Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Better Way…

to start your visit to a new area than with a hearty breakfast?

Like three-quarters of the campgrounds/RV parks we have visited, our current park in Fort Collins, CO, gives you on arrival a brochure with the campground site map. Also included are the parks rules and regulations (most dealing with proper pet owner behavior) and ads for local businesses and services (most of an RV repair nature).

In this brochure, we found an ad for Vern’s Place, a gas station, liquor store, souvenir shop, general store, bakery, and café. A quick Google indicated that Vern’s is known for its breakfasts and the giant cinnamon roll.

So, on our first day, it was off to Vern’s. “Vern’s Place is the epitome of country café cooking. Vern’s has been a family tradition of those enjoying the Great Outdoors since 1946. The old western style wood exterior complete with carved Grizzly Bear pillars makes it a landmark that is hard to miss.... When you walk in to seat yourself, there is wildlife of all kinds covering the wood-paneled walls; bears, a buffalo head, bobcats, ducks, fish and more, all mounted making for a taxidermist’s wild dream. Once we found a spot…my husband’s first words were ‘This reminds me of North Dakota’ (where he was born and raised)” (feastingfortcollins.com).

The breakfast menu wasn’t overly long but did offer chicken fried steak and eggs, steak and eggs, eggs Benedict, omelets, French toast, plate-sized pancakes, breakfast burrito with green chile, a breakfast sandwich, and our choices, which are not listed here.

But first for the giant cinnamon roll. Giant it was and fresh from the oven. So fresh that I thought it to be a bit doughy. Chuck didn’t. So famous are these that there is a dessert version described by Fran Farris at 8z.com: “Ready for a sticky challenge? Try tackling the famous cinnamon roll sundae at Vern's Place…It's ginormous! Sweet!”

My breakfast choice was the half order of biscuits and gravy with a side of hash browns. Good—not great—sausage gravy was ladled over two exemplary biscuit halves. The gravy had absorbed enough sausage flavor so that I wasn’t eating bland white sauce with occasional sausage bits. The biscuit was excellent. Perhaps one of the best biscuits in more than a year. And the hash browns were crisp and crusty—just as I requested.

But it was Chuck who hit the breakfast jackpot with the LaPorte Scramble (Vern’s is located in LaPorte, CO). On a base of skin-on home fries were piled a mass of scrambled eggs, ham, onion, and bell pepper, which was then covered with shredded cheese. If they had stopped there, this would have been a very good breakfast plate.

But Vern’s went one step further with a small dish of green chile to spoon over the eggs, et al. This was delicious and contained shreds of pork along with chopped tomato and—of course—medium hot green chiles. If New Mexico green chile can at times be a blazing inferno, this green chile was a smoldering ember.

Vern’s Place is loved by generations of local diners. “You know what is the most interesting thing about Vern's? It's been there a long time and still is the same. I mean that in a great way, too. When my mother was growing up, her family had a cabin up the Poudre Canyon. So whenever they went up to the cabin they would stop at Vern's on their way. She always had fond memories because of that. So, when I was growing up, my parents would take my sisters and me to Vern's. And so the story goes, because I introduced my husband to it a few years ago. Hopefully, it will still be around when we have kiddos of our own. Then we can make more memories there” (Cindy Collins, Yahoo! Contributor Network).

Well fortified by our 4.5 Addie breakfast, we set forth to run errands.

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