26 October 2011

I Hop, U Hop and we all fall down

Preface: I know that this post flies in the face of several previous ones taking issue with my weight and my current dietary terribleness. that's fine and I'll address my terrible behaviour in an upcoming post that I will likely call "Matt falls off the wagon" or "What is this wagon and why is it so tipsy?".

I woke up last week with a case of the Sunday-morning blues and decided I needed a deeply spiritual experience. We all get spiritual in different ways and my way is a luxurious breakfast in the grand style.

Coincidentally (but not fortunately as it turns out) an IHOP has recently opened half a block from my house. I had never been inside one and suspected it of being sort of a poor-man's Denny's, unless of course the poor man were told he needed to pay (but I'll get to that later).

IHOP's menu advertises "healthy choice" options sparesly nestled between their sugar-y, gut-busting bacon-wrapped breakfast options. These "healthy" menu items perform the same function as the plastic kale you sometimes see between feeding troughs at an all-you-can-eat buffet; that is, they're present to make the menu greener but you're not really supposed to eat them.

As I pondered the menu I imagined an IHOP regular doing the same. Even though he doesn't order the heart-healthy omelette and instead opts for the baconated bacon bacon pancakes with extra butter his mind is soothed by the fact that IHOP cares enough about his health to offer restraint suffocating between two family-sized mega-meals.

"Hi hon what'll it be", whoa. I must have drifted off. The waitress before me looks bored and just slightly preoccupied. Still, we're off to a roaring start. I love diners where the waitress calls me "hon".

"I'll have the lean egg-white platter" I anounce. Suddenly her face isn't quite so cheery. "You know that's made with egg whites right?" "yes. It's right there in the title." "I mention it because most people don't like egg-whites" "Well I do." "Did you want artificially sweetened syrup?" "No thanks" "I only mention it because people who order the healthy choice…." "nope, regular syrup is fine" At this she stops writing, cocks her eyebrow at an impossible angle and turns away as if to say "I get all the weirdos".

The coffee was bitter, tasteless and watery stuff but I really didn't mind. Like a true Vancouverite I can talk coffee snobbery with the best of them but secretly, terrible diner coffee is a nostalgic teleport that whisks me back to unforgivably long, care-free and lazy breakfast conversations in Kingston Ontario with Mr. E.

In short order the meal was unceremoniously dumped on my table. As I was about to take my first bite of the eggs I felt eyes and glanced up to see my waitress across the room. She had found a spot far enough away so as not to be hovering but still, obviously, maintaining a direct line of sight; Steeling herself for a moment of ultimate I-told-you-so victory.

Sure-enough the egg-whites were terrible. That's not a property of egg-whites though. I'll have you know that I make a very decent egg-white omelette; No, these were just done terribly. The pancakes were undercooked too and didn't hold together at all. It was like eating a bowl of soggy oatmeal. At least the coffee was still terrible.

Afterwards the bill for my runny egg-whites and pile of barely sufficient pancakes came to $15+Tax. Unbelievable.

Somebody tell the dutch: The international pancake market is ripe for the taking.


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