This week I reached out for a White Chocolate Raspberry Pancake Breakfast, new from America's 24-hour diner, Denny's, with 1,700 restaurants coast to coast, top and bottom.
This big'un breakfast is part of Denny's wintry "Seasonal Menu," which includes Cranberry Orange Pancakes, Pumpkin Cream Pancakes and Cinnamon Sugar Pancakes. I went with White Chocolate Raspberry because I'm a sucker for anything chocolate, even white chocolate, which isn't really chocolate because it doesn't have cocoa solids. I'm here to eat, not argue semantics. Save that for Alton Brown, but expect a lecture.
Here's what's in the White Chocolate Raspberry Pancake Breakfast: two fluffy buttermilk pancakes packed with white chocolate chips, topped with vanilla cream, fresh raspberries, and shaved white chocolate swirls. The combo package comes with two eggs (I picked scrambled with cheese), hash browns and your choice of meats (two slices of bacon).
Total calories: 1,400 (warned ya). Fat grams: 65. Sodium: 2,406. Carbs: 147 g. Dietary fiber: 6 g. Protein: 35 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $8.79. Your mileage may vary.
Like I said, this is a big boy breakfast, so you might want to wear your big boy pants...you know, the ones with the stretch waistband.
Denny's starts with its signature buttermilk pancakes. Denny's upped its pancake game last year with a new recipe that made them 50 percent fluffier. Dilly dilly!
The white chocolate hotcakes were gooey inside with lots of melted chocolate chips. The vanilla cream was bounce-off-the-walls sweet, and the ripe, firm raspberries were humongous. They were fresh, too, not shaken from a defrosted two-ton bag from Costco. Love, love, love raspberries, the unsung hero of the entire berry brigade.
I poured maple syrup on my pancakes because once I cross the 1,300-calorie breakfast barrier, what's the difference? I'm already hating myself.
It may take two hands to handle a Whopper, but it takes two plates to serve this breakfast spread, which delivers quality, quantity, value, and convenience. (Ready when you are, Mr. DeMille!) Denny's is open 24/7/365 — even Christmas and New Year's Eve and Day. (I don't know why they have locks on the front door, either.)
Trivia: It's beginning to look a lot like flapjacks
What is Denny's biggest sales day? It took me three guesses, after Mother's Day and Father's Day. Answer: Christmas. Denny's serves 1.5 million underrated, totally acceptable turkey dinners with good-sized portions and all the trimmings on Christmas Day.
Good thing I did Christmas at Denny's one year. I was out of town, and the Denny's was within walking distance. Without me, they would have served only 1,499,999 turkey dinners, which doesn't sound nearly as impressive.
Ken Hoffman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook. To have all CultureMap stories, including Ken's weekly Drive-Thru Gourmet column, delivered to your inbox in one Daily Digest every morning, sign up here.