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Green eggs and ham

When was the last time you ate breakfast? And we don't mean carryout coffee and a low-carb muffin, we mean a real breakfast. One that required plates, silverware and sitting at a table. Drawing a blank, are you? Read on.

In Ireland, a proper breakfast is an Atkins-friendly feast of meats, meant to sustain the appetite until dinner. On the plate: two eggs sunny-side up, brown bread, baked beans, a slice of fried tomato, pork sausages (bangers), rashers of Irish bacon, and puffy rounds of black and white pudding (sausages made of pig's blood and parts, spices and grain, the white sans the blood). Hash-brown potatoes and sauteed mushrooms are sometimes added to the mix. Check out some of our favorite plates.

The enormous portion at Ginger's Ale House also includes paprika-flecked hash browns. It's served all day, seven days a week. $8.50. 3801 N. Ashland Ave. 773-348-2767.

The traditional Irish breakfast is a staple at The Pepper Canister, unless it happens to be St. Pat's Day. However, the pub serves up this meat-heavy meal every other day until 1 a.m. $9.

Chief O'Neill's Pub adds hash browns and sauteed mushrooms to its ever-present breakfast plate. $10.95.

Give the clean-plate club a sporting chance with Mystic Celt's $4.50 bangers and eggs breakfast, sans the puddings and rashers. Still hungry? The full plate is five bucks more. Served Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

For the full on, "top o' the morning" experience, opt for Abbey Pub and Restaurant. Imported Batchelors baked beans and Barry's Irish tea (priced separately) complete the authentic package. $7.95. Served all day.

Fitzer's Pub in the Fitzpatrick Chicago Hotel, slings fully loaded Gaelic breakfast plates daily from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $13.95.

Corcoran's Pub and Grill in Old Town bravely forgoes the black and white pudding and offers Italian focaccia in lieu of brown bread. $7.50. Served Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

For $5.99, Celtic Crown Public House's full breakfast plate, served all day, might be the best deal in town.

In addition to the usual suspects, Hidden Shamrock piles sauteed mushrooms, fried spuds and soda bread on the plate. $8.95. Get it all day, every day.

Tommy Nevin's Pub channels the Emerald Isle with imported Shannon shoulder bacon and Heinz (which is actually an Irish brand) baked beans in a tomato sauce. $8.95. Served all day.

Jessica Volpe is a metromix special contributor. This story was originally published March 17, 2004. Updated March 11, 2005

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