5 Simple Rules for Breakfast

Going out to breakfast is one of those little treats that can make an otherwise average day feel really special. Being fully awake is not a prerequisite, and someone else is in charge of worrying about whether the potatoes are cooked all the way through. A really fantastic breakfast restaurant will gently bring you into full consciousness, and prepare you for the day, while (unfortunately) a poor one can leave you grumpy and dissatisfied for hours after you leave.  In case you haven't yet noticed, I'm a big breakfast person and over many years and breakfasts (both good and bad) I have compiled a list of five absolutely non-negotiable rules for the restaurant.  There are a finite number of breakfasts I have left in this world, and I absolutely refuse to waste one of them on a sub-par experience.

1) Happy and energetic staff ....but not too happy.  As you slide your bleary eyed and half asleep self into a booth, the last thing you want to hear is moaning and groaning about the hangover your waitress has (yes, that has actually happened to me).  On the other hand, you also don't want to hear a Kappa Kappa Perky chirping away about just how AMAZING the weather today is going to be and OMG like totally aren't you so excited??  Staff should be warm, friendly, and so prescient as to refill any mugs before they become empty
2) Abundant coffee.  An empty mug is, in short, criminal.  At breakfast, coffee should flow like a river, and never, ever, under any circumstance, should you be charged by the cup.  A great waitress will never venture far with that coffee pot will stop by frequently to refresh and warm. When I leave breakfast, I want my blood stream to be approximately 20% caffeine.
3) Amazing breakfast potatoes.  You can truly judge the caliber of a breakfast on the quality of the potatoes.  If it has ever seen the inside of a bulk bag at costco, or the depths of a deep frier, keep it FAR from my plate.  Those are not breakfast potatoes my friend, those are breakfast faux-tatoes.  I want to eat something that began the day with skin (possibly a little dirt), and was then lovingly peeled, chopped, and seasoned to perfection. If this occurred in left over bacon grease, I wouldn't complain.
4) At least one menu combination that includes both eggs and pancakes.  I know this sounds like a simple request, but it is surprisingly hard to find.  All I want is a little sweet and salty on my palate without having to feel like a fatty ordering two separate breakfasts.
5) Real maple syrup.  I find it truly sad that I even need to make this a requirement and it isn't already implied just in the term "breakfast."  Real maple syrup, from a maple tree, tastes nothing like the over processed corn syrup they pass off as syrup at most restaurants.  I know it's more expensive, but seriously how much are the other ingredients for this breakfast costing you?  Eggs? toast? Um, that's less than $0.30.  Splurge and give me the real stuff.

If you'd like an example of the epitome of breakfast perfection, head to the Wayside on Rt 302 in Berlin, Vt.  It's a little diner that has been essentially untouched by time and meets...nay, EXCELS in each of the above 5 categories.  If that picture at the top is making you drool, you have to go.  While you're there, be sure to try the chicken sausage (it's usually listed as a special, but they always have it...because it's AWESOME) and the rye bread that's made in house every morning.

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