Friday, October 06, 2017

Pretzel Perfection

Update Review, October 2017

Several years ago, I wrote about Pretzel Perfection, a gluten-free pretzel manufacturer that made flavored pretzel sticks that I kinda liked, although they were not really like normal pretzels (which, I consider a good thing).  I appear to not have been the only happy consumer, as their product lines have expanded dramatically since then.

They still offer interesting varieties of savory sticks (and they ditched the one flavor I didn't like), and the sweet clusters I was never able to find, but have now added more sweets, in the form of white chocolate covered "Twists", in decadent flavors like raspberry truffle, lemon cheesecake, and english toffee.

And ... they've added seasonal products.  Some I don't quite approve of, based only on concept (yes, they have pumpkin spice twists, sigh), but others sound great (egg nog clusters!).  I was able to try one of these new seasonal items, Cool Peppermint Twists, around the holidays.
Cool Peppermint Twists.
"Gluten free pretzel Twists covered in creamy white chocolate infused with all natural holiday peppermint flavor."

I was pretty happy when I saw these on the shelf at the grocery store in my parent's hometown.  I knew that I liked Pretzel Perfection products already, and, uh, coat things in white chocolate and add peppermint, and I'm even happier.  Dessert pretzels!

These were ... almost good?

The pretzels were just as I remembered, crunchy in a different way, but, good.  The white chocolate coating was applied evenly and all pretzels had a nice layer.  The coating was creamy.  But ... there was something in the flavor of the coating that didn't quite do it for me.  It tasted like fake sweet peppermint, like sugar-free peppermint syrup.  This makes no sense, since, the peppermint comes from peppermint oil, and there is only real sugar in it, but, that is what I tasted.

I still liked them, but there was just this slight hint of not-quite-real that I wasn't a fan of.

Original Review, June 2015

Pretzel Perfection is a gluten-free snack food manufacturer.  I'm not gluten-free myself, but I love snacks, so, I was excited to try them out.

They make two product lines.  The first is their signature "Twice-Baked Pretzel Sticks", which look like any old pretzel sticks, but are available in five different flavors (they don't seem to make them plain at all).  The other is Clusters, which are sweet options, basically pretzel bits covered chocolate, with things like nuts and dried fruit mixed in, and even one version, dubbed "Ultimate Clusters" with butter toffee, peanut butter chips, and butter toffee peanuts!

Sadly, I never found the Clusters, but I've tried several flavors of the Sticks.

The pretzels themselves were far more crispy than I am used to, seriously crunchy.  I originally thought that perhaps they were stale or something since they were so hard, but, they didn't taste stale, so I guess not.  Plus, every flavor I tried was like this.  I think the unique texture must be the gluten-free aspect?  Regardless, I actually liked the crunch.  And the flavors were good.

I'd certainly eat these again, and will keep my eyes on the lookout for the flavors I never got a chance to try, and those Clusters!
Chipotle BBQ Sticks.
"All-natural, gluten-free pretzel sticks with a blend of earthy smoked jalapeno and southwestern spices."

These delivered in the flavor department, and had some serious kick!  They tasted more like Worcheshire than bbq however.  I didn't mind, and thought they were quite tasty, but the flavor wasn't quite what I was expecting giving the product name.

I really, really liked both the flavor and texture of the sticks.  Hmm, gluten-free pretzels, who knew?
Tomato Basil Sticks.
"All-natural, gluten-free pretzel sticks with a blend of tomato, basil, tangy balsamic vinegar and spices."

These ones were also really flavorful. You could taste the tomato and basil, and a touch of sweetness from the balsamic, yet they were certainly savory.  Incredibly munchable, and far more interesting than a bag of chips.

I really liked these too, and would gladly get another bag.
Lemon Toffee Sticks.
"All-natural, gluten-free pretzel sticks with a tangy blend of lemon, old-fashioned toffee and rosemary."

I was most excited for these, after really liking the others, since these sounded sweet and dessert-like.  But ... they didn't deliver the toffee as promised.  I'm not sure I tasted lemon either.  Certainly not "tangy" as described.  I did taste the rosemary.

