Maybe it is because I oftentimes go to bed late at night with a growling stomach, but I love waking up in the morning and starting my day off right.
But the odd thing about me and my love of breakfast is the fact that I love it for its simplicity, not its extravagance. As an avid cereal lover, I look forward to pouring myself a bowl and washing it down with a cold glass of orange juice. Yes, that’s right, orange juice. Ever since I was little, I have refused to let milk touch my bowl of cereal. No matter whether eating Honey Bunches of Oats, Special K or Cheerios, the cereal is always enjoyed dry. Such choice led to many awkward confrontations with friends’ parents on the mornings after sleepovers…
Further exemplifying my love for breakfast foods is the fact that I don’t restrict them to just A.M. In fact, throughout high school, I regularly ate bagels or deconstructed yogurt parfaits for lunch (yogurt with granola bars and a side of fruit). Although probably not the healthiest mid-day meal by nutritionist’s standards, I never complained. After running across campus in the cold, one of my favorite lunches is a steaming bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with crunchy fruit and nut granola. On days when I am not up to cooking and/or don’t feel like trekking to the cafeteria, cereal is also one of my favorite go-to dinners—that, or some whole grain pieces of toast slathered in Nutella.
While cereal, bagels and Nutella toast do not represent the ideal choices for a healthy, nutrition diet outside of morning hours, something about them keeps me satisfied. By no means at all am I advocating a diet based on cereal dinners, especially when my consumption amounts to two or three servings of the stuff, but sometimes my cravings for a bowl usurp the desire for something heartier.
And yet, despite my love for breakfast’s simplicity, I must admit that there is a spot in my heart for the more luxurious, hearty morning meals. Pancakes, Belgian waffles, French Toast, veggie omelettes; these represent special treats in the pre-noon hours of the day. Except for the occasional pancake breakfast (or dinner), I never ate the more time-consuming morning fare with my family unless dining out at a restaurant. With pre-determined responsibilities and the simple desire to sleep in late on the weekends, the opportunities to brunch at home were few and far between. At school, eating out for dinner nearly always trumps eating out for breakfast. That was until this past weekend.
Having resolved with two of my closest friends to get off campus more and eat our way across the District in 2012, we began our spring semester with a reservation for brunch at one of the area’s most popular eateries: Founding Farmers. Known for its extensive menu and its use of fresh, local ingredients, the restaurant dishes out lunch and dinner daily, as well as weekend brunch for those diners looking for a relatively inexpensive but exceptional meal. Requiring only a 15-minute bus ride to Foggy Bottom and a couple of extra layers because of the cold, our trip to the restaurant was nearly effortless. But would the food satisfy my growling stomach deprived of its traditional cereal bowl breakfast?
Yes! Yes! And yes!
Considering how I have no problem eating cereal for dinner, it should come as no surprise that I prefer the less healthful, less protein packed sweet versus savory items on the breakfast menu. Typically this results in my ordering something prepared with a batter and then smothered in syrup. This past brunch experience was no different. Scanning the list of menu items, my eyes immediately found the section for Belgian Waffles and then stopped searching at the mention of “bananas foster.” I knew I had found my brunch.
The favoring of the sweet set dominated the table, as my friends also ordered items that promised to spark blood sugars within the hour. For one friend, the choice was easy: French Toast made with Brandy Creme Anglaise Brioche, served with Maple Cinnamon Syrup. For the other, it was a tossup between the pancakes and the waffle. After asking our server about which she should choose and hearing that the pancakes’ portion size afforded the opportunity for leftovers, my friend was sold on the golden hot cakes.
As we sipped our cappuccinos and lattes and recounted stories from the evening before, the time waiting for our food passed quickly. When the glorious spread came to the table, each of us looked around at one another in delight, but we did not dig in immediately. With two bloggers among us, our stomachs waited a few moments as we documented our feast with the flash of our cameras. Only after we had taken enough pictures did we douse our items in syrup and dig our forks into the anti-Atkins Diet packed platters.
Having not tasted my fellow diners’ dishes, I cannot comment on how they were, but considering the lack of french toast on one plate by meal’s end and my friend’s excitement at the prospect of having a box of pancake leftovers for a mid-afternoon snack, I think it is safe to say that both items were enjoyed. As for me, the warm sautéed bananas accompanying my light and fluffy waffle made me almost forget my affection for cereal. Almost…