Sometimes a big greasy breakfast brunch is the crowning moment of a busy weekend.
At least last week it was. The craving had started a few weeks ago. My boyfriend suggested we go to Waffle House, but once we drove there, he realized that location was actually a Denny’s. How can you get the two of those confused? That morning Denny’s had a line, so we found another nearby diner (Deerwood just doesn’t disappoint), but my waffle craving was not satisfied. A full week went by.
But now my breakfast dreams would be fulfilled. The boyfriend, his roomie and I piled into the Corolla (nicknamed “Champ”) for a breakfast feast. I could practically taste the hash browns and endless coffee cups. It was 11 am and I hadn’t had coffee yet. It was way past due. We headed down Baymeadows, past the Denny’s bogey and on to the real McCoy. Waffles were waiting for us just a few miles under the 95 overpass and down the road.
A Full House & A Fast Wait
It was a bustling morning at the diner. We sat in the tiny waiting area hoping a table would clear soon as our tummies grumbled. Mine, did, at any rate. Not sure that I can speak for my compadres. Even the counter seats were packed. Some of the guests were literally spilling out of their seats and I wondered if the barstools would hold. I went in search of a menu. I found a syrupy sticky one on the counter and sat down to ponder my order. So many options! I wanted them all.
I wanted to start the day smothered, chunked, diced, peppered, covered and topped. Give me all the hash browns you got, stat. This girl’s hungry.
One jukebox song later, an employee pointed us to a table. It was a sort of grab this table before someone else does, first come, first serve vibe. Chaos ruled the trenches of this tiled waiting area. A baby cried in the background and a family laughed with syrup-fueled glee. Yes, it was good to be hungry on this fine morning. It might be a hot Florida September outside, but the AC in this town could almost make you believe it was actually fall.
Our eyes feasted on menu options. It was two sided! But my friend wanted more. He requested for a perhaps unabridged menu? The friendly waitress wearing the smiley face sticker name tag told him, that no there was not a longer one, but the whisked to the other side of the restaurant to grab a small menu insert of specials. Perhaps that would suffice.
“Would Anyone Like Coffee?”
We all asked for coffees. My first sip in the small ceramic cup was pure bliss. I added 3 creams and sugar was merely another option. I relished the bite of that drab sort of coffee that lives and breathes on black burners and drips into glass globes of joy with brown spouts. (That orange spout blasphemy I won’t even mention). I cooled my caffeinated quest for dehydration and alertness with a glass of their finest ice water. Then I returned to the task of letting my eyeballs forage the text for my breakfast treat.
Neither of my friends ordered waffles. Monsters. Did they know where we were? My boyfriend chose some sort or breakfast burger type sandwich. A patty melt maybe. Not something I would choose, although last time I tried his, I almost regretted not ordering the same. So savory! But no, I wanted waffles and hashbrowns. Anything else would be extra. I felt I should give protein a nod so I ordered some scrambled eggs. Besides syrup and ketchup make a nostalgic egg sauce when it all smatters together on a plate. I went for smothered and peppered, because every verb was 50 cents a pop. Our orders were in and it was time to sip on coffee and wait.
The table had a nice veneer of cleaning product and syrup. Something that reassured us that a rag had run over it since the last guest, but you knew they definitely had syrup for the last few centuries of meals at this table. The lasts guests left syrup and even left their tip at the table, as a few bucks stared at us in homage to the saccharine sunrise meal. Our waitress wore a Jaguars jersey, filling us with a stronger sense of Jacksonville flavor. It was time for family breakfast outside the house and the line cooks were arms distance and ready to nod hello. A plate crashed across the room but didn’t shatter. The unbreakable spirit of the diner kept one solid piece.
“Extra Creamer and 2 To-Go Boxes”
Our food arrived at the wonderful rate of two plates per person. The table was armed and loaded with hot sauce, ketchup, syrup, butter and jelly. Let the games begin. I started my attack with a butter layer. Sometimes I put the tiniest bit of syrup, practically salting the checkerboard dough. Not today. I drizzled a bit then let the little syrup pitcher just drool all over plate. Then I took a bite of the salty potatoes and spicy jalapenos. Spicy, then sweet. And back and forth. I had half the food still left for my take home spoils. It all went by so fast. My friends finished their plates and were ready to take their yellow bills to the register. I wanted two more sips of coffee, then we were off to pay.
We went back to the tiled waiting area with our bellies full, receipts in hand. Adele played on the jukebox. We trickled out into the sun humming, You know how time flies, only yesterday was the time of our lives…