The raw materials
When I was a kid in Minneapolis, a visit to IHOP (or its feuding competitor, Perkins Pancake House) was a rare and much-to-be anticipated occasion, and one of the very few meals eaten outside of the house or the confines of the backyard. When my twin brothers and I got there, we never stopped to examine the menu, because our order was predetermined: pigs in blankets.
It’s 2 p.m. on a weekday — any hipsters in the house? Oh, I think I see some.
A new IHOP has opened in the East Village on 14th Street amid ridiculous amounts of hoopla. (Also — it’s not really the East Village if it’s on the north side of 14th Street, right?) Every blog and board has hyped the opening as if it were the second coming of … Frodo, and predicted crowds of homesick hipsters have descended on the neighborhood as if it had been suddenly transformed into Cleveland, or maybe Sandusky, Ohio.
Well, I got news for you. I went at the regulation hipster breakfast hour of 2 p.m., and there was no line outside. In fact, the place was half-filled. Now, I’m not sure what a hipster looks like, but the crowd inside was not them. It looked more like peasants from Queens or New Jersey, or maybe tourists.
No line outside — in fact, there was even a parking spot right in front.
Soon the entire world will be covered in caramel.
The menu was a lot more elaborate and colorful than I expected. And there were few unembellished choices, most plates consisting of profuse, calorific, and sometimes incongruous combinations of things. Pancakes came in dizzying multiples with fruit inside them, preserves, and whipped cream, among other things, splattered on top. A separate menu urged you to flood everything with caramel. Yuck!
There were hamburgers, sandwiches, soups, soups and sandwiches, crepes, omelets — all of it comparatively more expensive by a full increment than it had been not too long ago. I searched for pigs with blankets, at first casually, savoring every cacophonous (or maybe I mean just “caca”) page. Then I looked methodically, and after that, frantically, but there was no trace of my childhood fave.
T.S., I said under my breath, I’m going to make the fuckers myself.
The bottomless coffee service in the bronze carafe, at least, remained the same.
Roll, spliff, roll
Accordingly, I ordered a short stack of buttermilk pancakes ($5.49, very hard to find on the menu), and a side of pork sausages ($1.79, not on the menu at all).
There were three pancakes and only two sausages, so I set the third pancake aside for later. Then I grasped a flapjack, stuck a sausage inside, and rolled it like a fatty. I sluiced it with syrup and dug in. Still superb!
A near-perfect facsimile!
IHOP Store #3357
235-237 East 14th Street
Like this post? Take a gander at the rest of our blog.
Follow us on Twitter if you dare:
@robertsietsema [Robert Sietsema]
@chantytown [Chantal Martineau]
@ldshockey [Lauren Shockey]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 21, 2011