The whole Fancypants schtick is rooted in the fact that I haven't had many occasions to be all that fancy. Catching me with a shirt sans outrageous graphics of violent mutants - or without the same worn-out pair of ill-fitting jeans I’ve had for 10 years - is a rare occurrence. Weirdly enough, moving to Cairo - of all places - has given me tons of chances to don a fancy costume of sorts and pretend I’m a highly civilised person of means who doesn’t have knuckle tattoos and an action figure collection back home. So when I got the chance to have breakfast at Roy’s Country Kitchen at Cairo Marriott Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino, I was elated. I felt a rush of memories of all the kitschy diners and hometown restaurants back in the States; home-style cooking, putting about a pound (I guess .45 kg) of butter in every recipe, unlimited coffee - taken as black as my soul - and Americana decor on the walls: buffalo heads, funny signs about drinking, and old-timey adverts.
Yeah, just like that. The only thing that gives it away is the exit sign.
I was in heaven. It was perfect. From the coffee mugs to the absolutely adorable server in his blue jeans and flannel shirt, I never thought I would find something so close to my rural, backwoods, country-style home in Cairo. It was like a walked back in time to that place that was down the road from my house growing up, called Beth’s Interstate Side Dine n’ Dash, that made amazing food. Tragically, it burned to the ground when a line cook fell asleep with a lit cigarette while cooking in dirty oil next to a kerosene heater. His name was Harold; he survived, only to perish years later in what can only be described as a combination hunting mishap and snowmobile accident. Roy’s Country Kitchen reminds me of that place, except capable of passing a health inspection and much more well-lit - and also just a whole lot more upscale overall. Perhaps it’s not so much the place itself but the idea that Beth’s symbolised: that American ideal that every three-and-a-quarter miles (about five km) there needs to be an establishment where one can stop and refuel the old grease-and-meat tank, as we used to call it.
Just thank God there are no confederate flags.
The food at Roy’s Country Kitchen’s new breakfast setup satiated all my American instincts. The omelets with sausage, hash browns, and bacon were better than most of the whipped-up chicken-fetus-centric dishes I had back home. Though bacon that’s not made from forbidden porcine flesh doesn't have quite the same sinful, crunchy satisfaction, it was still absolutely worth shoving down my gullet without chewing.
On all the occasions that I would find myself in the American south long enough to sample their ample breakfast options, I never summoned the fortitude to order cornflake-crusted French toast. Roy’s gave me the chance to right this wrong in Cairo. The dichotomy of the crunchy cornflakes and the sweet softness of the actual toast is enough to make the food-eating part of your brain explode with confusion and sheer joy. I’m not sure if the maple syrup was real or not, but the fact that I couldn’t tell the difference tells you that it doesn’t matter.
Roy’s made me a breakfast that put some of the better places I’ve been to in the States to shame. Couple that with the unlimited coffee and the sweet price of 120 LE++ and you bet I’ll be going back whenever I’m feeling homesick and manage to get up before noon.