I still loved the crunch from the pretzel, the texture, etc, but I was expecting a sweet treat, and was thus disappointed.  My least favorite variety.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Bob's Donuts

OMG, donuts.  Yes, I have a label on my blog for donuts.  Yes, I eat donuts at least once a week.  I really like donuts.

I'm willing to try donuts from pretty much anywhere, they don't need to be high-end, fancy flavor, artisan donuts (a la the much hyped Dynamo Donuts, or my favorite Johnny donuts).  I even like fast food ones like from Super Duper Burger ... although, sorry, I'm not a lover of Krispy Kreme, and I can't stand some donuts, like the awful ones my office used to get from Posh Bakery.

I'd wanted to try Bob's Donuts for years, literally.  Located on Polk Street in Nob Hill, open 24 hours.  A very simple, classic, donut shop.

Bob's is known for their ridiculous massive donut that could feed an army, but also, for just having really, really good donuts.  These aren't fancy donuts, no bacon, miso, or other fusion ingredients here.  The only gimicky thing they do is the single huge glazed donut.
The Big Donut: Chocolate Glazed with Sprinkles.  $8.
"The Big Kahuna, the Belly Buster, the Scale Breaker, whatever you want to call it, it's the BIG ONE. This bad boy is what our Challenge contenders are faced against and it's always ready for battle. You have a choice for any traditional ring toppings; chocolate frosting, crumbs, sprinkles, maple, or just plain ole glazed. "

This is not a photo where perspective is out to deceive.  This donut is indeed just that much bigger than those on the bottom shelf.

This is the famous Bob's Big Donut.  Bob's donuts are so good that they don't need a gimmick like a big donut to get hype and draw crowds.  But they have it anyway.  This donut is the object of the Donut Challenge.  The goal is simple: one person tries to consume the entire thing in 2 minutes.  If you succeed, you get your $8 back (and a T-Shirt, and your name put on their wall of fame).  3 minutes gets you the shirt and fame, but, you still have to pay.

I don't actually want to do that challenge, but, it would be fun to share one of these sometime, and carve it up like a cake.  Or ... waffle it?
Signature Pink Box!
One day I was at my desk at work, and an e-mail popped up: "Extra Bob's Donuts, 3rd floor".  I literally stopped everything I was doing an ran downstairs.  Finally!

They come in classic pink donut boxes.
Since then, I've made it a point to visit the shop myself, with large windows facing the sidewalk where you can admire the freshest items, still cooling on trays.

And, because I work somewhere awesome, e-mails like that first one show up fairly regularly, so I've now had a large assortment of Bob's donuts.  And, I endorse them, particularly the jelly donut, and any of the raised varieties.


Bob's makes all the standard styles of donuts: cake and raised ring donuts, and also giant bars.
Maple Glazed Buttermilk Bar (cake).
I loved this one, which surprised me, since I don't tend to prefer cake style donuts.  The maple glaze was sweet and crunchy, and I really liked the texture of the donut itself.  One of the best cake donuts I have ever had.

Update (Jan 2020): I continue to genuinely really enjoy this bar. Lovely sweetness from the maple glaze, nice buttermilk tang, great texture.  Always pleased to snag one of these.
Old Fashioned Bar.
I tried a small chunk of the old fashioned bar, just for completeness, but it was the least interesting of the donuts that I tried.

A standard cake donut, nice glaze, slight tang.
Maple Glaze Custard Filled Bar.
 I moved on to a raised bar, with a maple glaze.  It was light, soft, fluffy, classic raised donut.  The maple glaze was well distributed, sweet, and tasty.  But what I didn't realize is that this wasn't just a glazed bar ... it was a filled glazed bar! 
Cream Filling.
Inside was thick bavarian cream custard.  Well filled, nicely distributed throughout the bar.  A co-worker of mine loves filled donuts, so I handed this one off to him.  He took one bite and declared "that is a really good donut!"  He doesn't usually get very excited about food, so, this was saying something.

