I had to fly into SFO last night for a morning meeting here at HQ. Under normal circumstances, travelling on a Sunday is as attractive to me as, well, huitlacoche, but I'm happy to report that the entire experience has been transformed by something rather simple.
The Biltmore Hotel here in Santa Clara features a diminutive "Japanese Buffet Breakfast" as an alternative to the classic heart-stopping "American Buffet Breakfast" trough.
Imagine if you will a breakfast consisting of the following:
A bowl of small grain rice with "bonito sprinkles" topped with small slices of oshinko (also known as tsukimono, or Japanese pickles). Today's selection included pickled daikon radish, cucumber, eggplant, a little seaweed salad, fresh tofu and two other mysterious cubed items that I looked at but avoided.
Accompanying the aforementioned rice + pickle extravaganza was a bowl of "instant" miso soup, crafted from 1. a small pouch of miso paste 2. a small pouch of dried "extras", mostly seaweed and some dried burdock and 3. hot water.
Layer two (or was it three) cups of mediocre coffee and a small glass of (equally mediocre) orange juice, and there you have it. I walked out of breakfast feeling. . .happy.
Disclosure: I am a huge fan of Japanese food, culture, toys, you name it. I've even managed to learn enough Japanese to order sushi, beer, and apologize for not speaking Japanese. ("Gomen nasai, nihon-go ga hanasemasen. . .eigo-go ga hanasemasu-ka?")
Now if I could only find someplace to enjoy a good French breakfast, I'd be set.