The Dreaded Hotel Breakfast

Last summer while I was on the road I found myself writing several journal entries based on my experiences at the free continental breakfasts some hotels so gloriously pride themselves upon.  Just this morning, I was having a conversation with a fellow musician friend about why, in general, it is preferable to stay in a hotel when on the road. Among our reasons was the fact that  you can just relax and hang out (you can even go pants-less if you want - something you cannot do if you stay with other people).  Also, you don't have to entertain your hosts and your hosts don't have to entertain you. You don't have to worry about getting stuck on a couch with six dogs and three cats lying on top of you all night. Obviously, staying in a hotel is not always the most economical choice when you're on tour, so when you do stay in a hotel, you should be delighted to get a free meal, right?  Wrong - at least for me.

One of my absolute favorite things to do in the morning is get up and write.  As I wrote in my last blog, I make these crazy journal entries that probably wouldn't make sense to anyone else, but somehow this gets my day started in the right direction.  I enjoy a few moments of alone time, the opportunity to get out the mental cobwebs of sleep and have a good cup of coffee to stimulate me back into consciousness. Unfortunately, this is not possible at a hotel's free continental breakfast.

First of all, in the hotel breakfast lobby there is always a television.  Said hotel breakfast area is always blasting CNN or, worse yet, Fox News. For some reason, the hotel owner, always feels the need to hide the remote so that, even if you are the only person in the hotel breakfast eating area you can't turn it down. A blaring television is not conducive to starting your morning peacefully.

Secondly, people are just not that attractive in the morning and it blows my mind how many people decide to take advantage of the free hotel breakfast in their bare feet and ratty old pajama bottoms.  The worst of these offenders are those little creatures under the age of ten called children who show up all crusty-eyed and snotty-nosed crying about the cereal which they inevitably wind up spilling all over the floor.

Lastly, the food itself leaves much to be desired.  A few years ago I discovered that I have so many food allergies it's not even funny: peanuts, soy, eggs, gluten.  I really can't eat anything except meat, vegetables and fruit if I really want to be super-healthy. If you've ever eaten a free hotel breakfast, you know you're not going to get a single vegetable.  As for meat?  Occasionally, you might find a sausage link that's been sitting in some heater oven since 3:00 in the morning when the hotel owner started putting this spread together.  Even if I could eat eggs - the boiled ones they serve are seldom cooked in a way that makes them at all peal-friendly.  Worse yet: the waffle maker.  I can't tell you the number of times I have watched someone struggle with the waffle maker - unsure whether to fill it with batter, whether to turn it over, whether to use a spatula.  You would think a waffle maker is high-powered piece of machinery that it requires a PhD to use.  I have news for you: it does not.  All you have to do is follow the directions, people.

Because of my strange food allergies - thank you genetics - I mostly now carry a cooler, but occasionally I cheat when I stay with people so as not to hurt their feelings.  Still, after a great night's show I do enjoy a good hot breakfast - considering how awful of an experience the hotel breakfast is, it's worth it to splurge and go full-on at some local eatery.  Here's just a few of my more recent favorites: Tupelo Honey Cafe in Greenville South Carolina (BEST BREAKFAST OF MY ENTIRE LIFE - THE GRITS and BISCUIT)); Night Heron Coffee and Bookstore in Laramie, WY as well as Coal Creek Coffee (also in Laramie); Sarah's Table in Duluth MN (the salmon!); and Smokey Joe's Coffee in Des Moines.  How do you feel about the hotel breakfast?  DO YOU have a hotel breakfast horror story?  PLEASE SHARE!

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