food road trip: two words....cheeseburger omelette
I'm finally at the end of the seemingly endless summer road trip it feels like I've been on. Granted there were a few day breaks in between, but still, long and lots of time on airplanes for sure. But before blowing this Texas pop stand we need to fuel up for the ride home and what better way to satisfy a group of peoples differing tastes than grabbing breakfast at an IHOP. I mean, they have egg and pancake dishes galore which appear to cater whatever appetite you are bringing.
Okay, I actually picked this spot as I was given two choices, this one and Taco Cabana. But I just couldn't do Mexican for breakfast and I hadn't been to an IHOP in years! Hello rooty tooty fresh 'n fruity!
One thing you can count on with IHOP (or any chain restaurant) is a food gimmick and scanning their current, overly large menu, they don't disappoint this time either. In fact, both me and the SO zero in on a couple of items in particular and looking at their menu pics (love it when you can see what the food looks like before hand) we decide to throw calorie counts out the window. They don't serve food on planes anymore so why not fill up. Yeah, rationalization.
I couldn't think of a better way to get everything bad for me all in one plate than with this monstrosity.
A cheeseburger omelette!! That's a four egg omelette wrapped around ground beef, tomatoes, onions and hash browns then topped with more ground beef, melted American cheese, ketchup, mustard and pickles. It was bigger than it looks and more than enough food for two people. The only way to start was to just dive in with knife and fork and try to get a little bit of everything in one bite. And what can I say, it tasted just like a freakin' cheeseburger with an egg on it! Paying the upcharge to add an egg to a burger or sandwich is all the rage here in SF and it seems IHOP has taken this to its full potential and truly mashed up breakfast and lunch in one tidy burger/egg plate.
I know there are folks out there who put ketchup on eggs so that doesn't seem so out of the ordinary. Neither does the meat, cheese and potatoes--that is kind of breakfast hash like. But the mustard and pickles are the wildcard here and for whatever reason, they weirdly work nicely to give it that full on cheeseburger flavor, just without all the bread and lettuce. Take away the hash browns and this is a total Atkins paleo breakfast. What I'm saying is, we liked it way better than we probably should have, pickles and all.
Since this was IHOP after all, we couldn't resist a side of pancakes, but not just any kind.
Red velvet pancakes with cream cheese icing, powdered sugar and whipped cream. They tasted just like red velvet cake, sans all the extra icing. The flavor of the pancacke was spot on as a riff on the cake version. Looks like IHOP is going two for two today. While the cream cheese icing squeezed on top was real cream cheese, shockingly, it was super super sweet so they over did the sugar ALOT. And with the powdered sugar, it was a bit much. Fortunately, it was just on the one on top. The other ones I added butter and syrup like regular folk and as a pancake, it works pretty well too. Then, this is their specialty so not much of a surprise. I will say, it was supposed to be four in a stack according to the menu but we only got three so minus points on the shortage. Though, we were pretty full after this and the omelette so I let it go without a fuss. I know, so unlike me.
IHOP did a good job on both of these as they taste exactly like what they are and what they are versions of. After giving both of them some thought (it was a long plane ride) I realized they nailed the taste because it is what they do. A large chain like this tests out dishes ad nauseam before rolling them out to all the locations and I'm guessing IHOP is no different. These probably went through taste test after taste test to get just right, and poof--an omelette that tastes like a cheeseburger and pancakes like red velvet cake.
Sure, this isn't some high falutin' eating, it's basic breakfast at a chain people. Sometimes there is something to be said for that as you know what you are gonna get. And even when they do throw a curve ball that seems weird--eggs and pickles!--you still know it will taste exactly like what it says it is. There's a reason they call if comfort food, it is familiar and every now and then that is a good thing to just ease into and enjoy without out the frilly puffery---and judgement.