I’m not one to eagerly sit down to breakfast. Yeah, I know what you’re going to say: “But it’s the most important meal of the day!” Hey, you’re right. I know that attempting to traverse the typical work day without partaking of the morning meal is tantamount to consuming a sleeping pill. I know that, at least for me, the day’s tasks are much easier to complete after having eaten something for breakfast, and indeed the absence of hunger pangs makes the morning just fly by. Why, then, do I disdain this meal as I do?
The truth is, I don’t dislike breakfast, not exactly. In addition to understanding its importance, I happen to genuinely enjoy a multitude of breakfast foods: Toast with butter (or better yet, a toasted bagel with cream cheese), hash browns, bacon, ham, sausage (preferably all three), waffles dripping with syrup and powdered sugar, cereal with milk, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
What’s missing? That’s right, eggs. Though I pride myself on my diverse palate and my willingness to try just about anything, the very thought of consuming an egg turns my stomach whether fried, hard-boiled, scrambled, or in an omelet; and my inability to order a satisfying eggless breakfast at a restaurant has made going out to breakfast about as fun as shoveling the walkway while it’s still snowing out, and twice as frustrating.
Typically, when I go out for breakfast, I find myself ordering lunch. Though I may be in the mood for hash browns, bacon and toast, it’s easier to get a sandwich than to ask every member of my party if they’d like my eggs, negotiate some sort of substitution for my them without being cheated by the restaurant, or assemble my ideal meal from relatively-pricey side dishes. And though I do like pancakes, whenever I’m about halfway through with my short stack I find that I enjoy them less than I thought I did.
In December Katie and I took a trip to Washington. We managed to catch an early morning flight, arriving around nine o’clock. We rented a car and set off on a forty-minute drive to the home of some friends we were staying with. While driving on State Route 522 we decided to stop for breakfast. After a couple miles with no suitable dining options we happened upon a modest white edifice; a yellow and white sign welcomed us to Jays’ Café, and we eagerly turned into the parking lot.
Once inside, we were greeted immediately by a friendly hostess who led us to a spacious booth. Although it was a Saturday morning the restaurant wasn’t crowded. However, the restaurant was sufficiently occupied to assure us that we hadn’t made a bad choice.
The menu was encouraging; in addition to the standard assortment of breakfast dishes, Jay’s offered a multitude of sandwiches, burgers and entrees typical of a roadside diner. I briefly considered a chicken sandwich, but instinct was calling me toward the breakfast menu. I ultimately settled on a side order of ham and a side order of hash browns. Half a slice of wheat toast taken from Katie’s plate (with her permission, naturally) completed this small but satisfying meal.
(Apologies for the out-of-focus shot above; I’d left my camera in the car and had to use my cell phone.)
In addition to a great meal, we were pleased with Jay’s prices. I suspect that Jay’s Café isn’t significantly less expensive than a comparable eatery in Washington State, but when you’re used to California prices, you notice when you get a particularly good deal when dining out. All told, our bill came to less than fifteen dollars including orange juice. With a generous tip to reflect superior service, we still paid less than we would have for a similar breakfast (before the tip) back home.
Should you ever find yourself on the northern shore of Lake Washington seeking decent food and a homey atmosphere, you could do worse than to stop at Jay’s Café, located at 7520 NE Bothell Way, Kenmore, WA 98028.