Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Denny’s

6441 S Lindberg Blvd

St. Louis, MO

http://www.dennys.com/

Yeah, Denny’s.

Saturday arrived, cold, damp, windy. The kind of day where you’d just as soon nap as otherwise participate. After our routine chores and duties in the morning, Angel headed to PetSmart with Pointy (the min-pin mix). I stayed at the house and took care of the other dogs, which consisted mostly of me napping.

By the time I woke up Angel was home, Pointy wasn’t. She’d found a home at last. In her place was Checkers, another female. Checkers has lived her whole life in a kennel and thus lacks social skills. That doesn’t mean she’s aggressive, she just doesn’t know how to behave around other dogs, people and houses. Angel will fix that soon enough.

We piled into the family truckster and hit the road. Angel was in charge of driving and picking the destination. As we got there both Adam and I dropped behind Angel as we approached the door. “Why do I always have to go in first?” She asked snippily. (she’d been a bit snippy and snarky the whole trip.) “Because you say “Three” better than we do.” I answered, she looked at me quizzically. As we stepped in the door the hostess looked at her and as if on cue asked “How many please?” Adam snickered I smirked, Angel responded “Three”.

“Told you so.” I nudged Angel. Adam added “Good job mom!”


The Place:

Denny’s has been around since the 50’s. They’ve got fifteen hundred locations world-wide, including New Zealand, Qatar and Japan. This one happened to be across from the mall. Not exactly an exotic location, but it was considerably closer than the one in Auckland (8074 miles). The restaurant was clean, lightly crowded and well staffed. We were seated at a table and asked for drinks. The shiny, colorful menus were dropped in front of us by a young lady with a genuine smile.

The carpet was dark, ubiquitous, there was waist-high, light wood paneling on some of the walls. Above the paneling in the main dining area the walls were painted a comfortable hunter green. The walls sported dozens of various framed prints without an obvious underlying theme. Our table was not too near any children so it was a comfortable location.

The menu came in two pieces, the old familiar wall-to-wall one and a second card celebrating “Baconalia!” a celebration of bacon. It was impossible to not drool on this laminated menu. Bacon Meatloaf, Triple Bacon Sampler, Bacon Flapjacks, Ultimate Bacon Breakfast, a BBBLT, and to top it off, the Maple Bacon Sundae. Yeah, Ice cream with real bacon chunks and maple syrup. I was only surprised that they didn’t offer Fargginay’s ‘Bacōn’ a pricey bacon-scented cologne I'd heard about recently.

The Food:Link

None of us took the bait, we stuck to the regular menu. There was quite enough to choose from there. I was still in the mood for pancakes so I settled for a ‘build your own’ grand slam. Two eggs, hash browns, two slices of bacon and two buttermilk pancakes*. Adam chose the ‘Grand Slamwich’, scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, sausage and cheese on potato bread, with hash browns on the side. Angel had said she was very hungry after a full day of doggy duties, so she went for it full throttle, country fried steak with green beans and mashed potatoes, and “could I have some extra gravy with that?” which also came with garlic toast.

We waited, mostly discussing important stuff, like was 'Law and Order UK' going to be on later. If you haven’t seen this incarnation of the popular franchise TV show, you should try very hard to do so. It’s as tough and gritty as the original, but with thicker accents and in the courtroom the lawyers and judges wear white wigs. We remembered after a bit that the season finale had been on the week before, so we’d be relegated to reruns at best.

The food arrived, Angel got two slabs of CF steak, and a soup bowl full of more gravy. Adam’s came all on one plate, mine on two. Pancakes on one, everything else on the other.

Then the waitress, sweet and friendly as she was, offended me. Right in front of my nose she set down a ramekin filled with maple syrup. I gagged, wretched and made the customary, indecipherable choking noises. “Would you like some syrup?” She asked after she had set it down. Angel giggled in sympathy. I shook my head as if it were on fire or covered with cockroaches. The waitress looked confused and in her own ignorance even more so as I pushed the vile stuff toward her with one finger like it contained toxic waste. “You want me to take it away?” She sheepishly asked, still pretending to not understand. I nodded violently. She complied and I waited for the sickening stench to clear.**

We dug in and thoroughly enjoyed. Even the usually opinion-lacking Adam spoke highly of the hash browns. I pushed the culinary edge and smeared some strawberry jelly on my slightly dry pancakes. I chopped up the two over-easy eggs and stirred them together with the crispy hash browns, using the bacon as the spatula. Angel stuck a straw in her gravy and snorted it like cocaine off a stripper's belly…. Okay, I’m lying. She just poured the gravy over everything. If I were covered in gravy she might like me more. It's not like I haven't entertained the notion.

I took a couple of sips of the tea, or ‘swill’ as it closely resembled. During one of the waitress’ walk-bys I flagged her down for coffee, Angel made the switch as well.

Overall the food was very good. The tea was awful, and Angel didn’t care for her garlic toast. It looked like an afterthought and was covered with a significant dusting of black grill-ash. I couldn’t get all happy about the pancakes. They were not terrible, but they obviously had a dose of sugar in the recipe, something I don’t really care for. I like my pancakes to be more savory, not pastry-like. I put the jelly on them partially to mask the raw sugar taste. The bacon was okay, but just that. The best bacon I’ve found is at Kim’s Café in Desoto. (see previous review) Hers is light, fragile and crispy. Denny’s was thicker and flat and a little leathery. But even mediocre bacon is still better than most other foods.

Summary:

The bill came in at thirty two + bucks, not too bad. The place was clean, the staff was great (except for the syrup snafu, which Angel says doesn’t count since they might not have known about my chronic dislike for the stuff). The food was better than many places for what it was. Since the passage of the recent smoking ban, places like this are starting to smell different. Instead of the underside of an old ashtray this particular location was starting to smell more like bacon, and syrup. If the syrup stench eventually wins out, I may never go back.

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* For those of you who recall that I am ‘watching my numbers’, relax. I’d been a good boy all week, very little fatty meet, checking labels, switching my weekday lunches and evening snacks to a whole-grain oat (plain Cheerios) fruit, nut and raisin ‘trail mix’. I’ve added fruits and veggies to nearly every meal, etc. I haven’t given up the bad stuff completely, and don’t plan to. I was raised in the rural south, you may as well take the oxygen out of the air. I have though cut down, a lot. Angel even prides herself on making ‘Dennis-friendly’ meals.

** Maple Syrup

Those of you who have been long time fans of this blog are well aware of my aversion to maple syrup. Those of you who are not should check the full story here where I discuss it in full, glorious detail.

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