Early to Rise

Well folks, for all intents and purposes, summer is finally here. How do I know? Because I am on good terms with my alarm clock.

Every winter we have a severe falling out. When my alarm chirps me awake, I unplug it and throw it across the room. But in the summer when my alarm gently wakes me, I give it a hug and thank it for doing a spectacular job.

It’s much easier to spring out of bed when bright warm sunshine is streaming through my windows. The only dilemma is what to do with all of the extra time and energy in the morning. Fortunately, I found the answer – go to Hot Rize Bagel Café in Merrimack.

Hot Rize has all the key ingredients to get your day off to a great start, from quality coffees to delicious breakfast sandwiches and pastries. In fact, there are almost too many great options for kicking off your day. You might need to kick off a few days at once.

On my last visit, my plan was to stop in for a breakfast sandwich and some coffee, but somewhere along the line of pastries I went astray. When I reached the register, my arms were loaded with thick slices of freshly baked breads.

I went with slices of banana chocolate chip, strawberry cream cheese, and mango. Yes, mango bread. It had a light and sweet mango flavor with bits of coconut shavings to keep me in the summer mindset.

The strawberry bread was also delicious, with a thick layer of sweet cream cheese in the middle to give it a strawberries and cream taste. And of course, the banana chocolate chip bread was phenomenal, because that is one of the all time best types of breads, and Hot Rize nailed it.

Somehow, I just barely managed to restrain from purchasing the other bread options, ranging from apple cinnamon and carrot cake, to blueberry and pumpkin chocolate chip.

Unfortunately, my self-control was tested again, because the bagel options were just as interesting. My eyes darted from French toast to Asiago, then to pumpernickel and sundried tomato. And between you and me, I ordered some bagels to go.

But for my breakfast sandwich, I went with the jalapeno cheddar bagel, which had bits of jalapenos baked right into the bagel for a subtle spiciness. And the egg was clearly cooked fresh to order, like an egg that you would cook at home on the weekends, rather than the typical frozen wafer eggs that most breakfast shops serve.

It made for an awesome sandwich and really hit the spot. I quickly followed it up with a coffee order to sip on while plotting my day’s activities.

Thankfully, Hot Rize put plenty of TLC into the seating areas as well, making it a great spot to relax. The inside is split into two sections – one with small café tables and a bar along the window, and the other with a longer table, some plush chairs, and bookcases along the wall.

Both settings are cheerful and make for the perfect space to catch up with friends or sit with a book and a coffee. And speaking of coffee, there is a sign posted near the door that proudly expresses how the Hot Rize coffee beans are locally sourced from the region’s best micro-roasters. And I can attest, the quality is noticeable.

Overall, there are still a lot of stones left unturned for me at Hot Rize. Many more bagels and pastries that I need to try, and I haven’t even delved into the large selection of lunch options, including paninis, salads, cold wraps, and grilled wraps. (Click here for the full sandwich menu).

So I recommend you follow my lead and apologize to your alarm for smashing the snooze button so hard. Show it that you really care by setting it a few minutes earlier next time and heading over to Hot Rize Bagel Café, located at 634 Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack.

As always, please email eatdrinkplay@stayworkplay.org to share your ideas of any New Hampshire related food/drink/venue/organization that you think should be featured in our “Eat Drink Play” blog posts.

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