BREAKFAST is one of the fastest-growing segments of the restaurant business. What that mostly means is that more people are grabbing a cup of bad coffee and a greasy doughnut on their way to work. If they're feeling like being good to themselves, they might go for one of those egg sandwiches the fast-food joints seem to be touting with increasing fervor.
It's a sad situation. And an unneccessary one, considering that breakfast is the day's easiest meal to prepare.
One of the best places to stock up for good breakfasts is the Old Town Bakery in Pasadena. They bake more than ordinary muffins (although they do a good job with those). There are, for instance, the only homemade English muffins in the area. These monsters look like hockey pucks for giants, with a dense, chewy texture and a wholesome, homemade flavor. Half a muffin makes a fairly substantial meal. To put on top there are wonderful homemade four-berry preserves; unlike ordinary jams, these are filled with fruit, not very thick and not very sweet.
If cereal's more like what you think of in the morning, Old Town Bakery makes its own granola filled with sliced nuts, dried fruits and whole grains. You get a container of the granola topped with fruit in season. All you have to do is pour a little milk on top; it's quicker than stopping at the fastest food joint--and it keeps you going all day.
The Old Town Bakery is located at 166 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; telephone (818) 792-7943. English muffins are 50 cents each, preserves are $4.50 a pint, and granola and fresh fruit is $3 a bowl.