Friday, July 25, 2014

If You Offer Heather a Pancake, She'll Order a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

It was Wednesday.

I had the day off.

Stella’s brakes were shot and her back tire was flat.

After dropping the bike off at a repair shop, my watch said noon.  My stomach said lunch.

I ended up at the Pancake House.

How do you like the hard-boiled detective (a la Dragnet) narrative I’ve got going?  No?  Very well.

I am a big fan of breakfast.  No, wait...I am a big fan of breakfast at any time of the day.  And naturally, when I walked into The Pancake House at noon on a weekday, I assumed I’d be ordering breakfast.  I’d order the weirdest, more creative breakfast item on the menu.  That’s what I thought would happen, anyway, when I sat down and perused the menu. 

But, then I realized...breakfast at The Pancake House was, well, mundane.  Skillets, omelettes, and the like.  And honestly, I can get all that at Denny’s.

Plan B: Cheeseburger.  So, I’m looking down the list of burgers and sandwiches, and then, I see it: The Ultimate Grilled Cheese.  And I am super-intrigued.  Because there’s a lot of cojones that goes into the decision to put the word ‘ultimate’ in front of any food dish.

Three different kinds of cheese (Swiss, provolone, and Cheddar) melted between Parmesan-crusted rye bread.

Oh, be still, my cholesterol-clogged heart.

So I place my order and check out the environs while I wait.  The decor is and white gingham wallpaper dotted with cows, chickens, and old-school milk bottles, white wainscoting and chair rail, Formica tabletops, and the padded, metal-frame chairs popular in 50s-era diners.  It’s bright and clean and busy.  Waitstaff bustle about in red polos and khakis, and I can’t help but think staff uniforms could have been more creative for such a charming, cozy dining spot.

Eventually, I get my sandwich.  It looks pretty cool...except for the Ruffles-esque potato chips that come as the side.  Potato chips?!  Ugh.  Dammit.  Give me a unique coleslaw or German potato salad or sweet potato fries instead of potato chips. 

In many ways, the Ultimate Grilled Cheese missed the mark.  I loved the globby, melty cheesy inside...but the flavor of the rye completely dominated the cheese.  And while I like rye bread, that’s all I tasted.  A Dijon mustard or chipotle mayo would have gone a long way in balancing that strong flavor.  And I would have ordered extra to dip my plain-Jane chips in.

Nevertheless, I will probably try this place again.  After all, it is only one of two or three places on the island that offer breakfast.

And if you offer Heather breakfast, she’ll want to order pancakes.

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