Whew. Are you exhausted as I am after that last SNL post? Heading into this day (Sunday for those of you keeping track), I knew I’d be facing a little dilemma. The only holiday I could find to celebrate on this day, February 12th, was National Plum Pudding Day. That would be something I would normally be pretty excited about. It’s a food I have heard about in song and in lore but have never actually seen or tasted it. It seems pretty festive. However, plum pudding is a bit of an English thing and not very common here in the States. Beyond that, it’s kind off a Christmas thing too so your typical baker would not carry it in February. I found a few recipes online, but I knew I would be in New York for the day and would have no time to make it at home. My last hope for celebrating plum pudding would be to find some exotic food store in New York that specializes in English treats, but they only one I could find was down in the Village. We were Midtown. I had to come to terms with the fact that plum pudding was not going to happen, at least on this day.
To keep my quest of celebrating every day going, I sought out something that was being celebrated throughout the month that I could celebrate on Sunday. I discovered that February is National Hot Breakfast Month. That was something I could do. I love breakfast, especially hot breakfast. I love going out for breakfast, especially when we are on a trip. And I love discovering tasty new places to eat breakfast. This was going to be a win. That was my plan as we headed into New York on Saturday. We went to Saturday Night Live that night and ended up getting back to our hotel around 2 in the morning. We were both pretty excited still from seeing the show and we probably didn’t fall asleep until 45 minutes later. Our check out time was at noon, so we knew we could sleep in but we ended up waking up at about 9 am. Lola was not feeling so great. I think the chicken gyro with hot sauce we got from the street vendor may have been a bad choice. She was nauseous and thought she actually might have that stomach bug that’s going around. The thought of going out for breakfast wasn’t really a priority for her, and understandably so. She could barely sip her coffee (that’s when you know she’s not feeling well). Also, when we looked at the weather, it looked like it was pretty crappy out. Snow, sleet and rain – never the best for driving home. We felt like the weather would keep getting worse too. That’s when we decided we should just head home. It was the right decision because we didn’t want to get stuck in the city. Plus Lola would feel better once we reached the comforts of home. I grabbed a cup of coffee for the road, we got in our car and hit the FDR south to start our journey home.
Heavy snow was forecasted for Boston, New Hampshire and parts north that would start on Sunday and end at some point on Monday. Connecticut and Rhode Island weren’t supposed to get that much snow but they would see a lot of rain mixed with freezing rain. Plus it was going to be very windy. That’s what we were driving home in, and just for fun, it decided to snow from time to time too. We must have hit the roads at the beginning of the storm because they were not plowed well. I made the mistake of choosing to go home the Hutchinson/Merritt Parkway and not take 95. The Hutch seems not to be a priority of the NY or CT DOT. The going was slow. I don’t think we drove past 45 miles per hour until we reached New Haven, and even then we never went faster than 55. The going was slow but steady, and then suddenly you’d come across a spot where a car jumped the embankment. We must have seen a dozen cars off the road. The slippery spots were hidden within the slush on the roads and would attack without warning. At one point near Norwalk, when we were driving at a crawl because of an accident on the side of the road, the car behind us crashed into us. Crashed is too harsh a description. Bumped would be more accurate, but it jarred us. We pulled over to check it out and thankfully all looked ok, but it could have been worse. It was just nasty driving. We eventually merged onto I-95 in Milford, CT and once we hit that, the road seemed slightly more maintained. Slightly. We stopped to go to the bathroom at the rest area there. I was hungry, but the line at the restaurants were ridiculous, so we just stopped to pee and got back on the road. It took us about 3 hours to make it that far. The going got a little better, although every few miles, traffic would slow and you could just feel the roads getting more slippery. Getting over the Quinnipiac Bridge in New Haven was a mile-marker for me. I knew if we made it there, we’d be halfway home. If it was still crazy, we’d start thinking about stopping for the night. However, we decided to march on. When we got to Guilford, I was super hungry, so I pulled off the road to a McDonald’s that I knew was right off the exit. Lola was still feeling queasy and didn’t want to push it. I ordered an Egg McMuffin and started back on our journey.
This was my celebration of hot breakfast. Sometimes all this celebrating isn’t as glamorous as it seems. But this did the trick. I think even celebrating hot breakfast with a breakfast sandwich in the middle of the day is a nod to the awesomeness of a good, hot breakfast. Breakfast all day at MCDonald’s has actually helped them slow their declining sales. It’s been a huge boost to their business, and the answer was there all along. My usual McDonald’s breakfast sandwich is the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit, but I decided on the McMuffin today. I’m not a huge fan of the meat they use in their breakfast sandwiches. The bacon in the biscuit is usually thin, greasy and artificial tasting. The Canadian bacon in the McMuffin is too thick and unnaturally chewy. But the rest of the sandwich is usually great. As I’ve said before, breakfast is great at any time. Even going 50 miles an hour on a sloppy highway. (Restauranteurs take note: Sloppy Highway should be the name of a breakfast sandwich.)
The roads had gotten a little better and the snow had given away to mostly rain. Every once and a while it would shift suddenly, so I had to stay alert the whole way home. At one point near New London, there was somebody driving in the middle lane that was speeding along at 5 miles per hour and that was causing all kinds of troubles, but when we passed them, my heart went out to the driver who was probably just sacred to death. When we made it to Rhode Island, I told Lola we made it through Connecticut. When we got off the exit, I said we made it through 95. When we drove the long winding way down Route 138 to the Newport Bridge, I announced we made it to the bridges, and we made it over that, I said we were almost home. There was a spot in between the Jamestown and the Newport bridges that was super slippery and when we hit it, it jolted me into being super vigilant for the rest of the ride home. But soon enough, we were heading down the street and we could see our driveway. We had made it home in a mere six hours. I peeled my fingers off the steering wheel, unpacked and went inside.
I suppose I could have made hot breakfast for dinner that night too but I was done. We ordered take out, ate it up and then got lost in the Grammy Awards. I’m always up to pay tribute to the greatest of a good hot breakfast, and I will continue to keep it up throughout the month, but that was enough celebrating for me. Stick a fork in me. I was done. It took some years off my life, but given where we had come from and what we had seen, I’m still sticking with the the thought that it was well worth it. A rough ride is a small price to pay for reaching one of your bucket list goals. You know, that McMuffin just may be the one breakfast I remember for a long time. That’s a helluva celebration indeed.
Next Up: National Tortellini Day