Breakfast room service at hotels is a perk that I look forward to when I travel to both new and old places for work and pleasure. This month before my Barnes and Noble San Jose book signing, I didn't make reservations. I tried to, but every time I called a hotel I was told room service has switched to breakfast buffets. So I decided to be spontaneous and choose a hotel on the road since reservationists told me that the Silicon Valley isn't busy like Lake Tahoe on the weekends. So, I fantasized about a fun hotel with a pool, hot tub and room service with a delish breakfast.
Reality bites. After the signing, driving around weary and tired for hours I still couldn't find a vacant hotel. Blame it on a convention. By 10:30 p.m., I booked a room at a place without room service, but with a breakfast buffet. It was doable but I'm used to coffee first thing in the morning. It was awkward to have to walk downstairs and be greeted in a room full of strangers while I was in search of my java jolt. As I eyed the few breakfast choices I pondered, "Maybe I should have gotten up at the crack of dawn." The pastries were nondescript. I couldn't find fresh milk for my no-name cup of joe. The bananas were too ripe, the waffle iron was too busy with a pre-made batter. As I walked upstairs with my hospital-type tray of coffee and mini muffins I mumbled out loud, "I wish I was home with my big Mr. Coffee brewer and fresh-baked scones."
Summertime fruit scones
2 1/2 cups natural whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup European-style butter (cold cubes)
1 cup half and half
1 brown egg
2 tablespoons flavored honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped, assorted fresh fruit, such as cherries,
peaches and raspberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and spice. Add chunks of butter, sliced in small cubes. In another bowl, combine milk, egg, honey, vanilla and stir till a dough-like mixture forms. Fold in lemon juice and fresh fruit. Drop spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. (Or you can also form into a ball, roll out and cut into circles to achieve that picture-perfect biscuit look.). Bake till golden brown, about 15 minutes. Makes 12 medium scones. Slice and serve warm with cream cheese, jam and gourmet coffee.
These fruity scones are a delight to put together. I prefer to do it the night before and then heat them up in the oven or microwave. At the same time, grinding coffee beans (flavored French vanilla or hazelnut) and brewing a pot of coffee is better than using the hotel's small coffee pod machine. Enjoying low-fat organic milk is my love (not like those little plastic containers of cream). Teaming scones with scrambled eggs made teamed with chopped fresh Roma tomatoes, green bell pepper, and red onion makes this meal even better. So, while breakfast buffets may be in, I prefer end-of-summer fruits and vegetables to create an unforgettable morning meal outside on the deck under the pine trees at on the South Shore for my mind, body and spirit.
Motto: Fantasy meals away from home can fizzle. Homemade breakfast in the comfort of your home is the real deal.
- Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey and Coffee are offered by the Good Cook Book Club.) "Animal Attraction: A Collection of Tales & Tails" will be released this fall. Her website is www.calorey.com.