(Photos from a cell phone camera.)
Last weekend, CR offered Saturday breakfast out in the world, and I sleepily pulled myself together, thinking we were going to the usual spot, The Egg and I, which is not far away. Instead, he steered toward the highway and when I asked where we were going, gave me his mysterious little smile and said, “You’ll see.”
The MIP* features breakfasts and one of the things I’ve been in pursuit of is the perfect Cinnamon Raisin Bread. Since I’ve been baking many loaves to find that perfect blend, he knew what was going on, and in his usual brilliantly supportive way, took me to breakfast in a place he knew had not only exquisite cinnamon raisin bread, but also cinnamon raisin bread French toast, made with slices a solid inch and a half thick. Fantastic.
The café is The Pantry in Green Mountain Falls, which is a spit of a little town slapped down in a valley on the way up Ute Pass between Colorado Springs and Woodland Park. It’s picturesque and quaint, with a pond and a gazebo, and trailheads close by. There are weddings in the gazebo, and the café is madly popular. We were there very early, so made it in ahead of the crowds, but even still there were runners in GoreTex and tights, hikers in khakis and fleece and baseball hats, a quadrant of old men who seemed as if they’d been meeting there for fifty years.
Although I was desperately tempted by the cinnmon roll French toast (the house specialty: secret recipe cinnamon rolls split, battered and grilled, served with a heap of others things, like eggs and potatoes and bacon), I stuck with the plan. I didn’t have my big camera, so these are cell phone shots, but you get the idea. Delicious! I asked the waitress if the bread was a secret recipe, and she gave me a smile. “Of course.”
Of course. So I couldn’t have that recipe, but sampling it brought me closer to perfection. The cinnamon is mixed through the bread, and there are lots and lots and lots of raisins (which was my impulse, and I kept pulling back), and the slices are very thick. The beauty is that there is so much flavor in the resulting French toast that you don’t need any syrup. A dusting of powdered sugar is exactly right. Mmmm.
If I were not a writer, that café would be my ideal life. It would be a blast.
Here’s the question of the day: who has absolutely brilliant recipes for cinnamon raisin bread? Or a genuinely stunning French toast batter?
* Manuscript In Progress, or sometimes Mess In Progress and even (rarely, and only for brief, tragic seconds) Masterpiece In Progress