I wasn't that into it, the bavarian cream in particular just seemed heavy and not very flavorful.

I also tried a chocolate topped cream filled bar, and liked it even less, although I know that classic ream and chocolate "boston cream" is a style many enjoy.


Bob's makes excellent raised donuts.  They are always light, fluffy, and airy.  My absolute favorites.
Raised Chocolate, Raised Glazed.
"A fluffy ring with a glazed frosting coating. Basically, the vanilla of donuts. It's not wild or creative. It's as simple as it gets. But sometimes, simple is all you want. "

Their description really sums this up well.  It is just a glazed donut.  Nothing more.  Except, well, its a really, really good glazed donut.

The raised dough is light and fluffy, not too greasy.  It is drenched in glaze, which is sweet and sticky, and coats the entire thing.  One of the best glazed donuts I've ever had, and, I might even pick this over a more decadent fritter in the future.

I've had these many times, and they continue to impress.  Light and airy, not too fried, always perfectly glazed.
Raised Chocolate.
"If the glazed ring is the vanilla, then the chocolate covered ring is the... well, chocolate. Ok, lame comparison, but come on, it's a fluffy ring with chocolate on it. What more could you want?"

One day, I shared a raised chocolate with a co-worker.  Again, same good base raised donut, with delicious chocolate ganache glaze.  It made me instantly want a Boston cream donut (which they do make, in the same style as the jelly - a raised chocolate glazed, sliced in half, and stuffed with cream.  OMG.  Someday.)
Cake Crumb.
"We're not sure who came up with the idea of putting crumbs on a donut, but it's undoubtably a winner! Soft sweet crumbs on top of a cake ring is about as good as it gets. "

For a friend, I got the cake crumb, which is the classic glazed with bits of cake on the outside.  Of course I snuck a bite.

The donut itself was still good, fluffy, soft raised dough, nice glaze, but, I actually didn't care for the cake crumbs on the outside.  Not my style.

Update: Many months later, the crumb donuts looked different.  They had a ton more crumbles on them, bigger chunks, more like a streusel.  So I tried again.  The base donut was again great, fluffy, sweet, not oily.  And I again liked the sweet glaze.  The crunchier, larger style cake crumbs were more successful, but I still wasn't a big fan.  I'm all about textures and that texture just doesn't do it for me.
Dozen Raised Donuts: Crumb, Sugar, Maple, Chocolate.
I did not try the the sugar coated (front left).  And I've already reviewed the crumb and chocolate.  Which leaves ... the maple!
Maple Glazed.
"Think maple can only be for pancakes? Think again! This is the kind of sweet goodness only the overly friendly neighbors up north could come up with. "

This was my favorite of the raised donuts.  Light and fluffy, not too fried.  Everything I liked about the classic raised was true here, but then it had a maple glaze, sweet, and more depth of flavor than standard glaze.  I'd gladly get another.

Update: I did get another.  And this time ... I didn't like the maple glaze.  It was ... too sweet, too maple-y.  I know, I know, I said it.  The base donut was still great, but, the maple glaze was just too much. 


Bob's also makes a wide assortment of cake donuts.  Cake donuts in general are never my favorite, and the same applies to Bob's.
Cake Donuts in all varieties
One notable aspect of Bob's cake donuts is that they are smaller than most.  The raised donuts might even be considered a bit large, but the cake, definitely on the petite side.

Cake donuts are available plain, with sugar coating, with cinnamon and sugar, with cake crumbs, with regular, maple, or chocolate glaze, with sprinkles ...
Maple Glazed Cake Donut.
I finally tried a cake donut.  It is very hard for me to resist just going for a fritter, or jelly filled, or even a raised donut, since Bob's does those so well.  But eventually, curiosity got the better of me.

I selected a maple glaze, since, well, maple!

It was a petite donut, like all their cake donuts.  Very dense.  A tad bit oily.  Well coated in maple glaze.

