Saturday, January 09, 2010

Thing That Need Not Be: IHOP To Go

Rolled into the IHOP parking lot this morning and thought "Wow! A parking space closest to the door! Right on!" (It's not right in front of the doors since the building was situated to look good from the street, even though it's not on the street and it's not a pedestrian friendly... well, none of the city is pedestrian friendly, but I digress...

It was then that I noticed the sign indicating that the space was reserved for "To Go Orders" Really, America? IHOP To Go?

First off, what is IHOP? IHOP is overpriced small portions of food that you can frankly make at home really easily.

Krusteaz Mix, Milk and an Egg. Eggs in a pan. Folgers. Peel off some bacon slices, defrost some hash browns and sausage. Turn every radio in your house to a different talk show, the boringer the better, and turn them all up really loud. See? The IHOP experience.

But seriously, you go to IHOP when you want to just hang out, eat breakfast and let someone else clean up the dishes but you don't want "Moons Over Mihammy" or a "Superbird." Mmmm... Superbird. That's what we did, we wanted to talk, to spend some time together as a family on a day when we didn't have a lot of other commitments or things to rush to, in a town that has exactly three options for non-Asian breakfasts.

To my knowledge, IHOP don't have any signature dishes (or at least none they strongly promote... Even "Come Hungry, Leave Happy" (their slogan) can be found in church bulletins and chess club flyers all over Google and could just as easily promote the minibar at a hotel or free sample Saturdays at Costco. As far the experience - it's nothing more than a homogenized chain of breakfast kitchens. Clean, safe, predictable, forgettable. Nothing wrong with that (except the forgettable part), I have a particular place in my heart for IHOP because my parents told me stories of some nice employees in one in Seattle when mom was pregnant with me, or I had just been born or something - I think there was one pretty close to their house that they went to pretty regularly. And the food is tasty, but it's nothing extremely special.

So what's the point of To Go? It's not as convenient as McDonald's where you don't even have to get out of your car, though I suppose McDonald's won't serve you a McGriddle after 10:30 am. And I've already covered how the food is stuff you can make at home pretty easily. The only reason for IHOP is it's a good place to sit around a table and talk, so what are you going to do, sit in your car and scarf down the pancakes in silence? Maybe you are after one of their few specialty items, like the 1200 calorie (2800g of sodium) New York Cheesecake Pancakes and you're so hard-driving that you can't stop to dine, I really hope you're on your way to your cardiologist's office.