Count on Monte Cristo

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Sweetness in Hyde Park

A sweet country melody about the rolling hills of Vermont wound its way down Main Street in Hyde Park on a sunny Sunday morning, and this means that Brunch with Sound is in full swing at the Sweet Crunch Bakery and Café.

The pungent smell of sizzling bacon and the sweet aroma of maple syrup waft through the air as I make my way to one of the dozen or so tables that dot the room. Waves of Adrenaline is playing today, two women with an array of guitars and mandolins. They stand at the side of the room capturing the attention of patrons young and old, like the middle aged woman dining with her husband and singing along with the band and the female group in their mid-twenties swaying to the music. Even small children were captivated by the melody.

Grabbing a menu from the counter I scanned the breakfast fare. Among the list were the traditional bacon, eggs, pancakes, omelets and French toast. But Sweet Crunch also offered several other unique dishes including Huevos Rancheros, tortillas with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa and cheese; the VT Frittata, with assorted Vermont cheddar cheeses, Vermont goat cheese and Vermont smoked bacon; Raisin Bread French Toast; a Mushroom and Chevre omelet; and the Monte Cristo, homemade sourdough bread dipped in egg batter and grilled with cheddar cheese and ham.

Behind the register hangs a chalk board advertising the café’s soups: clam chowder, and crab and chicken gumbo, as well as their mushroom quiche of the day. Tempted slightly by the new offers, I nevertheless decided to go with the Monte Cristo and home fries.

Outlining the room are four large bakery cases offering everything from chocolate, raspberry, and almond croissants, to cinnamon rolls larger than my fist, to gluten-free Vermont maple harvest muffins, to made-to-order pies and cakes in every flavor possible, to salted caramel chocolates-this bakery and café has it all, with sound.

Just as the waitress was bringing my food, Waves of Adrenaline broke into “Don’t Think Twice” by the Indigo Girls and Brandy Carlile, and think twice I did not.

My sandwich was huge, steaming, and at least three inches thick with cheese and ham. The home fries it came with were lightly seasoned and dished out generously; the chunks of potato were so big I had to cut them in thirds. I then looked curiously at the small pot of maple syrup I was given, and then realized I was supposed to either pour it on my sandwich or dip it. At first it seemed like an odd combination but upon my first bite I realized it was delicious. Taking into account the egg-battered bread with the maple syrup it was like I was eating a French toast and grilled cheese sandwich and it was heavenly.

After swaying to the music while ingesting my food I wandered into the Vermont gift-shop area of the bakery. This store offers Vermont gift-baskets, an array of wines, beer and cider as well as Vermont-made food products like peanut butter, crackers, and jelly.

Making my way back into the dining area I went up to the cash register to choose a baked good and pay my bill. I decided that I had to try one of their famous Vermont Maple Cookies, although I wasn’t too keen on the sound and look of it as I figured it would be dry. However, it was delicious and of shortbread cookie consistency, with a maple sugar melt-in-your-mouth glaze on top and not dry at all. My total bill was $14, perhaps a little steep for breakfast, but a great experience nonetheless.

Upon leaving, the band smiled and wished me farewell, and I made my way back out onto the street, the country melody receding further and further into the distance.