Ask any American cyclist what they miss most about living in Europe and you’ll hear the echoing repitition. Nearly always jumping around the subject of food, without fail the list will include Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods ranked very highly. A proper cup of American coffee is guaranteed to be there and generally once someone says “Mexican food”, everyone else jumps on board that bandwagon with a melting heart, knowing we’re 8,000 miles away from a real burrito.
The same holds true with the wholesomely delicious American breakfast. Perhaps for no other reason (well, besides that American breakfast is amazing) than the sheer variety and spread of an American breakiedoodles. Let’s start with just eggs: scrambled, fried, over easy, boiled, omelets, poached, and so forth. Pancakes battle ferociously with waffles for the title of which will be doused with more maple syrup. Meanwhile bacon, sausage, and ham – or Scrapple if you’re really ‘merican – are also excellent options for raising one’s cholesterol. Add to the mix fruit of all varieties, pipping hot oatmeal, banana/pumpkin/blueberry/whatever bread, bagels, English muffins, donuts, blah blah blah, you get the idea. In two words: frigging yum.
So rather than longingly stewing over what we cannot have until we’re again stateside for Tour of CA/UT/CO, please allow me to profusely over-exaggerate in order to say that life just went from mehh to amaaaazing when I discovered last week that one of my favorite dinner osterias in Lucca does a Sunday brunch. Emphatic high-fives all around, especially given that a whole bunch of us American folks actually had the rare weekend at home instead of eating pasta and racing bikes.
I rounded up seven of the coolest cats I know, including one Italian just so we would fit in, and descended on Osteria del Manzo at precisely 2pm for a staunchly patriotic American Brunch.* Time to dig in!
Rob here sports his stylish denim in perfect tandem with a Harley-Davidson “Est. 1903” mug complete with a ferocious eagle. America.
Meanwhile Bjorn rabidly goes after his omelet. Eating with great fury can mean just one thing: America.
Not one to pass up an occasion to look sharp, I dressed to the nines in my finest American apparel. Fear not Miss Manners, I removed my hat while dining and only donned it for this pic. My checkerboard red, white, and blue shirt was as patriotic as my trio of pancakes. Yes, drenched with MAPLE syrup. I nearly cried. America.
Please note the cheese themed mug in the previous photo. It came complete with a ceramic mouse contently sitting in the bottom. It was quite adorable to see him gazing up at me to remind me that my coffee levels are low and I should replenish the mug. MORE COFFEE. America.
Seriously? Light fluffy pancakes adorned with fruit, whipped cream, and maple syrup?! It even came with the American dusting of powdered sugar. I’m clearly beside myself. We all were. America.
Not everything was peeeEEEEeerfect. Service was a hair on the slow side, but we were so danged excited that it didn’t even matter! By this point I was ready to gnaw on my shoe so when they set the food down I snapped one more photo of Jessica’s bagel with lox, avocado, and an aggressive schmear of cream cheese before going nuts on my breakfast of champions. AAaaamerica.
Look dudes, it’s the little things offering a glimmering reminder of home that really make you smile. Great friends, an awesome spread of food, and an actual carafe of coffee. Again, high-fives all around.
* Yeah yeah, who eats brunch at 2pm, you ask? Turns out we do when they have serving hours from 11:30a-3:30p and you have a stout four hour ride on the docket. An earlier than typical morning to fit it all in. Sometimes you sacrifice tradition for the sake of eating a hearty breakfast.
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