint on Victorian in Sparks is usually jumpin’ pretty good, especially on the weekends, so be ready for a possible line out the door. There’s a reason for that. Some unique, tasty spins on breakfast food can be found here, including the Southwest Home Fries—a scramble-type mess featuring hash browns with sausage, onions, peppers and gravy slopped all over that is major yummitude.

Big Ed’s—Yes, I used to be co-owner, but that changed in 2001, so I can go ahead and plug with a clear conscience. This is the place to get a chili cheese omelet (warning: It’s a four-egger, and rather hefty). The real jackpot here is the chicken-fried steak breakfast, which is basically to-die-for. Once you load this baby in the barn, you’re pretty much set for the afternoon. The breakfast burrito is also a seriously tasty gut-bust. And since Ed’s has a bar, there are quality “hair-of-the-dog” options available for boozy brunchers, like deluxe fizzes and Bloody Mary’s.

Certainly, there are many more swingin’ breakfast joints in our area dispensing happinesses, and I stand ready to carry on research for future columns. Send recommendations via my e-mail, and I’ll happily persevere.