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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

The Search for a Decent Breakfast in Park City, Utah

April 3, 2006

PARK CITY, UTAH— Do Mormons eat breakfast? I’ve been in Utah for four days and still haven’t eaten a decent breakfast.

Granted, this is a ski resort and everything is centered around getting everyone to the top of the mountain as quickly as possible. It is my opinion that it would be a much nicer chair-lift ride to the summit if one had just enjoyed a first-rate breakfast.

I have eaten in four different restaurants on this Spring Break vacation and all four served fake eggs. I hate fake eggs. We have enjoyed almost 20 inches of new snow, but nothing that remotely tasted like breakfast.

My $64 breakfast this morning consisted of fake eggs, freeze-dried hash browns, limp, tasteless bacon, orange juice that tasted like grapefruit juice, and warm milk. (I hate warm milk almost as much as I hate fake eggs). My wife ate yogurt and granola, no harm done, there. My daughter had a fruit crepe that was nothing more than a crepe topped and filled with canned cherry pie filling and my son ate a waffle that tasted like toasted Wonder bread.

There is a universal rule for traveling Southerners: Once one leaves the South, his or her chances of eating a passable breakfast diminishes incrementally with each mile traveled in any direction away from the region.

Utah is a Western state. However, the American West is not devoid of passable breakfasts. I have eaten good breakfasts in Aspen where the Paradise Bakery serves an excellent quiche muffin. Yountville, California is home to a mostly locals diner that serves an extremely memorable breakfast. Nevertheless, avocados belong in guacamole not omelets, so give me a good Dixie breakfast of fried eggs, salty ham, homemade biscuits, and mayhaw jelly any day of the week.

No one can touch the South when it comes to breakfast. Two years ago I ate an early morning meal in a New York restaurant that one national magazine claimed served the nation’s best breakfast. Another publication called it THE place for a New York power breakfast. Folks, I spent an embarrassing amount of money at “The nation’s best breakfast restaurant” and could have been just as happy with my friendly neighborhood Cracker Barrel.

Yesterday a good friend rang my cell and stated that he had just eaten the perfect piece of bacon. He is a preacher and not prone to exaggeration, so when he says he has eaten the “perfect” piece of bacon, I am a believer.

He was traveling in North Carolina and he and his wife had stopped in a local breakfast joint. The bacon was so perfect it warranted a long distance phone call to Utah. I have yet to eat the perfect piece of bacon and have no hopes that I will find it here among the cheap steak houses and sushi restaurants of this ski town (by the way, the coolest sushi restaurant in the world is The Flying Sumo in Park City, Utah).

My friend Carol Daily is a member of the Bacon of the Month Club. She receives a rasher of bacon each month shipped from a different supplier or boutique smokehouse. I am absolutely positive that none of the bacon samples ever come from Utah. Carol, too, has probably eaten the perfect piece of bacon.

It is good to know that my friends have their priorities in order. The folks in Park City, Utah could learn a few lessons from them.

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