Sunday, April 26, 2009

Some Rules are Meant to be Broken

Well, I may have to take back what I said in my last post. Or, at least, I may have to expand my dining horizons.

When we thought we might need to drive eight miles up the road to Bicknell (population 353) to retrieve our mail, something about the town tickled my memory. A quick web search reminded me that Bicknell was the home of the Sunglow Motel and Café (sometimes referred to as the Sunglow Family Restaurant), best known for the café’s unusual pies – pinto bean, sweet pickle, buttermilk, and oatmeal still being made from the previous owner’s (Cula Ekker, aka “The Pie Queen”) recipes. But the café is known for more than pie. The restaurant’s breakfasts are equally praised, especially the biscuits and gravy.

We didn’t need to travel to Bicknell for mail after all, but decided that a hearty breakfast would be the right way to start the day. So after stating that I try to avoid motel restaurants, I find myself sitting in a “mom and pop” motel restaurant. But at its core, this café is a small town diner, and some of the best meals we’ve eaten have come from small town diners. This was no exception and may have added yet another to my “Who’da thunk it?” list.

In addition to the biscuits and gravy, the menu contained a variety of omelets, French toast, country fried steak and eggs, pancakes, and egg combinations. But two entries caught our attention. First, the Sunglow Skillet: hash browns topped with ham cubes, cheese, their “soon to be famous” chili verde, two eggs, and a choice of bacon, ham, or sausage. So, while I came for biscuits and gravy, I couldn’t resist the Sunglow Skillet.

My order brought forth a large (very large) portion of hash browns that, while I suspect came frozen from a bag, were cooked crisp. My eggs, over easy as requested, came with the white cooked through (I hate runny egg white) but the yolks still liquid. When cut, the yolks ran like a golden river over and mixed with the potatoes, ham cubes, cheese, and very mild chili verde. I chose the “Texas Smoked” bacon which was delicious, but for my taste, could have been crisper. But these are the things you learn on your first visit to a restaurant.

Mountain Man Chuck saw the Boulder Mountain, the second eye-catcher, named for a 11,317-foot peak along Route 12 (the road we did not take to Torrey). This was two pancakes, two eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausage patties, and hash browns. When his two plates arrived, I asked the waitress how late they would be open thinking that he might need the whole day to finish. But with a little help from me, he managed to put this away in half an hour.

The eggs and sausage were good but not exceptional. The bacon and hash browns mimicked my breakfast. But, Oh!, the pancakes. We agreed that these were the best pancakes of our travels--better than the Groveland Grill, our favorite breakfast spot outside Doylestown, PA; better than Matt’s Big Breakfast in Phoenix; better even than Hill Country Café in Kerrville, Texas. These buttermilk cakes, each eight inches in diameter and maybe a third of an inch high in the center, were light, airy, fluffy, and just soaked in the butter and syrup. So, seeing the mountain of food set in front of him, I sacrificed my waistline to help eat the pancakes. (I’m sooooo good to him!)

So I hereby resolve to no longer be smug about motel restaurants. Not all motel restaurants are created equal.

Sunglow Café earns 4.0 Addies overall, but a 5.0 Addie score for the wonderful pancakes.

We returned to the campground just in time to prepare for a glimpse of winter.

I had photographed this scene of the farm adjacent to the RV Park during my morning walk. I was caught up in the tranquility of the scene as I watched the horses grazing and then happily rolling around the ground.

The scene changed later that day as storm clouds gathered. The wind picked up with gusts reaching 35 mph, and it began to snow. It was snowing horizontally at a good rate.

As we watched it snow, we wondered what the Sunglow's pinto bean pie would taste like.

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