Do you know what’s a great way to start the day? Enough food to kill a horse.
A full breakfast is something I have now and again, usually when I have a Hungry Hangover. A Scottish breakfast has varying components, which include, but aren’t limited, to: two kinds of sausage (links and lorne), bacon, eggs (fried, of course), potato scones, black/white/fruit pudding (or all of the above), fruit dumpling, baked beans, mushrooms and maybe a bit of fried bread, or a Scottish roll which is something you absolutely positively cannot properly get in other parts of the world – in fact it’s possible I may have to write a blog post on them one day. You might also get haggis slices. If done right, it’s massive, and artery-clogging, and it means you don’t have to eat more than one meal that day if you don’t want to (though, if you are having a Hungry Hangover, you probably do want to).
While we were in Canada, I wanted to get the North American equivalent, one of those enormous breakfasts you see in films with pancakes and bacon and, of course, maple syrup. I got my phone out again and had a look for breakfast restaurants in Toronto – there was no shortage, but I honed in on Fran’s Restaurant. Fran’s has been operating since 1940, bringing food to the masses 24 hours a day (yep, 24 hours) and serving breakfast, elevenses, brunch, lunch, second lunch, high tea, dinner, second dinner, supper and anything in between. There are five branches – three in Toronto, one in Barrie and one in Kansas City. I had a look at their breakfast menu, found that it had plenty to choose from, and floated the idea of checking it out. The next morning, we made our way downtown in search of the dream breakfast.
I had basically decided before we even arrived that I wanted the full works, and even though the menu had some other delights to tempt me, I stuck with it. While we waited for our food, we had a couple of frozen yogurt fruit smoothies. These were fresh and sharp, perfect for the roasting hot day it was turning out to be. Getting sunburned while eating breakfast isn’t something I’m used to, to say the least, but a Fran’s Fanta helped keep me at a temperature short of human combustion. Also we had a giant umbrella over the table…
Breakfast consisted of sausages, eggs, bacon, homefries, toast and pancakes, with maple syrup served in a jug on the table to be added as required. For a long time I was resistant to the idea of bacon and syrup but, as I found out when I made my own, it really does work. The real revelation for me were the homefries – fried potato items for breakfast? I’m in. These ones were super crispy and full of flavour and they still had some skin on so, you know, hooray for fibre.
In truth, I feel like a Scottish – or a full English – breakfast has the edge over this one, if only because the bacon we have in this country is outstandingly good, compared to Canadian (sorry…) – it’s meatier, thicker cut and much leaner. We also get heftier sausages – though along with those, we get sausages that are 80% sawdust and 20% lard, so it’s not all good. Also, the fact that you can choose from a myriad of ways to have your eggs cooked in North America is pretty cool, even if I do feel a bit like there’s a secret code and I only know a tiny bit of it. We got ours done over easy and sunny side up, so we could try one of each – both worked for me. A runny yolk is a crucial part of any cooked breakfast.
The pancakes were really the highlight. I can get behind pancakes for breakfast.