Friday, August 15, 2008

Original Pancake House

Bacon Pancakes

Perhaps some of you will think it's odd that we would go to a chain restaurant by choice. To be honest, for years I never knew that the Original Pancake House was a chain. I just thought it was a couple of restaurants in Honolulu making great pancakes. Either way, the pancakes are good and we can't get enough.

For me, I'm a simple enough chap. Just a mound of macadamia nut pancakes, melted butter and maple syrup for me. I'm happy. Add on some Portuguese sausage, fried eggs and steamed white rice and I'm absolutely ecstatic. This is the kind of eating unavailable on the mainland and is part of what makes living in Hawaii so special.

Today, we've brought the entire crew down: Polly, Anna, Tilly, Michelle, Christian, Gerry, Baby Ian, Doc Rhee and The Bob, which promises a veritable smorgasbord of eating.

Macadamia Nut Pancakes

The dangerous part of their menu is their happy accommodation of pairing a short stack of pancakes (in any flavor) with your breakfast plate. That means the dream of meat, eggs, rice and pancakes is more than possible. It's absolutely necessary.

The ordering itself is a mad blur. The restaurant is packed and noisy to begin with and our cries of hunger only add to the contented cacophony that is the Original Pancake House. While the rest of our party occupies themselves with ordering, Doc Rhee and myself have been casually checking out the girl four tables to our right. She's gorgeous. A knockout. A true island sexy. But there's something "off" about her. Maybe she's too coiffed for this Kalihi crowd. Everything is just right - the makeup, the hair, the nails, the pareau. She's too perfect for the average woman. Then we notice it, the hands are just a bit large. Just a bit on the masculine side. Aw shucks, we knew it was too good to be true.

Tilly and Polly getting ready to grind.

Hawaiian Islands Coffee Company brewed coffee

Many people know that I do coffee for a living and that my preference is to drink the best quality coffees in the world and that I have no problem poo-poo-ing on places that serve crappy coffee. But what I should stress is that coffee needs context. If I'm ordering a coffee from a coffeeshop then my expectations are severely different than a cup from a place like the Original Pancake House. I know it's not great coffee. Chances are that it's going to be barely passable. I'm pretty sure it's going to be utter crap.

But sometimes you like utter crap - especially when it's mixed with sugar, cream and stacks of butter-drenched macadamia nut pancakes. There's a warm pairing of coffee with sweet stuff and that's all you want: the semblance of coffee. And keep it coming, please.

Fried Eggs and Corned Beef Hash

I won't try to include a paragraph for each of these images. There's just too much. It's not fancy food. It's simple food. Simple food to satisfy the soul. It's delicious.

But I did try a taste of just about everything here. The bacon: crispy and delicious. Portuguese sausage: just as a remember. Scrambled eggs: not bad. Fried eggs: good. Pass me more bacon and bacon pancakes, please. Polly on the other hand just couldn't get enough of the coconut syrup.

Spinach Omelette and Hash Brown

Portuguese Sausage Omelette and rice

And while I prefer the macadamia nut pancakes, Gerry ordered the bacon pancakes and those were absolutely stellar. Imagine soft, fluffy buttermilk pancakes mixed with bits of bacon throughout. Lord Have Mercy. Too good.

The omelettes were good but they've got a unique way of fluffing the eggs into a puffy texture that I'm not too fond of. Personally speaking, I would have preferred my Portuguese omelette with a healthy dose of chili, cheddar and onions (with Tabasco, of course)

Fried Eggs, Portuguese Sausage and Rice.

Portuguese Sausage Omelette

Bacon and Scrambled Eggs

The Bob and The Rhee eying other meals.

The Bob grinds what we can't.

Finally, the one thing that I had forgotten was that The Bob could always be depended upon to consume what the rest of us couldn't. He didn't disappoint. The man is a machine.

The Original Pancake House
Waiakamilo Shopping Center
1414 Dillingham Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96817

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