Full Complement

Bread Alone, NY: “We think by feeling. What is there to know?”

I HAVE been sadly remiss in joining in the documentation of The Great American Breakfast Quest. I certainly have had my fair share of amazing breakfasts in the past several months, but have not been faithful to my quester status. A shame, I say, a shame….

But no longer….

So, to re-enter the fray I will tell the tale of a breakfast brunch. There is something so special about brunch: lazy weekend days, taking our wakings slow, and tantalizing the tastebuds. For my mom, a woman who has eaten the same breakfast everyday for as along as I can remember, brunches are most definitely a treat.

We (my sister Claire, my mother, and I) decided that this year we would celebrate my mom’s birthday in upstate NY. Claire has recently moved into her first apartment in the tiny town of Red Hook and it was on a rainy Saturday that we all converged and headed out to the next town over, Rhinebeck. After some debate we chose Bread Alone over another equally tempting option (Another Fork in the Road).

The decor is a warm red and there are nice, solid wooden tables lining the walls. This is a place for fall afternoon cups of endless coffee and rainy day brunches. The heat had been unbearable the day before but the gray morning brought the wet cool of late summer showers–making the enjoyment of the brunch that more possible.

We all opted for pots of tea.  The tea was blended in the small town of Millerton by a family owned tea shop Harney and Sons. I had the simple breakfast of over-easy eggs, toast, and morning potatoes. The toast was a chewy dense whole grain smeared with fresh creamy butter and the morning potatoes has been fried with rosemary and red and yellow bell peppers to add some sweetness and earthy muskiness to your standard homefry. The eggs were done perfectly with the yolk spilling out from the thin white skin in a cascade of deep orange-y yellow. My mom had the Toad in the Hole–perhaps the more fun way of eating over-easy eggs. Claire chose the special omelette of the day: fresh scallions with melted brie. The scallions were sauteed just enough to sweeten them but not enough to take away their sharp, fresh, green bite. Claire’s boyfriend ordered the Bread Basket–a selection of muffins, scones, croissants, and toast from the bakery. The Bread Basket is an option I would love to see on more menus–there is something delighful about having a whole basket of bread, pastry, and butter presented to you.

We sat for a couple of hours lingering over our pots of tea, stories of the past several months, and snatching bites from each others plates. The wait-staff was patient and let us be.

When the last sweet crumbs of blueberry muffin and lick of butter had been consumed, Claire and I gave our mother her presents and sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.

Then it was time to push back our chairs, give a big sigh of contentment and head out into the watery light of mid-morning.

So, if you are ever in Rhinebeck, NY and are hankering after simple, well-done breakfasts, turn your feet to Bread Alone.

Quest on, quest on.

-D

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