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For some reason, I love staying in hotels. Not just a nice hotel, but literally any hotel. I’ve stayed at a La Quinta and a 5-star hotel this year; loved them both. There’s a fond bit of nostalgia that comes with them, that feeling that brings me back to traveling for baseball in my youth.
There’s another part of hotels I love. To quote Ron Swanson “I never turn down a free breakfast buffet.” He may have been talking about an offering at a strip club, but I’m here talking about that continental breakfast that’s available from 6:30 to 9:00. Get me to that lobby and get me eating.
However, I’m well aware that not all hotel breakfasts are created equal. Sometimes you’re presently surprised when you walk into the lobby on your first morning of the stay and see a respectable spread, but more often than not, you know that what you’re getting is going to fall into these ascending tiers.
Processed Carbs Only
You roll out of bed, brush your teeth and run a hand through your hair. Sweatshirt, sweatpants, slip on shoes and head to the lobby. No reason to give your all to look presentable this morning, because breakfast isn’t giving its all either.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and at this place you got what you paid for. The bar showcasing the breakfast offerings is bleaker than 1945 Berlin. There’s a two-shelf plastic container that contains still in the wrapper chocolate and blueberry (maybe banana nut if you really get lucky) muffins. These babies are available in bulk at your local grocery store and have 3x the recommended daily value of sugar. You could grab one of these babies and throw it in your bomb shelter when you get home; there’s enough preservatives in this thing to keep it good forever.
Don’t worry, not just muffins here though. You’ve got your choice of toasting rock-hard bread or rock-hard bagels. Oh, and is that a bowl of fruit in the corner? Sure is. Apples that look fake and bananas that won’t be anything but a bright shade of green for at least two weeks. Well, at least the room only cost $55 and the coffee isn’t terrible (although after a few sips you confirm that the coffee is indeed not good).
Bacon & Eggs?
Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the breakfast table of a farmhouse. The steam rises from your freshly poured cup of coffee. Your plate of bacon and eggs sits before you. The eggs are a perfect yellow color with clearly melt-in-your-mouth consistency while the bacon is that ideal mix of crispy but also with a salty tenderness.
Open your eyes. You’re sitting on a thin cushioned chair at a plastic table in a Milwaukee hotel. Your coffee is almost drinkable after being poured into your cup at a completely implausible 4,691 degrees. You look down at your Styrofoam plate. The eggs that are staring back at you look like they were made from a mixture of paper-mache and horse spit. They’re solid but there’s somehow more liquid than egg in each bite. The bacon has the consistency of thin plastic and tastes like grease with a hint of salt.
There’s other less than inspiring options, too. Could always opt for some yogurt or one of the four cereals they’ve got for you, ready to be doused in some milk that isn’t quite cold enough for comfort. Still, you count your blessings because at least there’s more than muffins or toast.
Wait, This Costs Money?
What am I, a fucking Rockefeller? I just spent $140 on a room because every other wedding guest was, now you want me to drop $12 on breakfast? For shame! Sure those eggs look like they’re actually decent and I could go for a massive plate of roasted potatoes, but no sir, I’ll be telling everyone I slept past breakfast and spending $5 on fast food, thank you very much. You lose the convenience factor, but it’s a matter of principle. We all know this breakfast isn’t worth $12 outside of this establishment.
“Then He Took Us In The House To Serve Us Pancakes… Pancakes.”
Prince might not have just whipped your ass in basketball and brought you back to his house to eat pancakes, but at this hotel you’re eating anyways, and life is pretty decent. One really can’t complain when your hotel is serving you both sweet and savory. Pancakes that taste a bit like paper or decrepit pieces of French Toast are still winners with a little butter and syrup.
They might even have one of those machines where you press a button and out comes a pancake in two minutes. Pretty sweet. I mean the cake has no taste but it’s a nice touch. The eggs and meat are probably still meh (the sausage might look like flattened tumors) but now you’re flush with options.
Waffle Maker Present
This tier and above is STRONG. Anytime you stroll downstairs and hear the shrill beeps letting someone know that it’s time to come flip the waffle maker over because their 3-minute wait is up and they’ve got a crispy and golden brown plate of delicious to tear into. Before Texans fill the comments with “Gotta be a Texas-shaped waffle maker, yeehaw” I’m pretty sure you get less waffle in those. Regardless, if there’s waffles, get a waffle.
Real Bacon & Eggs
They’re not as good as the ones you make in the comfort of your own home, but these bacon ad eggs get the job done. The eggs at least look like they’re from a real chicken and the bacon actually has a crunch, as opposed to having to be ripped out of your teeth like you’re eating a Fruit By The Foot.
For a bonus, if the bacon and eggs are coming to play ball, most likely there’s a serving dish of potatoes that can scrape at least a B-, maybe a B+ if they’ve shelled out for peppers and onions. Hell, even the coffee is pretty decent here. An all-around solid breakfast.
Motherfucking Holiday Inn Express Cinnamon Rolls
My college baseball team usually celebrated like we won a national championship (partly because we didn’t win much else) when we rolled up to a Holiday Inn Express for the weekend. These cinnamon rolls fuck, plain and simple. Even as an adult with a metabolism that isn’t what it used to be and a conscious effort to watch what I eat, if your boy rolls into a HIE for the weekend, I’m scarfing cinnamon rolls like my life depends on it. If you know, you know. And if you don’t, you need to know. .