View from Federal Hill Park

View from Federal Hill Park
The fantastic skyline as seen from just down the street.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What do you serve for breakfast?

Our next installment of our Blog series of most frequently asked questions is: What do you serve for breakfast?  This is one of the questions we are most commonly asked and potential guests.  They ask it for a number of good reasons. 

Some are worried that we will not be able to meet their dietary needs.  Some fret that we will serve only continental breakfast of dried up bagels and stale cream cheese and maybe some generic cereal if they are lucky.   (It is a little known fact that what B&B’s offer is most commonly dictated by what the Health Department allows in their jurisdiction.  Many health departments are very specific in what they allow to be served with some only allowing pre-packaged foods if the property does not have a full commercial kitchen.)  Others fear we will serve things that only we would normally eat and are not very gourmet.  Still some guests are afraid we will be overly fancy and give them something they would never want to eat to begin with.
Here at Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast we take a great deal of pride in the great food and the whimsical eye we turn toward breakfasts during your stay.   We create handmade foods that are distinctive yet in many ways, familiar. 

Let me start with the breakdown of what we offer in the most general sense.  

Nearly everything is made from scratch by our own hands.  You tell us what time you would like to eat.  We always have continental offerings out on the buffets so people can serve themselves.  We can have this set up as early at 7 AM with notification, but more commonly we set this up upon arrival of our fist guests for full breakfast service so the freshness is preserved.  Full breakfast is served anytime from 8 AM until 9:30 AM with the last seating at 9 on weekdays and on weekends until 10 with the last seating at 9:30 AM.  

For those that need to get out especially early, or those that prefer to sleep in as late as possible, yet still have some breakfast, we have a grab and go option.  We choose the best of our continental offerings and bag them up for you with some yogurt and orange juice and to-go cups for coffee or tea.  We are happy to pack this up, and place it in the guest fridge for you to partake of whenever your schedule best allows.  Many business guests love doing this when they are here for conferences because they can sleep in as late as possible and nibble on homemade goodies while at the conference itself.
We have a smaller table which seats two to four for those that like a bit more solitude during breakfast, as well as a large table that seats up to eight for those that like to chat with fellow guests about their adventures in Baltimore.   We also allow one free breakfast for those who are visiting friends or family and want to share the bountiful breakfast with them.  For other guests it is an additional $10 and space for these is extremely limited.

Now what do we actually make as part of our continental breakfasts?  We always have a seasonal variety of homemade biscotti.  In the autumn we have our amazing pumpkin biscotti of pumpkin, of course, and white chocolate, dried cranberries, pecans, crystallized ginger and other spices.  For the holidays we offer our Holiday Joy biscotti with the best of rum filled fruit cake and eggnog flavors combined.  In the spring and summer we often have our apricot white chocolate macadamia nut biscotti.  We also serve our homemade granolas.  One is a maple, walnut, cardamom blueberry variety and the other is cranberry, honey, coconut, oat and almonds.  We also make our own pasties dictated by the season.  Sometimes pumpkin or sweet potato bread, gluten free banana bread,  blueberry breakfast cobbler, gingerbread,  sticky buns, so many types of muffins, the possibilities of what we may have made are almost endless.  We also have hot tea; freshly brewed coffee roasted locally, orange juice, cranberry pomegranate juice, and 1% milk.  If needed, we can have almond or soy milk for those with dietary restrictions.  Oh, and of course we have half & half for the coffee too.   Fresh fruit can be found in a bowl in the dining room during breakfast hours and throughout the day.

For our full breakfast we rotate between sweeter breakfasts one day and more savory ones the next.  We alternate this way so that you are not stuck with only eggs or only pancakes.  We also do our very best to never repeat the same dish twice during your stay.  With prior notification, we can prepare delectable breakfasts to meet nearly any dietary needs.  

It is difficult to pin down what we offer for our full cooked breakfasts because we make a wide range of good eats. 

When we do a savory main dish, we begin your meal with a starter.  This could be a concoction of fruits, herbs and wines made into a wonderful chilled soup, a mixed salad of seasonal fruits,  baked pears topped with sour cream and crystallized ginger,  berry and yogurt parfaits,  pumpkin maple buckwheat porridge, watermelon basil and feta salad and many, many other possibilities.  Then we move onto the main attraction.

We do frittatas numerous ways, stratas with differing layers of flavors all dependent upon what is in season and what is best at the markets, both conventional and those of the Farmer’s Market variety.  We use duck eggs and chicken eggs.  We use many types of cheeses, feta, Gruyere, Italian or Mexican combinations.  We do roulades of asparagus, sundried tomatoes and cheeses.  We make crustless crab quiches with bubbling old bay spiked cheeses and panko crumbs on top.  And this is just off the top of my head.  All of these are normally served with an accompaniment of vegetable or fruit side and a starch dish of one kind or another.  It might be biscuits.  Or maybe we will serve jalapeño cornbread or our newest take on it with sautéed apples and onions baked right into the top.  The sides we create are just as varied as what the main entrees might be.  We then finish off your plate with an additional protein.

Days where we feature a dish with a sweeter flavor profile, you have your entrée paired with fruit and a protein, normally a sausage, bacon or the like.  Again what we give you is dependent upon the seasons and what is best.  If it is summer time, then banana cornmeal waffles smothered in a mountain of fresh berries with real Pennsylvania maple syrup might be what you find on the menu.  In the fall it might be pumpkin spice pancakes with toasted pecans and maple whipped cream or our rosemary sweet potato waffles topped off with apples and dried cranberries sautéed in lots of butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and a hint of vanilla.  Winter allows us to make pantone eggnog French toast or our double chocolate bacon waffles with blackberry/raspberry sauce.

When you ask what we serve for breakfast, the answer is a cumbersome one.  Nearly everything is homemade.  Our menus are planned no more than a week in advance to take into consideration what is at the peak of its seasonal freshness and what is the best possible quality at the market, as well as to plan around any guests’ dietary needs or preferences.  

When we ask if you have any dietary preferences or needs, please tell us.  We cannot do the very best at our jobs if we do not have the information required to give you food in the way you will most enjoy it.  If you are not into sweet and savory mixed together, then we will choose something other than double chocolate bacon waffles for the menu.   If you are gluten free we will make gluten-free pastry for you to enjoy with the other guests.

So, we serve more than you might ever imagine for breakfasts and as you have probably read from the multitude of reviews discussing our food, you are going to love it.

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