We’re going to take a look at the place where it all starts today, Breakfast! This is quite possibly my most revered meal of the day, yet also my most ignored one. This is largely owing to the fact that I appreciate sleep more than eating, but that is a very slight preference I admit.
I wont waste anyone’s time blathering on about Cereal, let’s face it, Only Kids eat cereal at breakfast any more it seems, us adults have generally opted to treat it as supper, that 8pm-11pm meal we worked in before that glorious past time called sleep.
In my lead in to this blog I linked pictures of an “American Slam” and a “Full English” both would be universally described as a Fry Up. And I am going to focus on those two today.
In the Red, White and Blue corner of America, we have Denny’s Grand Slam!
For this breakfast you can choose
any FOUR items and make it your own.
Bacon Strips (Two), Buttermilk Biscuit, Chicken Sausage Patty (One), Egg Whites (Two), Eggs (Two), English Muffin, Grits, Hash Browns, Hearty Wheat Pancakes (Two), Oatmeal, Pancakes (Two), Sausage Links (Two), Slices of Toast (Two)
For the sake of argument, and because I am generally predictable, I will follow the picture and choose, 2 eggs, Pancakes, Sausage and Bacon for my slam; with a side of Hash Browns.
In the Britannia Corner with have Little Chef’s Olympic Breakfast
Little Chef’s claim to fame is for breakfast and here’s why (so THEY state). Two crispy back bacon rashers, a pork sausage, two free range griddled eggs, mushroom, sauté potatoes,
fresh tomato and Heinz baked beans. Served with toast or fried bread.
One thing we can universally agree on, is the picture of the food we eat, very rarely is a picture of the food we eat, more like the brain child of what the corporate think tank WANTS us to imagine we are eating. However, Hands down to Denny’s on this one, as their photo’s usually are a pretty accurate representation of the food they serve. 2 Pancakes, Sausage Links, Strips of Bacon, Eggs and a pile of pure evil (aka Hash Browns) is hard to mess up, and Denny’s Delivers. For Little Chef, appeasing the British breakfast taste buds is all about beans. Beans is a difficult item to present well on a plate, and usually overpowers the dish. This is certainly true with the Olympic Breakfast from Little Chef. Beans Beans Beans! As far as the eye can see! Rich tomato bean juice up on the eggs, infiltrating the sauté potatoes its a pink fever sweeping the plate! Too bad little Chef, you started this war on the wrong foot!
Team USA: 4 Kittens out of 5
Team GB: 3 Penguins out of 5
This may be a personal opinion, but I think what makes a breakfast truly appealing is the soft fluffiness of it all. I mean, we just woke up, who can be bothered with extensive tasks like chewing? ewww. Denny’s does the fluff factor brilliantly, the pancakes are soft, the links are smooth, the bacon… is well.. bacon, and eggs pretty much have one consistency, and hard isn’t (or shouldn’t ever be) that. Then we get to the hash browns. Well Done American Cooked Breakfast, you just screwed it all up, and not just Denny’s. Hash Browns are a liability to Breakfast, and the Potato culture. I have had plenty of hash browns and it is usually 1 of 2 scenarios. A. You are consuming a fist full of potato needles, that tear away your throat as you swallow. B. You have an orgy of uncooked/undercooked potato sheds with crunchy edges which is horrible too. Now I LOVE hash brown cakes and tater tots; who ever made hash browns must have been trying to make one of these and just couldn’t be bothered to finish them properly (although typing this, I know full well Cakes/Tater tots came second)
Now to team GB! Well this is a weird one. English/Danish bacon generally kicks the ass out of American bacon (i will go into detail in a later post) The full meaty cut of bacon is like a food instead of the baron crunchy streak of pork fat, that America favors. Sauté Potato, Wins over Hash browns. A nice fried disc of potato with a buttery crunch. I way prefer English Sausages, The thick skins break with a light crack revealing the seared pork juiciness; where as I find the texture of American sausages are mealy, gritty and dry, owing to the fact the skin isn’t there. Team GB seem to have this one 5/5 until… The Tomato… and Mushroom. Both have that fluffy soft to bite factor I mentioned was a good thing earlier, however, they have a slimy texture to them as well; again this may be personal preference, or it may be that Little Chef just isn’t that good, and trust me, it’s not; but this element do ruin a clean sweep for texture that Little Chef would otherwise have won.
