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A food blog from NHPR news, digital, & programming staff, exploring food & food culture around the state & the New England region. On-air features air Thursdays on All Things Considered and Saturdays during Weekend Edition.

Sunday Breakfast Buffet: Tastes and Temptations

Has any human being ever taken part in a buffet and not eaten more than he/she intended? The very concept of "all you can eat" stacks the deck against the diner: if you're not interested in stuffing yourself like a twentysomething's hatchback before a cross-country move, you're probably going to order off of the regular menu. Otherwise, saying yes to a buffet means, as Homer Simpson once put it, "bye bye belt!"

Aside from partaking in free continental breakfasts at hotels - and this is almost always solely out of cheapness - I live buffet-free. My two year old son Owen, on the other hand, adores buffets, partly for the endless varieties of food and partly because he's fascinated by the little sterno heaters under the steam trays - "look at the fire!" he shouts. (Each time this happens I make a mental note not to take him to a crowded theater anytime soon.)

Hence our decision this morning to take part in the breakfast buffet at The Friends Diner in Allenstown, and its full spread of morning fare. And - no surprise - we both ended up eating plenty. I tried some strawberry sauce and apples on my pancake, while Owen inhaled home fries and French toast, giving the other buffet-goers an audio tour of the room, from "I see gravy!" to "That's a picture of a burger on the wall!" As we walked to the counter to pay our bill, a man at a nearby table chuckled at the little fellow's antics - and his nearly-empty plate. "What a good little boy," he said. "He eats like a grown-up."

If compliments like that are part of buffets, maybe I'll drop by a few more from now on. But not until I finish digesting the food from this one, which should take at least a month.

What's your favorite New Hampshire breakfast buffet? Ever eaten something really unique at a buffet? Tell us about it in the comments.

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