Savoring the weekend has become a bona fide sport since I met the boy. He celebrates Saturday and Sunday like other people celebrate Christmas, but his holy places are usually three hours outside of Boise and covered with moss and big game droppings. In town or not, his morning ritual is the same: Wake up pre-dawn to let the dog out. Return to bed and stare at slumbering companion, willing her to wake up. Keep staring. If staring doesn't creep her into consciousness, rustle blankets and throw some sly elbows. If this doesn't work, invite dog to get cozy (a.k.a. lick sleeper's face right after indulging in toilet water) and when she jerks awake covered in septic drool, stick out your bottom lip and say: "We're wasting the whole day!"
After my first few bouts with the "ritual," I realized that the key to maximizing a weekend is to find coffee, a newspaper and some "grubbage" before 10 a.m. The point is to sit down and really relax while eating the kind of food that sticks till dinnertime. We found such stuffed peace at Blue Jeans Café, named for the tiny denim trousers that hang on its walls. It is a small, simple eatery with staples like biscuits and gravy and pancakes, gourmet options like porcini mushroom and Brie burritos, elk or buffalo sausage and an array of pastries that come in nonfat, Lo-Carb and decadent. Almost everything is built from scratch, except for the complimentary candy in the "inner-kid" jar next to the register.
Having already sampled the elk burritos, the boy and I decided to test the omelets. He went for the mushroom and Brie with apple wood-smoked bacon, hash browns and half a biscuit with gravy, and I chose the chorizo and Gouda with browns and a nonfat peach muffin. We both had coffee in ceramic mugs (the kind you find in your grandma's cupboard) and commenced reading the paper and soaking up the '70s gold and cold air that poured from the ceiling.
Less than ten minutes later, the "grubbage" arrived. Our tiny table/checker board was loaded, and I went for the muffin first. Bananas and applesauce compensated for the lack of oil, making for a spongy, fruit-filled treat. The hash browns were pleasingly crispy, and the homemade ketchup was a nice change from the overly sweet or salty commercial stuff. The omelet, unfortunately, was more like sausage fondue. A thin egg-white pocket had been stuffed with melted Gouda and five slices of mildly spicy chorizo and then topped with more grated cheese. It was a cheese-lovers heaven, but a bit overwhelming for the likes of me. The boy's choice was similarly swimming, and he declared the Brie/egg pairing not "his bag." The bacon was pronounced "not as good as the Beanery's, but still good," and the coffee was swilled in contentment. The half biscuit was the size of a small pancake. Between the two of us, we finished about two-thirds of our Saturday morning feast.
Although the cheese factor was a little intense, Blue Jeans is still a flagship for the melding of old-school heaviness with new-school healthy. The experience offers something for everyone and ensures for a day not wasted (in bed or your local Denny's).
—Erin Ryan keeps a tin of Strawberry Quik in a secret drawer.