What better way to show disdain for the dominant culture than by eating syrupy piles of gluten in the city of thin. I went out for pancakes three times with my sister on my recent visit to California. That is not counting our visit to the Danish bakery in Solvang or my pestering her to drive to The Headquarters of IHOP in Glendale.( We ate there once and the service is excellent). I am as gluten friendly as they come, having proudly spent 55 years avoiding dieting of any sort. Yet even I was put to shame by the pancakes at The Griddle Cafe in West Hollywood.
This is a place where you can truly be embarrassed to be an American. The portions are so big that I am sure there is a vomitorium located on the premises. Take a look at the biggest dinner plate you own. Now imagine a half inch thick pancake covering it, draped a bit over the sides. Add butterscotch chips, coconut, pecans, whipped cream and syrup. Lest I forget put two more half inch pancakes on top of it like a breakfast birthday cake. This is what I got.
Unless you have a wasting disease or have chemo scheduled for later in the week this is so wrong. I ate what might be considered to be one slice of the three layer cake. The rest wound up in a to go box for my brother in law, who like myself, enjoys pancakes, but had to work through our Griddle visit. For a reason I can not understand, the pancakes seem to come in threes unless you are hip enough to know better. A guy at the next table had only one Red Velvet pancake that he did not come close to finishing even though his partner took frequent bites. On the other side of us were a couple who appeared friendly but were discussing getting legal record of his court proceedings expunged so I avoided looking at them and their pancakes preferring to discover what kind of crime he was found innocent of. Alas, they gave up on their gluten far too early. The Griddle is too loud for eavesdropping, perhaps because it has a bar instead of the counter that any self respecting pancake/diner would have.. You will get a sore throat if you try to communicate over the voices of the soundly packed in hipsters catching up with their visiting relatives, braying waiters ( I saw no women employees), and loud superfluous, surrealist music. There was also a television with one of the many American sports teams running around on it.
Here is the website for The Griddle Cafe although it does not in anyway communicate the degree of overkill/disgust that the in the flesh experience will afford you. In that way, it is a food parallel to internet dating.
The to-go container was abnormally heavy, probably because I insisted we douse the pancakes with real maple syrup before we left. But better to be carrying this heft in your hands than around your belly. It wouldn’t make much difference to me since I am entirely invisible.
You may have seen the commercial where Mindy Kaling does nude yoga in the park, pigs out on whatever she wants and squeezes men’s muscles because she believes she is invisible. I am invisible because I am old and have white hair. But like Mindy, sometimes I do get seen just when I least expect it because the lights are low or someone misplaced their glasses and mistook me for a blonde. So I often resort to calling attention to myself just so people don’t trample me on the sidewalk. I did so when my sister and I walked down Rodeo Drive. This is another strange place but in a more traditional Beverly Hills kind of strange. Rodeo Drive is a block of chic shops with items priced somewhere over $1000. (that would probably be the price for a pair of sox). But the people who walk down the street do not go into the shops. They just look in the windows because we are middle class people. It is not so bad to be a middle class American tourist. There are some people from other countries who are actually shopping but they are also tourists who don’t know that they could probably get this stuff cheaper if they just waited until the season changed. Maybe they want to buy it full price because some of them were taking photos of themselves with their bags in front of the stores.
When I found myself surrounded by people who amazingly were NOT texting but taking photos, I grabbed my phone and pretended to take photos too, since I can’t see how to pull up the camera in the brilliant Californian sun. My sister kindly pointed out “The RastaVan” which was no doubt carrying music loving tourists through the neighborhood. I noticed that the windows, however did not open so we could hear the music or enjoy the aroma. I did enjoy seeing the security guard on the roof of The Cartier shop. He did not look like he had a gun, probably just had a phone like everyone else. I will tell you that lightly quilted white kimono wear is big this year as well as bo-ho flower patterns. No one walking on the street was wearing these but maybe we will, when these clothes eventually come to Marshall’s in sizes which accommodate people who eat pancakes.