“Rise & Dine,” Digested

1203613017To the despair of friends who feel it’s uncivilized to take Sunday brunch before 2 p.m., I have in recent years become a die-hard morning person. So when a new pocket-sized guide to Boston breakfast spots came across my desk this week, I was on it like date butter on banana-stuffed French toast.

Written by Acton’s Barbara Brown Smith, Rise & Dine: Breakfast in Boston is about as light and fluffy as food writing gets: 50-plus profiles of “the most interesting” destinations for a.m. eats, written in a simple, cheery tone and mixing each restaurant’s history with a bit of atmosphere and some menu highlights.

After breezing through its generously spaced 185 pages, though, I was left puzzling over whom this guidebook is meant for. Tourists will be stymied by the two small maps and the lack of indexing (Rise & Dine serves up its picks alphabetically), while Bostonians will be put off by the occasional lapses into naivete (free metered parking on Sundays is “a whispered, welcome secret”) and geographic switcheroo (I’m still trying to wrap my head around how Lansdowne Street and Fenway can be in opposite directions from Kenmore).

Natives will also, no doubt, complain about overlooked gems like Centre Street Cafe in J.P. and Brookline’s Zaftigs, but that can be forgiven, given the space constraints. The author still manages to pack in a range of choices wide enough to tempt Boston’s early birds out of their normal habitat—including this one, who’ll be heading over to Terrie’s Place in Southie to contemplate a black-and-white pudding this weekend.

Rise and Dine is available on Amazon.com and in local bookstores.