Breakfast and brunch | 100 best things we ate and drank in 2012

 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsBrunch tower at AlliumThe Four Seasons killed its brunch buffet this year and replaced it with a tasting menu that starts with this tower of rotating tiny bites. Think crisp potato pancakes with salmon, wispy cr�pes filled with ricotta, and cold, plump shrimp. In other words, think luxury, girl.
 (Photograph: Sarah Lawhead)
Photograph: Sarah LawheadBacon steak at Autre MondeThat�s right�it�s not bacon, it�s a bacon steak. These folks cure the pork belly in-house, cut it thick and slap it on the wood-burning grill. The result is chewy in parts, crispy in others and smoky all over.
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsBiscuits and gravy at Bang Bang Pie ShopThis caf�s buttery biscuits, cloaked in peppery gravy, are the ugliest plate of food we�ve ever wanted to bathe ourselves in.
Croissant from BeurrageHow did no one tell us about these flaky, buttery, astoundingly well-made croissants, sold at the Pilsen farmers� market, until the end of summer? Luckily, they�re also available online.
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsBiscuits at MarkethouseBreakfast at Markethouse ain�t nothing without Scott Walton�s flaky, endlessly layered buttermilk biscuits. (Oh, they also come with sausage, gravy and three eggs.)
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsChilaquiles at MercaditoThere�s one instance where crisp tortilla chips with soggy bits are okay: When they�re soaked in crema and tomatilla sauce.
 (Photograph: Jessica Zerby)
Photograph: Jessica ZerbyHuevos al bajio at Mixteco GrillBenedicts seem boring after brunch here, where sopes serve as crispy masa boats for poached eggs drowned in creamy poblano sauce topped with crumbled chorizo, tomatoes and cilantro.
 (Photograph: Courtesy Nellcote)
Photograph: Courtesy NellcoteQuiche at Nellc�teBecause the quiche here is not served as a slice but as a full, miniature pie, the crust-to-quiche ratio is practically 1:1�which is completely in keeping with Nellc�te�s mission to achieve maximum opulence.
 (Photograph: Jason Little)
Photograph: Jason LittleKimchee mortadella bao at TrenchermenAny place that has La Colombe�s Pure Black iced coffee on tap is going to be serious about mornings, and Trenchermen�s Sunday brunch doesn�t disappoint. Barely anything on this menu resembles other brunches in the city, especially this hot, gooey mess of a ham-and-cheese sandwich. We�d eat this for lunch or dinner or late-night, but to have it first thing in the morning sets an ambitious tone for the rest of the day.