Thursday, October 23, 2008
Vermont: River Run
Bacon and eggs worthy of a Saveur cover.
After a hang at the bakery, the three of us are on our way to the town of Plainfield for a little breakfast. Amidst the construction of new street curbs is River Run, a small bar restaurant that caters mostly to locals in this small Vermont town. Ray and I don't notice it but the place stops when the three of us steps in. Gesine notices but I need a jukebox screeching to a halt to let me know that the locals have taken a notice to our motley crue of German, Japanese and Filipino ancestries. Happily, I don't hear the Deliverance theme playing in the background.
Things settle down as we take our table and our waitress brings us a round of drinks. It's coffee, orange juice and water all the way around. The menu here is varied but looks pretty tasty. There are two blackboards mounted to the wall, one for breakfast and the other for lunch. It's past 11am so lunch would be the order of the day but we still haven't eaten a proper breakfast yet.
Grits with cheddar cheese and jalapenos.
While the three of us love food and love to eat, there's a bit of a conspiracy going on. No one is willing to share grits. Evidently, they're that good here. I hoard one for myself with cheddar and chopped jalapeno peppers. Again, it's on the bland side. I start to worry again.
Seems like this whole trip has been one unseasoned experience after another and I'm still worried that maybe it's not the food but just me and my deteriorating taste buds. Am I losing my sense of taste? They assure me I'm not.
Everybody eats grits.
After a very liberal application of salt, the grits start to come to life. They're nicely cooked but could use more butter. A lot more butter would be ideal. Stir, stir, stir and mix the cheese and jalapeno and the grits become nicely rounded. Cheese and grits - what more could you ask for? Add the slight zing of jalapenos and you've got a winner.
But there's more to explore on the menu than just grits and that's the problem: there's a lot I'd like to explore. Like the bacon. And the sausage. And the fish. Oh, just give us the lot. Unfortunately, that's not possible and we have to narrow it down to just a couple of choices.
Fried catfish with poached eggs and bacon.
One thing that always annoys me about breakfast joints is their combination plates. So many great items but they're never together in the combination that you want them to be. Yes, I'd like grits and pancakes and french toast in one dish - is that too much to ask for? Do I need to always be financially penalized for a well-rounded sample from the kitchen?
Really though, it's not like I want to eat all of it. I just want a taste. A bite or two to know and understand the flavors they're presenting. Luckily, dining with friends lends the ability for a variety of tastes without having to order enough to feed Attila The Hun. I want to taste the catfish. Ray's ordered the fried catfish and I'm hoping he'll offer a bite. Gesine's ordered bacon and eggs and I've got those on my plate so I'm cool there.
For myself, I want a classic breakfast. I want pancakes with grits and Canadian bacon and eggs over easy. Our waitress cautions and asks if I want the full order of pancakes. The full order is three pancakes, which she says is a lot. Now is the moment of truth. Do I throw caution to the wind and order the full serving, ensuring that I'll moan and groan uncomfortably for the next two hours while my tummy digests all of King Arthur's Flour?
Or do I order smartly and get one pancake for the flavor and balance the meal out with the rest? Order Smart or order Stupid. Time to take bets.
Pancake, Canadian bacon and eggs over easy.
In the end, I go for the single pancake and it's the right move. Just one for a taste is all that I desire. The pancake itself is good. Slightly overcooked and crispy in spots but good nonetheless. The little pat of butter is a bit pathetic though and I wish for more. Smother the pancake with Vermont maple syrup and all is good.
The eggs are good but even better slathered with Tabasco. The Canadian bacon is good as well. What else can I say? The meal was a good one spent with great friends. What more can one ask for in life?
River Run Restaurant
65 Main Street
Plainfield, VT 05667