Restaurateur Marisa May is proudly Italian, but she defies her heritage at breakfast: Instead of a fast cappuccino and pastry, she has a real sit-down meal. As co-owner of New York City's recently opened SD26, a reinvention of her father's venerable San Domenico, she's always running around working the floor (and greeting the occasional celebrity).
Breakfast is May's time to prepare for the day. "It's my relaxing time," she explains. "At night, after working for 12 hours, I'm too tired to do anything." Plus, she likes that eating breakfast has been shown to boost metabolism, which helps keep her weight in check.
In the mornings, May sips lattes made with soy milk while watching the Today show then cooks a dish to sustain her throughout the day. One favorite: uova al purgatorio, eggs baked in an oregano-scented pureed tomato sauce. "When I was little, we used to make this with leftover sauce from the night before," she says.
She also loves to whip part-skim-milk ricotta until fluffy and layer it with pears poached in maple syrup and lemon juice. "It's the dessert part of my breakfast," she says. "I wake up very hungry!"