“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” ― Julia Child
I’m fresh off another trip to the good old green mountain state. I went back for yet another wedding so the weekend was jam packed with visiting friends and relatives. Yet, there were some moments of relaxation betwixt all the madness. My mom and I managed to snag time to get breakfast at one of my favorite northern VT watering holes. It also happens to be one of the only restaurants in Highgate, Vermont. I spent a lot of time in this blink-and-you-miss-it town when growing up, so it is familiar territory.
Joey’s Junction Bakery and Cafe sits at the junction of Vermont Rte.’s 78 and 207. A small gravel parking lot sits in front of a wooden structure with a tin roof. It looks almost like a sugaring shack, which seems to be intentional. Most of the interior is taken up with the kitchen, racks of baked goods, and maple products – so seating is very limited. But during the summer months the patio is open, tripling or quadrupling their seating capacity.
Once you’re seated there is plenty to look at – the walls are festooned with artwork by one of the original owners (all for sale), maps, and even a framed quilt. This time we visited in the middle of a rain storm so it was super cozy and warm once we got inside. Joey’s Junction changed ownership a little over a year ago after being closed for a year and a half. I hadn’t been back in at least two years so I was extremely pleased to see that everything was how I remembered it, even the menu was the same.
Joey’s Junction is not a place to nibble at a plate of greens and call it a day. Its a place to eat big meals, such as after a day-long hike, while fueling up for tomorrow’s hockey game, or after long morning in the barn. This is not a place to play it safe. Want a cinnamon roll the size of your face? They can do that. Want it soaked in egg and milk and made into cinnamon roll french toast? They can do that too. Also, bottles of maple syrup come standard on the tables, just sayin’.
We both immediately ordered the Maple Cappuccino (aka a giant bowl of coffee and maple goodness). I think it can more accurately be described as a maple latte since there much more milk than foam, but why split hairs (I realize I just split hairs). It was much sweeter than I remember. Its hard to tell if this was just me or if there was actually more maple syrup in it. I would have preferred something with a slightly higher coffee to maple ratio. But when you’re getting coffee with ACTUAL maple syrup for roughly the same price as a Starbucks drink you shouldn’t complain. Side note – the Joey’s Junction Maple Cappuccino inspired me to come up with my own version.
I admit, I spent way too long vacillating between the various menu options. I eventually decided on The Cyclist – steel cut oats with seasonal fruit (blueberries, strawberries, and peaches) and served with heavy cream and maple syrup on the side. Keeping it simple ya know? But make no mistake, this isn’t your typical fast oatmeal breakfast. What comes out of that kitchen is a veritable vat of creamy oats over which you drizzle cream and maple syrup into a decadent white and beige marbled feast. Add fruit to pretend this is healthy and voila! You’re on your way.
“I think maybe, if I could be a Canadian super hero, I’d have some kind of freezing power and some sort of maple syrup weapon. Could be a little sticky.” – Nathan Fillion
Mom decided on the Maple Poached. This monstrosity is 4 eggs poached in maple syrup (yes, you read that right), a choice of bacon/ham/sausage, and toast. They don’t do regular toast here, though. Here, “toast” is a giant brioche roll. The whole thing comes in the cast iron skilled in which the eggs were poached with the brioche perched jauntily on the side. If you don’t think you can handle the gargantuan portion sizes you can split entrees for an extra $2.
I am happy to report that neither of us felt the need to eat for the rest of the day.
Despite recently changing ownership, Joey’s Junction is still the wonderful breakfast spot I remember (though they don’t just do breakfast). Any place that doesn’t pre-portion out servings of maple syrup has my vote. Joey’s Junction Bakery and Cafe provides great value for your dollar and you will always leave full. Though you may have to roll your way out the door. If by some miracle you still want to look at food after you’re done eating, you can take home a daily baked section of pastries and pies, including the cinnamon roll the size of your face.