Guest Blogger: My Roommate & iHop Lover
September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
iHop finally opened a few weeks ago and I live just a few steps away. My roommate begged me to review it, instead I let her have a go at it. Now, here’s her take on the pancake palace of suburbia.
Three months ago, I was walking back to my apartment when I saw it: the blue billboard, the white letters promising not just any pancakes but an INTERNATIONAL house of pancakes. Ladies and gentlemen, iHop was coming to Manhattan.
And by what some call targeted marketing, or destiny— whatever —the first iHop in Manhattan was opening literally two doors down from our apartment. Suddenly, my dreams of getting pancakes at 2AM in my pajamas and returning home to eat them in bed and watch “Breaking Bad” on Netflix never felt closer.
Throughout the summer, like an enamored lover who didn’t want to appear too eager, I tried to play it cool. But somehow iHop would casually creep into conversation.
“Congratulations on graduating college.”
“Thanks. Did you know there’s an iHop opening next door to my apartment?”
I wasn’t the only Manhattanite anticipating the heavenly house of pancakes. Closer to the end of the summer, when the construction was finished and the iHop started to look like an eatable establishment rather than a cinderblock graveyard, the management posted a sign on the door stating, “We are not open. Please do not come in.”
Scribbled on the piece of paper was the anguished voice of a city. “Why???”, “When will you open? Please call me!! xxx-xxx-xxxx,” “NOOOOOOO!”
“Why is everyone so being weird?” asked Eatlyse.
“It’s an international house of pancakes,” I tried explaining.
“It’s just an iHop.”
“Yes, but it’s international. That makes it like the UN of breakfast foods.”
Although Eatlyse did not share my enthusiasm, or warmed to my idea of pitching the idea to a well-known magazine she writes food reviews for, which we will simply say rhymes with “Ny-lag,” she and my other roommate agreed to accompany me to iHop.
Naturally, the best time to go to a place that serves 24-hour pancakes is midnight on a weekday.
We were promptly greeted by oldies music, manically bright lighting, and a friendly hostess who quickly seated us in a booth the size of a house. Our server, a young woman named Candy, was just as charming and quickly took our orders.
To begin, we were given a refreshing aperitif of iced tap water with a wedge of lemon. The citrusy coolness cleansed the palate, making room for the lead diva of the evening: the pancakes.
Feeling ambitious, I ordered the blueberry pancake combo, which came with eggs, hash browns, and bacon.
For those who have never visited an iHop establishment, you are presented with four different types of syrups: Butter pecan, boysenberry, blueberry, and strawberry.
I debated pouring blueberry syrup on top of my blueberry pancakes drizzled with blueberries, but the idea felt too wrought with existential questions— like the idea of topping a pizza with Bagel Bites or Google’ing “Google.”
The pancakes were dense and, well, cake-like. The sweetness of the pancakes topped with whipped cream and blueberry sauce was luckily offset with the saltiness of the bacon and hash browns. If the saltiness was too much, then there were the eggs sunny-side up, with their creamy rich yolk. All in all, it was a perfect blend of harmony. The Mozart of culinary composition, which only breakfast foods seem to reach.
The total price? $10 not including tip.
Was it worth it?
iHop has 1500 locations in all 50 states including Puerto Rico. The beauty of iHop has less to do with its menu than its accessibility.
Upon breaking the yolk on one of my eggs, I flashed back to a night when I had on a prom dress and was eating at a Denny’s at 3 in the morning with my friends, all of us looking forward to college.
I’m not the only kid who moved to New York City from places where the only late-night places were chain diners or supermarkets. Eating at iHop felt like an act of remembrance of when I and others yearned to move to the city, where taxi cabs and the Empire State Building seemed incredibly romantic, and how we now found ourselves seated in an iHop booth, a little older, still living in a terrifying and exciting city that has everything… including 24-hours pancakes.