This was not brunch. It was too early for brunch. This was breakfast, pure and simple. OK, pure. Because, believe me, when faced with a stainless-and-sneeze-guarded, two-sided, burgeoning and bounteous, scrupulously replenished, hot-and-cold breakfast bar stretching to the vanishing point of your appetite's horizon, such a meal will not be simple. One plate or two? Three trips or four? Bagel, toast and Danish or Danish, Danish and Danish? Fresh fruit with sugar, fresh fruit with honey or sugar with honey? Napkin or sleeve?
Most tempting was the gauntlet of hot pork products — bacon, Canadian bacon, French Separatist bacon, sausage patties (mild), sausage links (spicy), sausage cones (spicy in the ribald sense), sausage gravy (viscous or extra-viscous), ham steaks, ham jerky, ham tartare, ham Diane and osso hammo.
Together, their porcine perfumes wafted, lingered, merged into an odoriferous mosaic laden with airborne fat molecules which, with my every inspiration, swept into my nasal passages and stickily adhered to my nose hairs, thereby causing the delicate cilia to cling to the nostril walls thus clearing the final impediment to a swift, pure and, yes, devastating blast of commingled pig being delivered directly to the pleasure centers of my brain.
Taste-wise, I found the links disappointing.
At around noon, I headed out to lunch with the gang. Since it was Tuesday, we went to Wok-a-billy for their all-you-care-to-eat Chinese/Down Home Cookin' buffet. A quick review of the heaping steam trays told me my stirring midday hunger would soon be smothered dead. Taking a plate in my left hand, I put my right to work spooning, forking and tonging from the eclectic array: moo goo gai pan-fried perch, General Tso's chicken-fried chicken, Sloppy Maos, shoo-flyed rice, dim possum, egg fu BBQ, Lulu May's Szechwan Spam hash, Pa's pepper-steak-hold-the-damn-peppers and, for roughage, stir-fried baby corns served with their full-sized boiled and buttered parents. With the bill, we each received a complimentary fortune cookie stuffed with a peach cobbler à la mode.
Later, back at work, I chugged a Diet Coke to keep me awake till quitting time.
On the phone, Marcia and I agreed we wanted dinner to be laid back, casual. Agreeing on a cuisine was more troublesome. So, to cover all the culinary bases, we decided to meet at Feed Your Habit, the "smorgasbord with a different dish for each one of your 10,000 taste buds." Our choice proved wise.
One full wing of the buffet was stocked with fresh, healthy salads, including my favorites, Jell-O, Waldorf, marshmallow, ham and non-vegetarian creamy coleslaw. A second section held side dishes (conveniently sub-divided into "Potato-Based," "Cheese-Topped" and "Butter-Drenched" groupings). A third was crowded with entrées, both domesticated and hunted down. Breads had their own annex. But it was the specialty and "do-it-yourself" areas that really made our evening: The PastaPlex, The Baked Potato Bottomless Toppings Bazaar, The Pizza Gorgery, La Fiesta de Àcido Refluxo (the taco/burrito/nacho area), and, of course, the Super Self-Serve Soft-Serve Ice Cream-o-torium.
By meal's end, I was in such a fine mood, I tipped the busboy a dollar.
Outside, I walked Marcia to her car, gave her a tongue-laced kiss goodnight (ironically, not long before, I'd had a tongue-laced double-decker at the buffet's D-I-Y Deli) and watched her drive off. Time for home and sleep, I thought, heading to my own car. But no. It seemed I had a problem.
Funny, I thought, the Tercel fit me this morning.