Sabra and I recently returned from a trip to Colorado where we ran into a shocking development.
No, I’m not talking about legalized recreational marijuana… yet. I’m talking about brunch. It seems people in the Centennial State rarely eat breakfast or lunch these days but have instead opted to go with brunch.
This is a problem for me, as I am decidedly a three-meals-a-day man. Left to my own biorhythms, I typically awake around 6 a.m., have a light breakfast of cereal and fruit around 7:30 a.m., a lunch of salad around noon, and a dinner of meat and potatoes about 6 p.m. This is the way I’ve been since potty training. For a while, Sabra tried to flip the meals to the “eat like a king for breakfast, queen for lunch and a pauper for supper” modus operandi, but it didn’t work well for me. I want to eat like a king all the time; perhaps I was royalty in a previous life.
Not that I’m totally inflexible. I can postpone breakfast to as late as 8 a.m. if an emergency arises like taking a spouse to the hospital to deliver a baby. Lunch and dinner can also be slid a half-hour in either direction. Outside of these boundaries, however, my stomach and disposition get growly. But while in Denver I try to do like the Denverites do.
“Honey, don’t ruin your appetite this morning because we’re going for brunch,” Sabra chirped cheerfully several times on this last visit. Chirped is a good adverb for how she talks because she eats like a bird.
“When will that be, my little chickadee?” I asked in a lovey-dovey voice, tuned to extra sweet for the benefit of the in-laws. “Oh, you know my love,” she replied with a straight face, “somewhere between ten and two.”
“Ten and two,” I screamed silently to myself. “What kind of sadist puts the first meal of the day somewhere in the range of four hours?” Out loud, however, I said, “Yes my sweetness,” and headed to my suitcase with the stash of kettle-fried potato chips, Slim Jims and Hostess Cupcakes. I call it defensive eating.
It might all be worth it if brunch is brunch like I define it: a buffet of every conceivable food a person might have for breakfast or lunch including, but not limited to eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, potatoes, donuts, sweet rolls, bacon, pancakes, waffles, hamburgers, spaghetti and meatballs, fried chicken, bacon, shrimp, chops, prime rib… Alas, brunch in the mile high city appears to be limited to order-off-the-menu places. And as if that isn’t bad enough, the items on the menu are written in foreign, possibly alien, languages and come in improbably small portions.
One day, for example, we toddled off to the Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder at 1 p.m. Don’t get me wrong, the building– a gift from the people of Tajikistan– and the city of Boulder are spectacular, but the cuisine leaves something to be desired. First off you need a translation to know what you’re ordering. For example, the following items were available: Banh Mi Sandwich, Pain Perdu, Kookoo Sabzi, Palatschinken, Burrata Crostini, Houjicha Noodles, Platto di Formaggi and Pappardelle. I’m not making this up; you can check it out on the Internet.
I went for the Pappardelle because it contained pasta and sausage and nary a word about it being organic, vegetarian or gluten free. (That’s another column: I think all the glutens should be free, or at least free range).
To be fair, the meal was delicious… all four ounces of it. I’ve picked more food out of my teeth after a real meal. I thought about ordering another plate but held off, as I was under the careful eye of my spouse. Instead, I excused myself to the restroom and ate the two bags of cashews I’d squirreled away in either pocket.
In other words, I didn’t have the balls to order more off the menu but I did have the nuts.