Not my style of donut, and I wished it had a buttermilk tang or something more to it.  Curiosity satisfied, but, I'll be going back to the raised.  Strange that the bar and ring style differed so much.
Glazed Cake Donut.
Eventually, eventually, I even tried the plain cake donut.

The texture was good, moist inside, crispy outside.  It wasn't too oily.  The glaze was evenly distributed and added to the crisp exterior.  

But it had a lemon tang to it.  I really dislike lemon flavors in general.  A fine donut, but, just not the one for me.
Maple Glazed Sprinkle Coated Cake Donut.
I did say I was done with cake donuts, but, I actually visited Bob's in person one Sunday, and I had heard that you should always just get whatever is fresh.  So, instead of picking something I knew I'd like, or the very tempting looking bread pudding, I asked what was freshest, and the person taking my order pointed at a tray.  "Still hot" she said.  The tray had assorted cake donuts, which were the least interesting to me, but, who resists a hot donut?

My choices for a hot one were plain, chocolate coated, maple coated, or any of the above with sprinkles.  I like maple the best, and adore sprinkles and had never had a sprinkle donut from Bob's, so, that made my decision easy.

It was fine.  The warm donut was a nice touch of course.  But it was still just a cake donut.  The maple glaze was soft and sweet, it was interesting to see how the glaze changes as it gets cooler and harder.  The sprinkles were generic rainbow sprinkles, but more sweet.

Overall, fine, but I certainly wouldn't get another.
Chocolate Glazed Cake.
I don't know why I grabbed this, as I don't like chocolate glaze on donuts and I don't like cake donuts.  I like chocolate, but, I find it detracts from the donut.  Which is exactly how I felt about this.  The donut itself was crispy, fried, good enough cake donut, but, the chocolate overwhelmed.  Would not get again.
Cinnamon Cake.
"It's like the cinnamon roll in donut form except without getting your fingers all sticky. Using a good ole cake ring, we powder sugar and cinnamon to give the perfect balance between sugar and spice. "

I didn't really care for this.  A dense cake donut, I'm just not one for cake donuts.  Good cinnamon and sugar coating though.


And the last category I dub "specialty", basically, everything else that didn't fit above.
Apple Fritter.
"This isn't for the timid eaters. This is the heavy duty, apple filled, frosted coated hunk of a donut that will scare away anyone who isn't ready for some serious eating. "

I had my eyes on the king of donuts: the apple fritter.

Completely crusted in glaze, crispy and fried exterior, soft and moist interior.  The outside was a bit too fried for my taste, but I loved the interior.  It was soft and doughy, with moist pockets of apple.  There was lots of cinnamon between the layers, in fact, it is  one of the most cinnamon-y fritters I've encountered.

Overall, a very solid apple fritter, but, I wouldn't say it was mind-blowingly better than any other.

Update: I've since had many more of these. Turns out, there is a team that gets Bob's Donuts every Friday in my office, and sometimes they have extra, or I run into the guy who brings in the donuts and he offers me one on his way in (shh, don't tell his team he gives me one!), and I usually go for the fritter.  My opinion of it is always the same though.  I'm glad to have one, since I love fritters, but this one is always just a bit too oily for me.  The glaze is also not very impressive.  While I hate pretty much all the other donuts from California Smart Foods, they actually do a better fritter (stay tuned for that review soon ...)

Update (Jan 2020): I continue to try these, always drawn in, "ZOMG, fritter! I love fritters!", but, I just never enjoy this one as much as I want to.  It is a fine donut, but I've had much better fritters, and Bob's just excels at other styles.
Raspberry Jelly Filled Powdered Donut.
"You know this one, this is for those who like it messy. A choice of Raspberry or Lemon jelly and covered with a light glazed or powdered sugar, this is great for when you're looking for that punch of fruit flavor."

This turned out to be my absolute favorite.  Their jelly filled donuts are available in several varieties, with raspberry or lemon jelly, and glaze or powdered sugar.

This was the most unique jelly donut I've ever seen.  It wasn't a donut with jelly injected in the center as is standard, rather, it was a sliced in half, with jelly between the layers.  Like ... a bagel with cream cheese, except, it was a donut with jelly!  The jelly was really good, oozy, and had some seeds in it, not just goo.  The donut was a classic raised donut, hard to go wrong.  The whole thing was sweet and just totally satisfying.

Update (Jan 2020):  Again, a stunner.  Light and fluffy donut, slight sweetness from the powdered sugar on top, and that fabulous jelly filling.  Absolute favorite, and I can scarf one of these giant donuts in no time.
Glazed Raspberry Jelly Filled Donut.
A few weeks later, I was able to snag another, this time, the glazed version. The glazed version uses a regular glazed donut, with a hole in the middle and everything, and, again is sliced in half and filled with jelly between the layers.

And, I again loved it.  The donut itself is so light and fluffy, and does not taste weighed down with oil, at all. The glaze is perfect.

The filling looks like generic jelly, but, it is oh-so-tasty and sweet.  Although I don't normally like seeds, the raspberry seeds in it didn't displease me.

A stunning donut.  I like the glazed version even more than the powdered sugar.

Update (January 2021): I. Adore. These.  'nuff said?
Raspberry Jelly Filled Chocolate Glazed Donut.
When I saw this donut, I thought I had finally, finally found the elusive Boston Cream.  It was clearly chocolate glazed.  It was sliced in half, just like the previous jelly donut, so I was sure it had filling.

And it did have filling.  It just ... wasn't custard.  Instead, it was filled with the same raspberry jam as the previous donut.

Once I got over the surprise of a jelly filled chocolate glazed donut, I settled in to enjoy it.  And enjoy it I did.

The chocolate glaze was a bit dried out and crunchy, but, not in a bad way.  It tasted really chocolately, and I loved it.  It also made me instantly wish they had chocolate pudding filled donuts too.  ZOMG.

The donut was a raised donut,  light and fluffy, but, also it seemed kinda fried on the bottom.  Oily, but, again, in a good way, like state fair fried dough.

And then, the raspberry jelly, seeds and all.  Sweet, fruity.

I wasn't a huge fan of the raspberry and chocolate combination, so I ate this open faced, easy to do since it was fully cut in half.

The top, a chocolate glazed fluffy donut with higher percentage of chocolate to donut than usually because it was only the top half, was super successful.

The bottom, a very fried oily dough with flavorful jam slathered on top, also successful.

I actually ended up loving this, as separates.  I'd get it again, just to tear it apart, but, really, I'm still on the lookout for one filled with custard ...
Bob's Donut & Pastry Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, October 02, 2017

IHOP, 2017

Another year, another 2 visits to IHOP for free pancakes (one for my birthday, and one for IHOP club anniversary).  Start with my reviews from 2012201320142015, and 2016 to read about previous adventures.

I love my IHOP.

August 2017, Lombard Street Location

For my first visit, I went to the Beach Street location, by myself, per my tradition.

I picked this location because it usually is more relaxing and comfortable, particularly as a single diner.  It is much smaller than Beach Street, and has no counter dining, but they usually tuck me away in a little booth on the side, as I described last year.

This year though ... the experience was not nearly as pleasant.  I arrived around 10:30am, and had a 15 minute wait, longer than usual, but not unreasonable.  And then I was given the worst table in the restaurant.  I was at a table literally in the middle of the room, in the big main dining room.  People on all sides, a small little table with people bumping into me constantly.  I asked how long the wait for a booth would be (they have two person booths there too, so I wasn't actually trying to take up a bigger table), and I was told 20 minutes at least.  Sigh.  So I kept my awful table.

On the plus side, the table allowed me to eavesdrop on at least 6 different tables around me, always my favorite past time at IHOP anyway.  IHOP customers, particularly tourists from other countries visiting for the first time, are just far too much fun.

