If I had to choose my favorite meal of the day, it would be "snunch," the snack I eat in between dinner and lunch, usually consisting of something in a bag I buy while running errands. If you want to get technical, though, "snunch" doesn't quite constitute a meal. In which case, breakfast wins for my most-loved mealtime.
How can you not like breakfast? You can get something sweet or savory, in portions that are almost always hearty; the side items alone are worth waking up for, and coffee pairs perfectly with all dishes. It's like heaven—on a plate and with syrup.
But after returning from being out of town last weekend, I've been unable to consistently feed myself breakfast or any other meal at home. I haven't had time to go to the grocery store; the produce I purchased pre-trip seems suspect, and the milk will have to work even harder to disprove its foulness. So when I woke up this morning, starving but feeling guilty about once again spending $9-$15 on brunch, I was relieved to remember the diner down the street's breakfast special. Everybody wins! It wasn't until I settled into the comfy booths at Plymouth Restaurant and Bar that I truly understood the extent of its bargains.
On Monday to Friday from 6 to 11 a.m., the eatery offers several $3.99 deals, including a Belgian waffle, potato pancakes with applesauce, three buttermilk pancakes with bacon or sausage and a variety of egg dishes. All come with unlimited coffee.
I considered the giant Four Deuces meal—two eggs, two pancakes, two bacon strips and two sausages— except I wanted the feast without the meat, and the last time I stopped in, the kitchen wasn't too keen on substitutions. Instead I opted for a tasty vegetarian omelet, loaded with broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach and onions, and prepared with egg whites for no extra charge.
This wasn't a cheap meal that skimped on size. The staggering mass of eats, two pieces of thick wheat toast, a sizeable omelet and hash browns that covered half the plate (but could have been crisped a bit more), bowled me over. Had I not picked the hash browns and toast, I would've received pancakes or grits. And while I don't even really know what grits are, I'm sure Plymouth dishes out a hefty portion of the mysterious mash.
For the price, I would have overlooked a less-than-clean interior with the ambience of a Denny's, but the diner actually proved to be a nice hangout. Framed photos of the city hung on the walls of the clean space, and its noise level (consisting mostly of easy-listening music, including "Maniac" from the Flashdance soundtrack) stayed low enough that you could easily engage in conversation or read a book.
The service took a turn after my food came, a slight setback to an otherwise enjoyable experience. I'm sure the staff was prepping for the lunch crowd, but I never got a coffee refill and waited a half hour for my check, which I had to ask a busboy for. I can't complain, though, when my bill totaled just $4.40, especially when the enormous meal left me with more than half of it to take home. And you know what that means: one less meal to plan.
Erin Brereton is our resident urban cowgirl on a bi-weekly search for life on the cheap. If you know of the mythic happy hour that she missed, do clue her in.