Friday, July 2, 2010

Breakfast at Ruth's

Yesterday we focused on Ruth Evans and the menu offerings at Ruth's Diner in Salt Lake City. Today, we begin with a brief reference to the diner itself.

Ruth's has recently gone through a $1.2 million remodel, but the front of the modern structure is a 1930's diner. A small waiting room provides some protection from the elements and an opportunity to marvel at the Wurlitzer juke box.

The first aisle past booths and tables provides the evidence of the history of this portion of the building. The curved roof says that this section has proof of its diner heritage.

When we were seated (finally), we were presented with Ruth’s famous Mile High biscuits. These babies are over three inches tall and are light and slightly sweet and both similar to and different from your classic Southern biscuit. And they are especially good with some of the raspberry jam that is on every table. As I am wont to do, I kept spying on what other diners had ordered. I could quickly determine that portion size were colossal. With that in mind, I kept telling Chuck that I needed to stop eating my biscuit or I would be too full for breakfast. By the time my breakfast arrived the biscuit was gone.

Both of us ordered from “The Lighter Side” (ha) of the menu. Chuck chose the Pecan Cinnamon Roll French toast plus a side of hash browns, and for me it was the Banana Walnut French Toast with a side of sausage. My French toast came as three half-inch thick slices that had been dipped in a vanilla egg batter. This would have been great banana bread by itself, but when egg was dipped and grilled, it became heaven and was thick with chopped walnut pieces. I usually prefer pecans to walnuts, but banana bread is the exception. There is something about the taste balance of bananas and walnuts that can’t be equaled. The egg batter gave the bread a light crust and the additional sliced bananas and larger walnut pieces on top only intensified the flavor. And the bread soaked up the warm maple syrup and butter.

I knew that I was going to regret eating that whole biscuit. I only managed to eat half of the serving, but the leftovers, when reheated in the oven the next morning, tasted as good as the original breakfast the day before. The peppery sausage patties were good but were standard diner fare. Still, a savory was needed to counter-balance all of the sugar.

If my breakfast was delicious, Chuck’s was scrumptious. Two center slices from giant pecan cinnamon rolls were dipped in the same vanilla egg batter and grilled. The grilling process caramelized the roll’s sugar and left a very thin crisp crust. And with the French toast came lemon cream cheese instead of plain butter. With the warm maple syrup, the lemon cream cheese, and the cinnamon from the roll, this was a party for the mouth.

His side of potatoes was interesting and were a cut that I have never seen in an order of hash browns. They were very small and very thin matchsticks with peel still on both ends of the stick. Mixed in with the potato was a small amount of diced onion. Not so much onion that their flavor predominated but enough to give you a small hint of onion. But I did think that the order should have been fried longer to develop a crisp crust. I know. These are his potatoes and not mine. But they still should have been crisper.

Had we found breakfast utopia? Maybe, but some place had supplanted Ruth’s as Salt Lake City’s Best Breakfast. We needed to find it.

Since we had the opportunity to compare the top two locations for breakfast, we wanted to withohold awarding Addies until both had been visited.

Tomorrow, the results of head-to-head breakfast competition between the two leaders.

No comments: