Here at The Worley Gig, we are always on the hunt for cool Pink Things to bring our readers, and here is a good one. The Yucaipa-based Gingerbread Shop was spotted by me a few days after Christmas at downtown Riverside’s Festival of Lights, where they’ve parked for at least the last three years. The Google informs me that this Bright Pink A-frame pop-up bakery is an offshoot of a bakery at Santa’s Village (a small park with kiddie rides that I recall visiting as a child), and for a time was a fixture at the Inland Center in San Bernardino. The shop serves up delicious desserts, including cinnamon rolls, apple crisp and, of course, gingerbread cake and gingerbread men, as well as hot beverages. The Gingerbread Shop is located on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall, on the north side of Mission Inn Avenue. Unfortunately, the Festival of Lights runs only through January 4th, 2014, so you’ll have to wait for next year to check it out!
East Villagers rejoice: the first ever downtown location of the International House of Pancakes (aka The IHOP) has finally opened as of last weekend. I made my maiden voyage to the hallowed House of Pancakes earlier today, accompanied by friends Nadia and Mark, who, like me, are serious pancake lovers. We arrived at about 10:45 AM and were advised there would be about a 20 minute wait for a table. Not bad, considering the inside waiting area was packed, with more hungry people congregated on the street out front like it was “Occupy Wall Street” or something. But we found a space to wait comfortably, perched on the generous-sized brick lip of the front windows, as we passed time jabbering excitedly while intently studying the “Carry- out” menus we had snatched from the front counter so we could plan out what we might want to eat in advance of being seated. Multi-tasking! As promised, in 20 minutes we were inside and seated in the quieter, rear area of the restaurant at a spacious booth! Score!
Seriously, there is almost too much stuff on this menu — it goes on for pages and pages — so they don’t make it easy to decide. Menu highlights include: Stuffed French Toast Combo ($8.49), Bacon Temptation Omelette ($11.49), and a variety of combo platters that include any number of the following: eggs, bacon and/or sausage and/or ham, hash brown and pancakes (priced in the range of $9 – 10) so you can pretty much tailor make your breakfast to your specific cravings and degree of hunger. Both Mark and I decided on the Breakfast Sampler ($9.99): 2 Eggs, 2 Bacon Strips, 2 Link Sausage, 2 Pieces of Ham, Hash Browns and 2 Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes — which we customized by swapping out the buttermilk pancakes for “fancy pancakes” for an up-charge of $2.00 (my choice: Chocolate Chip Pancakes; Mark’s Choice: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes). Nadia, being a tiny person and less of a chow hound, chose the simple Double Blueberry Pancakes ($7.99) with side of Bacon. A carafe of unlimited hot coffee for the table is $1.99 per person.
Service was a little on the slow side, but we cut our server (Joyce) some serious slack because it was just nuts in there, plus she was extra nice and extra careful to get our order correct. Everything was delicious, well-prepared and it tasted like you want IHOP food to taste! When I go again though — which I will! — I will just get regular pancakes, because adding the sweetness of Chocolate Chip Pancakes to Eggs and Sausage covered with ketchup was a little overboard, even for me.
There are full menus for seniors (+55 — just five more years until I qualify!) and kids (12 and under). If you are one of those killjoys who insists on eating egg white omelettes (note: this is how IHOP chooses to spell Omelet) and healthy crap like that, be assured that IHOP offers menu options for you under the “Simple & Fit” section. As we departed from a successful Breakfast Adventure, close to 12 Noon, we overheard the hostess say that the wait was now around 45 minutes, so the earlier you get there, the better!
The IHOP is located at 235 East 14th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues on the North Side of the Block). Open 24 Hours! Phone 212-388-1499