Inspiration in Breakfast

Plans to eat her way across the country; readers tell her what restaurant



Lee Rice tastes vanilla malt French toast at Cafe at the Plaza in Milwaukee, Wis.

Courtesy of Lee Rice

If money were no object, what would you do?

Travel the world? Eat the finest food? Finally write that novel?

Palm Desert's Lee Rice asked herself the same question while on a lunch break during the summer of 2011. Her answer?

All of the above.

“I had a ‘Groundhog’s Day’ moment,”  said Rice, who is a communications and public relations specialist at Eisenhower Medical Center. “I was on my lunch hour and felt like I was just in that daily grind doing the same thing day after day. I started thinking about the people I admire, the people I wanted to emulate, and I realized those people have all gone after ‘it,’ whatever ‘it’ was for them.”

And for Rice, “it” was traveling the world, eating at the best places and writing a book.

She decided not to wait for money to become no object. Instead, she’d fit her dreams into her reality.

“I knew I wanted to travel, eat and write, but I still had to pay my bills and go to work. Instead of traveling the world, I decided to start with America since I haven’t even seen all of it yet,” Rice said. “And I decided to do breakfast since it’s the cheapest meal.”

Rice launched a blog and Facebook page for her culinary quest, dubbed “Little Lee’s Breakfast in America". Through polls on her Facebook page, followers choose the 52 restaurants (one for each state, except California and New York where Rice will dine twice) for her to try.

Once a winner has been decided, Rice visits the restaurant, tastes a signature dish and presents the owners with a certificate. Afterwards, she writes about the experience on her blog.

Her first trip was in October 2011, leading Rice to a plate of homemade sausage at Helen’s Sausage House in Delaware. Since then, Rice has eaten breakfast in 12 more states, scheduling trips around her full-time job in the desert.

Some of Rice’s most memorable breakfasts include shrimp and grits in South Carolina, orange zest cranberry pancakes with orange marmalade butter in New Jersey and vanilla malt French toast with Chantilly cream and banana milk jam in Milwaukee.

“It’s been great,” Rice said. “I have my profession and now I have my passion. It’s filled the part of me that was missing. Literally.”

After finishing her journey to 52 breakfast restaurants around the country, Rice hopes to release a book. In the meantime, fans can read about her recent breakfast adventures on her website, leeeatsbreakfast.com.

 

Little Lee’s Top 3 Desert Breakfast Spots

1. La Quinta Baking Company: “The dish that knocked my socks off is their croque monsieur. It’s just heaven on a dish. Ham, swiss cheese and béchamel sauce on toasted French bread.”

2. Acqua Pazza California Bistro, Rancho Mirage: “Eggs benedict is my favorite breakfast dish. Acqua Pazza not only makes awesome eggs benedict, but is very reasonably priced, too.”

3. Keedy’s Fountain & Grill, Palm Desert: “I don’t fool around with their pancakes because they are so good, you don’t want to mess with them. All you need is maple syrup and butter.”

 

Add your comment:
Desert Guide

Related Articles

Desert Staycations

The Palm Springs area is filled with resorts offering packages in the summer months to help people unwind and have fun.

Lisa Vanderpump Achieves Star Status in Palm Springs

Lisa Vanderpump, one of the stars of the 'Real Housewives of Beverly Hills', will receive the 372nd star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars July 30.

Il Corso Creates Authentic Italian Experience in Taste, Look

From its 100-year-old flooring from an Italian farmhouse to its authentic menu, Il Corso in Palm Desert has created a slice of Italy at its El Paseo location.

Air Canada Will Add New Non-stop Service to Palm Springs

Air Canada will introduce new seasonal non-stop service between Vancouver and Palm Springs International Airport beginning Dec. 18.

Jeremiah Clark Embraces Role as Traveling Musician

Jeremiah Clark prefers to travel by train, giving him a chance to see the country and bring those experiences into his music.

Promotions + Contests

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

90 Days of Summer Romantic Palm Springs Getaway 2014

Experience the beauty, romance and excitement of the Palm Springs area when you enter to be the lucky winner of this romantic couple’s getaway
90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

90 DAYS OF SUMMER Instagram Contest 2014

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!

Each month, a first place winner will be selected to win a fabulous Palm Springs weekend!And, each month, three additional runners up will be selected to win a wonderful Palm Springs area Dining certificate!
2013/14 Best of the Best

2013/14 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest

Enter your “Cutest Pet” photo in the Pets on Parade 2014 Photo Contest. Online users will be able to like the Cutest Pet photos from six (6) categories.