My son and I went to Denny’s, a 24/7 restaurant chain, and had breakfast this morning. The menu is now packed with all sorts of dishes that would take up too much room to limn here. But I wasn’t really interested in any of the many dishes offered to satiate my appetite. I was only there for the traditional Grand Slam Breakfast!
Now for the uninitiated, The Grand Slam Breakfast, introduced in 1977, is what put Denny’s on the map, (aside from the racial thing we won’t get into). It consists of two fluffy pancakes of good size, two eggs any way you want them, and your choice of two pieces of sausage or bacon. Coffee is included, but I asked for apple juice, (I wanted a McDonald’s Mocha Frappe but . . . ).
I have not had a Grand Slam in ages, years in fact and so I didn’t know what to expect. This place was crowded and we positioned ourselves in a comfy two top. Our order was quick to come to the table, and to my glee and surprise, the sausages were fresh and hot, the eggs sunny-side up (I had asked for them down), and the pancakes were hot and fluffy with scrumptious, greasy blobs of whipped butter cascading down the sides. I added the syrup. It and I were ready to go.
“Damn this is good,” I said between bites and double dribbles of “maple” syrup that was trying its damnedest to coat my beard. We just sat there from that point on, eating. Enjoying what turned out to be a pretty good choice.
“Hey, there’s a cigar story here,” I told my son, Miles. He looked at me chewing his choices.
“What?” he got out.
“This is just like when a guy goes to a cigar shop and tries something he hasn’t had for years, and doesn’t know what to expect, but says, “What the hell.” So off he goes to the other shelves, away from the hype and hip cigars of today. Wait. I’ll run downstairs meself and try to find an antique. Hold on. I’m back. Nothing particularly piqued my interest. In fact, there are too many to go through. So here’s what I picked out:
The Freyja Valhalla toro. Blended by Emma Viktorsson and the production manager at Tabacalera Palma, Geraldito Perez. The wrapper is a Dominican Criollo ‘98 miracle leaf, with a Mexican San Andrés binder, and finalized with Dominican Criollo ‘98 Dominican Piloto Cubana and Nicaraguan tobaccos grown in Esteli. The smoke is creamy, delightful, satisfying and addictive. The flavor is heavenly.
I haven’t had a Freyja for months, ever since Emma left the country to concentrate on the “European” market. But like the Grand Slam, I haven’t had one of them for years! And was totally surprised at how good it tasted. Too, I didn’t realize how refined this cigar is and will get better with age. It’s one of those cigar anomalies that really do become more sultry with time.
It’s good to stay away from some things, forget about them – consciously or not. I hadn’t eaten a Grand Slam because it wasn’t on my mind. I just thought it would be a good idea to have one this morning because I hadn’t had breakfast, and am bored with hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with Himalayan coarse-ground salt, and a donut. Habit. Convenience. Laziness. Who knows. But reintroducing the Denny diner’s breakfast made that two egg, sausage, pancake trinity a delectable change.
Change. A word charged with emotion with different meanings both positive and negative. Urban scrawl would brag “Been there. Done that.” Yeah, I suppose. But burrowing down the rabbit hole to sinuous boredom can make Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece a dull read.
Ruts. Wagon trains. The search for gold in the Sierra Madre. Bogie. That glistening vein we all pursue. The relentless journey of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. We miss something but forget what it is that is absent from our lives. It’s there. Right underneath our noses. But with pride sky high, and listless dreams dominating our daily lives, we neglect to look up, to try, to go backward, to see the pinhole of light that grows wider and brighter as the clay saucer from the center of the earth is forced skyward by hot, sizzling lava out of the volcano’s vent. We hold on for fear of falling, grasping the ancient edges with our dear lives terrified that we will perish should we be thrown and throttled into the endless waters of change.
Boutique cigar manufacturers are multitudinous. The belief is that the new dissolves the old when in fact it is the solidified foundational traditions that allow the new, tender branches to appear each year giving us what we seek, should we make the averted attempt to look and try it again.