By Carolyn Kellogg
3:29 PM PST, December 10, 2012
With Peter Jackson's film "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" coming to screens this week, the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien are at the top of the mind. And the top of the menu, if you happen to be sitting at America's chain diner, Denny's.
Denny's launched its "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" menu in November. It includes items such as the Shire Sausage Skillet, Bilbo's Berry Smoothie, Gandalf's Gobble Melt, Radagast's Red Velvet Pancake Puppies®, and the Dwarves' Turkey and Dressing Dinner.
It's also got The Ring Burger. Which is sort of a lovely evil joke: some who come in contact with the ring find themselves hungering after it for eons. Will anyone who orders The Ring Burger wind up like Sméagol/Gollum? I don't know, but it comes topped with onion rings. Precious.
Graham writes: "At first I was disappointed, borderline depressive -- maybe. I wanted something new and exciting, something to talk about after the fact and recommend to others, but then I thought about old Tolkien and his preference for simple English classics; meat and potatoes, eggs and cakes, then I smiled, finding it truly fitting for Denny's to be the chosen establishment for this new promotion. After giving in to the true nature of the Hobbit, willingly accepting the irony in good spirits, I was ready to devour."
He and his family tried Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet (pictured), The Ring Burger, the Shire Sausage Skillet, and the Hobbit Slam Breakfast w/ Seed Cake French Toast and Radagast's Red Velvet Pancake Puppies.
Graham found Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet was pretty good, "the best tasting perhaps; perfectly cooked red-skinned potatoes, onions, celery, broccoli, mushrooms, and herb-roasted carrots, served as a sizzler, topped with slow-cooked pot roast and smothered in shredded cheddar." He might have had me but for the smothering cheese.
The Seed Cake French toast is listed on the menu as the Lonely Mountain Treasure, and pictured served on a heap of stones. Graham's came without stones, but that wasn't his biggest complaint. "I just don't understand Denny's decision to go lemon on this. There is nothing in The Hobbit to indicate that seed cakes were lemon. Nothing that could even be inferred through context. But beyond that, who really likes lemon? How many people have ever crawled out of bed ... yearning for lemon poppy seed?"
I'm just glad to know seed cakes are poppy seed muffins. That mystery is finally solved.
Overall, although it doesn't knock him out, Graham finds the menu good enough. Seems like it might be the kind of thing worthy of a stop if you're on a long journey and it's time for second breakfast.
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