balloons and breakfast in Patterson and Vernalis
- george osner
As hot air balloonists, breakfast is probaly the meal most often eaten away from home. Now let me preface this by saying that we also eat in a lot--Elise makes truly fabulous scones, and I am a dab had a pancakes and waffles.
Often after a balloon trip we gather in the field for a tailgate party--Elise might have a yummy baked item (at this time of year perhaps pumpkin muffins, in August it would have been blackberry, whatever's seasonal, plus fresh fruit and other goodies.
However, very often we are seeking a good satisfying place for breakfast after...
This morning we ended the flight at the Crows Landing airstrip, a huge, disused military base--miles of runway. After packing up we adjourned to Patterson (the "apricot capital of the world") for breakfast at Mil's. Mil's is your basic diner, and that's perfect for breakfast. I had eggs, over easy (so basic, and you'd think anyone could get it right, but I've had many an order verging on inedible). They were perfect, with firm white and completely runny yolk. With them, an absolutely delicious pork chop. Just the perfect accompaniment for breakfast at 10:30 after the work of setting up and packing away, already 5 hours into my day. Coffee was typical diner coffee--nothing to write home about. Three of us ate well for just over 20 bucks. Mil's is in beautiful downtown Patterson, just off Hwy 33 south of the center of town.
Last weekend we ended the morning at Bogetti's Orchard on Highway 132 near Vernalis. This place started as a roadside fruitstand and has grown by accretion to include a flea market, water slides, and the restaurant.
I had a waffle which was just about perfect. About my only quibble would be the huge glop of butter on it--I'll remember to ask for that on the side next time, it's too much. But the crowning glory is the toppings. The waitress asked if I'd prefer regular syrup (which is the stock "maple" flavored corn syrup--yuck) or I could have my choice of blackberry, pomegranate, apricot, peach, or others, or perhaps I'd like jam (in most of the above flavors). These are Mrs. Bogetti's jams and syrups and they are wonderful. I had apricot jam and pomegranate syrup, and I was in heaven. Made with local ripe fruit, and not too much sweetness, so the fruit flavors really come through. Wow! I'm impressed. By the way, with coffee this feast was under 5 bucks.