Happy Trails to You Until We Eat Again

November 5, 2019

 • BY Rob Ford

I'm not a food challenge kind of guy. For a newspaper story, I once dressed as Santa and ate "firebrand spice" chili to get Santa Claus’ name on a wall of fame. And sure: A friend and I may have been responsible for amendments to a former Lafayette restaurant's all-you-can-eat sushi lunch. But scaling multi-pound mountains of meat or putting away pizzas the size of a table aren’t my thing.

I raise the point not to suggest any such novelty challenge awaits at the Trails, a banquet facility in West Lafayette that has doubled as a Sunday-brunch fixture for years. It's only to prepare you for the perhaps disappointing news that I failed to sample everything in a single visit for this article. (Notable misses: A handful of Italian entrees, made-to-order crepes with apples, blueberries or cherries, and … well, all but three of the nearly dozen dessert options.)

It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, or tasty options, in a room that overlooks the Trails’ rustic, wooden setting. Although the cold and snow now will afford a beautiful winter view, the forested backdrop for brunch is also a good place to walk off at least a few of the calories from what you’ve enjoyed inside. The Trails also does a fine job of separating smaller parties at larger table by using slatted tabletop dividers.

Of course, there are breakfast staples (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, French toast), with rotating entrees and vegetables mixed in. Macaroni and cheese might seem like it's there for kids; tell yourself that as you enjoy that perfectly thickened sauce.

There’s a bar from which you can get champagne, mimosas, Bloody Marys and screwdrivers at a nominal cost. From the salad bar, I enjoyed a Caesar salad with the right amount of anchovy zing to it, alongside a dinner roll so dangerously light and sweet you could load up on too many and miss out on other good eats. Cuts were prime at the carving station (prime rib with a sinus-stirring horseradish sauce was my choice), and I also sampled the made-to-order omelet station. The Trails staff is smart to serve the omelets at a size that satisfies without shutting your stomach down to enjoy more.

And with all the cobblers, cakes, cookies and more, I had to fulfill my duty to sample several desserts. It’s hard to imagine that the Trails doesn’t offer a cheesecake flavor you like; the dulce de leche was divine. The carrot cake offered a nice, sharp counterpoint to more conventional flavors. We were going to stop but couldn't overlook an advisory of fresh cinnamon rolls on the way. Trust me: If you’re going to overindulge a bit at the Trails (and why wouldn’t you?), there is no better way to punctuate your visit than with these warm, gargantuan delights.

IF YOU GO

Sunday Brunch

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday
  • Reservations available online or by calling 765- 742-6478.
  • Adults: $18.50
  • Children (ages 4–10): $11
  • Children (ages 3 and under): Free9

HOLIDAY BRUNCH HOURS/PRICES

  • Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day
  • Reservations available at 9:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m., and noon, 1:30 and 2 p.m. on each holiday.
  • Adults: $20.95
  • Children: $12
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Rob Ford

Rob Ford

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Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.

Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.

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