Team USA: 3 90’s boy bands out of 5
Team GB: 4 Bad 80’s Hair dos out of 5
Denny’s in West Wichita, KS, USA; and the Little Chef on the 12 nr. Ipswich, England. A small snippet of two large national franchises, though I think most franchises have a similar streak running through it. Denny’s seems to have the
service down pat. At-least with the wait staff, the wait staff are often prompt, with a good eye for refills and give you the customary courtesy check after your food is set (We will talk about Courtesy Checks after a while) All is well except for if you listen acutely and understand Spanish, the chefs are often not conversing very cordially, and it makes me wonder… if the cook staff are THAT pissed off, what will they do to take it out on my slam! Maybe that is why it’s Called the slam, Denny’s kitchen staff are beating their meat! (I know I know, I impress myself) Well, you then go and pay, and well… Denny’s has hired a manic depressant at the register; you know the sort “F*ck you very much, have a nice day” A bad testament to their exceptional wait staff; What an Amazing difference Tipping makes.
Little Chef service is… well I am not even going to waste a paragraph on it, Any European who reads this can leave a comment; To save it from 1/5 I will say… At least it beats Happy Eater and Wimpy.
Team USA: 3 buckets of pine-sol out of 5
Team GB: 2 bottles of domestos out of 5
I hate to say this, but most American fast food restaurants all offer highly processed food, as does the UK, however, due to laws about Genetically Modified foods, the UK generally edges out with more genuine food. Cheese is Cheese; not “Cheese-food product” One thing that Little Chef does offer is Free Ranged eggs, and you can taste this, and appreciate it; and the eggs should always be the headline of the breakfast in my opinion. That and the beans, what lost Team GB marks for presentation, makes up for in taste. The rich sweet tomato sauce with the beans just always more sense to me than the beans with brown sugar and ham. The sauce that soaks into the potato is delicious, as well as taking the edge off the sausage fat. Denny’s grand slam generally tastes good, but there is a lack of the missing link, the moisture element. Maybe it is my upbringing but I generally sound American breakfasts dry, although flavorful. I would often get a side of gravy and plenty of Ketchup with my meal to counteract this, however, I would have chosen beans if I had that choice.
Team USA: 2 Mexican families out of 5
Team GB: 4 Polish families out of 5
Value for money:
Denny’s by far is the cheapest choice, offering their grand slam for about $6. (w/o the cost of the added hash browns) And generally the meal would have about a 1.5-2 hour longevity before the tummy was thinking food again. The Olympic Breakfast from Little Chef is 7 pound 95pence (about $13) but I found the free range eggs (dairy) and the spread of veg, pulse, meat and sugar; was way more balanced of a meal, and kept me hunger free for about 3.5 hours.
Team USA: 3 French fries out of 5
Team GB: 3 bags of chips out of 5
Team USA: 15 out of 25
Team GB: 16 out of 25
Little Chef and Denny’s are maybe not the 1st choice in Cuisine, as both seem to be roadside eateries for those of us on the run, however they seem the most comparable in terms of establishment. However, this review is more of American Breakfast vs English; and the score is a good representation of this. I believe the Full English is a sure winner, much more balanced on the food pyramid and a vast array of tastes and textures; plus; It doesn’t come with hash brown needles of death.
As a footnote:
Nutritionally, if you have either one of these, plan for a snack free day and a light lunch, and an action packed afternoon. Both Grand Slam and Olympic Breakfast clock in close to 1000 calories with little under 100% recommended daily allowance of Sodium and Fat