Diners. To my Australian eyes, they are quintessentially American. I cringe in anticipation when the protagonist in a sitcom or movie takes a seat in a diner. Along comes the sassy yet compassionate waitress and takes the order for a plate of fat and/or refined carbohydrate with some liquid sugar in a glass.
And now I get the chance to do the same.
The diner is spacious, airy and upbeat (all of those more so than in the movies but this is the heart of San Francisco, not an out-of-the-way poke-town representing the hero’s state of mind on her/his road-trip to ‘well-developed-character-arc’). Unusually, there’s a car parked inside. I am not phased. This is America, land of the places that have cars parked in them. At home our dogs ride in the back of our utes. Americans seem to have a different canine transport arrangement.
Checkered floor – tick. Restrooms, not toilets (a terrible no-no, I am told) – tick. Juke box – tick. Metallic red, shiny vinyl seats – tick. Happy, overweight Americans in the next booth – tick.
And the breakfast menu! A joy to behold. More quintessential-American dishes than you can poke with a spangled star: bagels, waffles, hash browns, biscuits and gravy (always a rather gastronomically-disturbing combination, I think), Bay shrimps, eggs in many forms, bacon, smoked chicken apple sausages, burger patties, jack cheese (not sure what ‘jack’ references but it sounds very sure of itself), corned beef and potatoes, chicken fried steaks. The maple syrup on the table practically mandates the pikelet-thick pancakes.
I hoe in.
America – tick.