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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Delicious Bargain 

Why isn't she smiling? Maybe she hasn't had breakfast yet?

The editorial desk of Clarion has long held that if there were any one meal that we recommended being a "regular" for it was breakfast. Now that is not a regular in the sense of eating breakfast daily, though surely we recommend that as an element of good health. No rather, we mean in the restaurant/bar sense of the word "regular." It is a milieu where being a "regular" implies being a familiar, weekly, if not almost daily customer of a given establishment. There is a relationship, they know you and you know them. Jack Nicholson was wonderfully portrayed an extremely difficult restaurant regular in "As Good as Gets." Many other regulars are more along the lines of Norm in the TV sitcom "Cheers."

The Clarion hasn't had a place where we have both had the desire and the budget to be a regular in a long time. And while we are not a regular yet at this place, we do have a delicious breakfast bargain to recommend that once again has the Clarion thinking about the joys of being a breakfast regular.

The place that brought this to mind is Durham's Parker & Otis. The Clarion will confess that there are numerous personal proclivities that draw us to Pando, as the employees call it. Firstly, it is walking distance from our offices. Second there are free coffee refills. Thirdly is the basic but delicious breakfast that has us thinking about breakfast regulars. The Clarion has always strongly favored the simple and hearty at breakfast. We don't want to think or work too hard, but we do want something to fire up the boiler room and get the body moving. We have long believed in breakfast as an essential metabolism regulator and energy provider.

At Parker and Otis they have found our number, and we theirs with a simple but delicious bargain, the #3. What is the #3 you ask? Two eggs any style, three crispy strips of bacon and a cheddar biscuit. Doesn't sound like much? Ahhh, but it simply kicks ass for $4.99. The eggs are from Latta Family Farm in Hillsborough, NC. The chef clarifies the butter before nailing them just right to order; some at the Clarion favor sunny-side up. The bacon is thickly sliced and applewood smoked. The biscuit is just the right texture and density to match the rich bacon and fresh eggs. The coffee is good, but the clincher is the fresh fruit garnish. Most diners kick you down a piece of stale kale, fast food never heard of a garnish, in faux classy places its a single orange slice. At Parker and Otis, where they care about what you eat, in recent weeks it has been a succulent fresh strawberry and a wedge of juicy pineapple. The coup de grace and the perfect palate cleanser.

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