I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I've been super busy, baking up a storm for the last month. I'm not complaining, mind you. There aren't many things I'd rather do with my time. But I do miss writing about it.
Things are starting to settle into a nice rhythm again, so I thought I'd share my breakfast with you. No, I didn't make it and there was absolutely no baking involved on my part. But it's still worth sharing.
Once a week, my mom and I make a buying trip to the Roanoke Sam's Club. I go through 50+ pounds of flour and an unmentionable amount of butter in 7 days or less, which makes the trip necessary. This spring, we fell into a lovely routine of stopping at a local spot, Hale's Restaurant, for either breakfast or lunch, depending on how our day was going. Their exact address is 7643 Roanoke Road, Shawsville, Virginia, but we locals think of it as being on old Route 11 - a pretty, scenic byway, still dotted with these:
Now, over the years, I've gotten respectably good at cooking eggs. I've even learned how I like them - over medium, please, with some runny yolk but never, ever any liquid in the white. And being Southern girls, I like gravy with my biscuits and my mom likes slices of tomato on her plate.
Hale's has all this - the absolutely perfect fried egg you see above - as well as engaging staff, potatoes with onions chopped by humans and not machines, sunny window seating, a menu that doesn't quit, and mountain views (you already know I like mountains). Even on a rainy day, look how pretty they are.
Speaking of pretty, this is my breakfast companion and seasoned traveler, Barbara.
She knows what's good and she survived raising four of us. That deserves a good breakfast, IMHO.
Of course, I never gave her any trouble. And was definitely her favorite.
If you're close enough to the Blue Ridge and find yourself needing sustenance, give Hale's a try. Their burgers and fries at lunch are also killer and they have beans and cornbread on the menu.
And if you're looking for a swell vacay spot, just down the road apiece (7 miles, to be exact) is one of the best attractions you'll ever want to visit - Dixie Caverns. I kind of like how everything looks pretty much the way it did when I went there for a field trip in fourth grade.
On days like today when it's about 100 degrees outside, you should know that cavern temperature hovers at 30 degrees cooler. Tempting, no?
You can also replenish your stock of giant pencils while there.
And get a few of these for the kids:
And maybe a few of these:
Go here for information about their exact location and hours: http://www.dixiecaverns.com/. They also have a pottery shop and campground. That field trip remains a highlight of my school career where the rock formations were like living geological history and crack-open geodes from the gift shop prolong the memory.
Now that I've had a good breakfast and stocked up on flour, you'll have to excuse me because it's time to get baking again. This summer, I hope you find your way to Hale's or a good meal by a window in your neck of the woods, and have some fun in a cave, a river or wherever you like to make happy memories with your peeps.