I was rewarded with a family of 5 next to me - mother, father, teenage son, and two other children.  It took them nearly 20 minutes to order, because the son was hyper-optimizing their order, trying to get the best price by finding out what everyone wanted (e.g. "How many pancakes will you eat?"  "How many slices of regular bacon?  Sausage?  Turkey bacon?"), and then trying to pack the order into IHOP's combo meals that they could split, rather than letting each person just order what they wanted.  "Ok, if we need 20 pancakes, 4 slices of turkey bacon, 2 regular bacon, 2 sausage, 4 eggs, we can get 4 combos, plus a full stack ...".  It was hilarious, really.  He also polled the group about orange juice, excited about the prospect of "premium" Tropicana (which his father tried but failed to explain was not indeed a premium product) and determining how many glasses of orange juice they should get to split.  His plan however was foiled by the unlimited refills policy, which prevents sharing.

The real fun for me of course was listening to them all say, "I normally eat 3 pancakes", and then listing off the sides they wanted in addition to the pancakes.  They were expecting, well, regular sized pancakes.  But this is IHOP.  The server even tried to warn them, suggesting that they order the short stacks rather than full stacks, and confirming multiple times, "So, you want 20 buttermilk pancakes?  Each full stack is 5 pancakes, and you want 4 of those stacks?  Not just 4 pancakes?  And not 4 orders of the short stack of 3?  You want 20 buttermilk pancakes?  Ok ... "  Note that they had other varieties of pancakes, and plenty of other sides as well.

My food took about 30 minutes to arrive, a rather long time for pancakes, but not awful.  My server did apologize at one point that it was taking so long.  I ate slowly, because I really wanted to stay to observe what happened when their food arrived.

It was everything I wanted it to be.  Mounds of food arrived at their table.  Their eyes went wide.  "How is this one pancake?  How can anyone eat 3 of these?  How could they ever eat 5?  I can only eat one of these if I'm having the other stuff!"  Very quickly, the huge scoops of butter were removed from the stacks of buttermilk pancakes.  "Why is there so much butter on here?  These are like ice cream scoops ... of butter!  Quick, remove the scoops of butter before it melts in!"  And then, when the server said, "I'll be back with the stacks of blueberry pancakes, all your eggs, and the other sides", the mother looked like she was going to have a breakdown.  I left before getting to see how far they made it through their ridiculous feast, but, they easily ordered enough food for 10 people.  Good times.
Split Stack: Cinn-a-Stack Pancakes & Double Blueberry Pancakes. $9.98.
The birthday freebie covers any of the Rooty Tootie Fresh & Fruity stacks (usually $10.79), or, any other pancake variety, up to that amount.

This year, I headed to IHOP intending to get the new-ish Cupcake pancakes, loaded with rainbow sprinkles, topped with cupcake icing, whipped cream, and more sprinkles.  I've been eyeing them since they came out.  But when I got there, that level of just sweet dessert didn't appeal.

I considered picking blueberry or red velvet pancakes again, both of which I got, and enjoyed, last year, and both of which I knew would freeze and re-heat fine.  But then I saw that Cinn-A-Stack were still on the menu.  They were in a corner, the only ones without a photo.  I've almost gotten these nearly every time I have visited IHOP, and somehow never have before.  I know that their time may be limited, and I may not have another chance (although, to be fair, they were removed from IHOP menus in 2014, but my local IHOP is one of the rogue ones still offering them).  But I also wanted blueberry.  Decisions are hard.

Stacks at IHOP are 4 pancakes (5 for buttermilk).  They only offer a short stack for buttermilk (3 pancakes).  But the combo meals with eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, etc) all come with stacks of 2.  Omelette combo meals come with stacks of 3.  I know the kitchen can make these other stack sizes.

So, I asked my server if it was possible to do a split stack - rather than 4 of one kind, 2 of one kind, 2 of another.  I was told that was fine, just considered 2 sides of 2 pancakes, but, she wasn't entirely sure it would work with my coupon.  She offered to check with her manager, and quickly came back saying it was fine.

