The breakfast staples of bread, ham, eggs and cheese receive upscale upgrades at 3rd & Hollywood in these brunchy beauties that both, appropriately, make me think of famous artists.

3&H's rich, crunchy and irresistible Croque Madame is a knife-and-fork sandwich masterpiece (FYI: it's a Croque Monsieur endowed with a feminizing egg-on-top; also, I once read the sandwich was first mentioned in the great "A la recherche du temp perdu") . Generously, it comes with a salad--ask for the the killer charred butternut squash, goat cheese and arugula number. Equally wonderful is their...

...Winter Vegetable Strata (a sorely under-appreciated sorta savory bread pudding, its name always makes me think of "La Strada" and Zampano, the crazy strongman played by Anthony Quinn), which, like the Croque Madame, comes with salty prosciutto-like ham, organic local eggs and terrific Gruyere cheese.

More lunchtime love arrived via the unfairly generically named Cafe Bistro, a shopping mall oasis in Easton's Nordstrom. Pictured are...

this juicy and terrific steak sandwich...

...and a very nifty mushroom pizza. For more descriptions, see my review in this week's Alive.

On the dinner front, the always-wonderful Cafe Shish Kebab provided me with...

...this expertly grilled swordfish kebab and...

...this insanely delicious "Sultan's Favorite"--think Turkish shrimp-and-grits but made with cheesy mashed eggplant and tender, racy-tomato-stewed lamb. WOW!