Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Diner Food

I do try to prepare and eat healthy meals, and generally I think I succeed very well. But sometimes nostalgia takes over my appetite, and I want good ol' diner food (with the standard side order of grease).

If there is one truly national cuisine here in the United States, I think it must be what you find in those classic roadside diners: burgers and fries, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, basic sandwiches, malts and sodas, and pie for dessert. (Pie. Oh my. Don't get me started.)

Best of all (in my book, at least) is a good hearty diner breakfast. Really, you can't go wrong with pancakes, and I confess that in my younger days I was a huge fan of biscuits and sausage gravy.

So imagine my delight when I visited the restaurant next door to my hotel this morning and discovered I'd stepped into a gleaming send-up to a 1950s diner, complete with chrome seats, vintage signs, and yes! reasonable prices.

I sat at the counter (one of the thrills of traveling and dining alone) and went for a variation of my favorite diner breakfast: a Spanish omelet (with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and green chiles... this IS the Southwest, after all) with a side of salsa; crispy hash browns, two fluffy biscuits with butter, coffee, and orange juice. I tucked into that meal like a dockhand who'd been hauling cargo since well before dawn, and I'm sure that the quiet fellow who waited on me was amused to see me demolish that enormous breakfast so quickly and appreciatively. (What can I say? I don't eat much on days when I travel, so I had to make up for lost time.)

Granted, I don't eat like this every day. A three-egg omelet for breakfast seven days a week? I don't think so. But once in a while, it can be an incredibly satisfying treat.

And the best part? I'll be back at the same hotel in a couple of days, so I'll get to have dinner at the diner (nothin' could be finer!), too.

Maybe I'll get a chocolate malt.


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