Thus, I ordered both the Double Blueberry and the Cinn-a-Stack, intending to mostly eat the Cinn-a-Stack, and bring home the leftover blueberry.  My plan didn't exactly work out, but, I am very, very glad I was able to do the split stack, as I only ended up liking one variety.
Double Blueberry Pancakes (2). $4.99.
"Double up on the blueberries! You’ll get a stack of four fluffy pancakes filled with blueberries, then topped with sweet, warm blueberry compote and creamy whipped topping."

Since I knew I wouldn't eat all 4 pancakes, I asked for the toppings for the blueberry pancakes on the side, so I could pack them up to bring home and freeze.

The blueberry pancakes were fabulous, everything I remembered from last year.  Light, fluffy, puffy, great buttermilk tang, loaded with juicy berries.  They were delicious just to eat plain, good with syrup.  I did want butter to go with, but they don't normally come with it (since usually smothered in compote and topped with whipped cream), and I wasn't going to eat enough of them to be worth asking for it.

The compote was just as I remembered, sweet berries in goo, totally not fresh fruit, kinda like canned pie filling.  I didn't really like it with the pancakes, although it was good mixed with whipped cream, but I remembered the advice from the man next to me last year, and brought it home to warm up and serve over vanilla ice cream.  It is so fabulous that way!

I really liked the blueberry pancakes, and I will gladly get them again.  I eagerly await pulling my leftovers out of the freezer soon too.

A normal stack is 4 pancakes, and costs $10.79.  These were priced at $4.99 ... less than half the price.  I'm very confused how a half order (2) is priced at $4.99 ... two half orders (4) would be $9.98, cheaper than a full order, and contain twice the toppings?
Cinn-A-Stack Pancakes (2). $4.99.
"Buttermilk pancakes layered with cinnamon roll filling & topped with cream cheese icing."

The main attraction was the Cinn-A-Stack pancakes.  Finally.

I love cinnamon rolls, I love icing, and I love IHOP pancakes.  These sounded amazing, and I understood why IHOP has kept them around, even though they are supposed to be discontinued.

For the Cinn-a-stack, I did not get the toppings on the side, so they came layered with cinnamon roll filling (between the pancakes and on top), drizzled with cream cheese icing, and finished with whipped cream.  I really, really wish I had asked for the toppings on the side.  Because, I hated them.

The cinnamon roll filling was gritty, thick, intensely cinnamon-y, and I did not like it at all.  It was very generously applied on top, and even more generously between the layers (more on this soon).  The cream cheese icing was far too sweet, and again, applied in far too much quantity.  The cinnamon roll filling and icing alone add 310 calories to a regular stack of buttermilk pancakes, which, makes sense now that I see the quantity.

I tried, in vain, to find bites that weren't covered in one or both of the toppings I didn't like.  But it was impossible.  I really can't evaluate the base pancakes, as I wasn't ever able to taste them.

But I can tell you about the toppings, the toppings I wished weren't.
Cinn-A-Stack Pancakes: Inside.
The icing on top, and cinnamon roll stuff on top, seemed like too much to begin with, but what was between the layers was even worse.  Here you can see under the top pancake where I ate it, just how much cinnamon roll filling is between them.  The ratio was just all off, even if I had liked the toppings.  No syrup whatsoever was needed, or could be tolerated, with these.

The only thing I liked about these was the whipped cream, so I could use it with the blueberry stack.  It was just generic whipped cream, pretty melted.
This stack was also priced at only $4.99 vs a full stack at $10.79, which again made no sense, particularly given the extensive toppings.

I couldn't finish these, and knew I didn't want to take them home to freeze, so, I sent Ojan a message asking if he wanted me to save them for him.  He loves cinnamon rolls and Cinnabon in particular (which many people say these remind them of), but he was pretty skeptical that leftover, coated in stuff, pancakes would be any good (which, I do agree with).  Still, I brought them.

He tried them cold.  And, uh, liked them.  Really liked them.  He heated a small portion up, and said it was fine that way, but he preferred them cold.  I tried a bite, wondering if they somehow transformed.  Um, no.  Worse.  But he loved them.  They didn't go to waste. But I will never get these again.