Triangle Diner

http://www.facebook.com/pages/TRIANGLE-DINER/220202679335

I have a local diner, and it’s good!  I had often passed it on my way to downtown Saratoga Springs, and had wanted to stop in a few times, but couldn’t quite figure out its hours.  It was often packed, but when I went there in the morning for breakfast, it appeared deserted so I didn’t bother stopping.  It turns out that unless they’ve changed their hours recently, I must have just been ahead of the rush.

Inside, it’s a diner.  Black and white checkerboard linoleum floor, booths and half-booths along the walls, a counter with stools.  The food is basic (though see below) but good.  How good?  Surprisingly good.  I was a bit leery because my experiences with diners in this area haven’t been impressive.  In addition to the menu, they have a large number of specials (more than ten, less than twenty) on a white board and conveniently Xeroxed onto menu inserts should you be sitting in such a way as to make reading the specials board inconvenient.  Sometimes the specials are combination plates of items already on the menu, sometimes they are standard dishes not on the menu, sometimes they appear to be made out of whole cloth.  Like the “college breakfast sandwich” which was eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, cream cheese and Doritos on a bagel.  It is difficult to describe how much I wanted to try that sandwich, but alas, I did not have two stomachs.  This is a good place to describe what I’ve mentioned (numerous times) before, how I prefer basic food done well to high concept food cooked poorly.  I’ll contrast the Triangle Diner breakfasts I’ve had with the same meal at Hattie’s brunch. 

Meal 1:  French Toast. 

At Hattie’s the pain perdu is made with thick slices of batard loaves.  Bacon is extra.  Real maple syrup is a surprisingly large amount extra.  The custard used to soak the bread hadn’t penetrated completely, leaving bits of stale warmed over bread.  The Triangle Diner version is made with plain thick sliced commercial white bread – the kind that is square in cross-section and has the marks of the conveyor belt on the bottom.  But the custard had penetrated the bread completely, and it was pretty tasty custard to boot.  It was grilled perfectly.  The version I got off the board was a special because it came with eggs and sausage, and for less than the Hattie’s base model.

Meal 2:  Chicken-fried steak and eggs.

The Hattie’s version isn’t bad, not by a long shot.  It’s a very modest sized steak (one that probably conforms to the USDA recommendation of a single serving of meat) topped with a brown roux gravy served with a couple of eggs and some home fries.  The price, if I remember correctly, is $15.  One thing that living in Texas has spoiled me about is the generally gristle-free cuts of meat that they use for their CFS’s.  My mom’s was always gristly.  She’s from Illinois.  Both steaks here suffer from the same problem.  I’ve noticed a lot of dishes here are very similar to the way my mom cooks.  But to the Triangle diner version:  First, the steak is at least triple the size of the Hattie’s, maybe four times.  Next, it’s covered in sausage gravy.  The mound of home fries is about the same enormous size as the steak.  A couple of eggs are there to make this a breakfast dish.  And then something I wasn’t expecting, the toast.  Unlike the French toast of the previous visit, this toast was made from thin, hand cut slices of some sort of wide, round white loaf, buttered and grilled.  Glorious toast, something that you’d expect to see in a high end B&B, laid across the top of this lumberjack-grade breakfast.  Oh.  And only $10.

Did I mention the coffee is good, too?

I’ll try their lunch offering some time, and let you know how that goes.

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