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Every Who down in Whoville liked pancakes a lot...
But Matt Singer, who lived just north of Whoville, did not!
Matt Singer hated pancakes! The whole Grinch menu season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

Whatever the reason, his stomach or gut,
He stood there at IHOP, stuck in a rut,
Staring down at his plate with a sour, Singer frown,
At the gigantic pile of food about to go down.
He felt it his duty, his sworn obligation.
Even if this task would cause constipation.

“They’re serving green pancakes!” he snarled with a sneer,
“And a green-mint hot chocolate! It's practically here!”
Then he growled, with his Singer fingers nervously drumming,
“I MUST find some way to stop indigestion from coming!”
For also, he knew, IHOP had a Who-Roast Beast Omelette,
A name that made his belly loudly gurgle with vomlette.

He’d order the entire menu, and sit down to a feast.
And he’d feast! And he’d feast! (And he’d FEAST!)
FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
He would feast on green pancakes, and rare Who-roast beast.
Which was something Matt Singer couldn't stand in the least!

I’m going to eat them anyway.

That’s what I do. When a chain restaurant releases a menu themed to a movie — like Denny’s did for Solo: A Star Wars Story, or Johnny Rockets did for Kong: Skull Islandor White Castle did for X-Men: Apocalypseor Denny’s did for Independence Day: Resurgence, or Denny’s did for Fantastic Four — I go and eat the entire thing. (Also: Damn Denny’s, you’ve been associated with almost as many crappy movies as Mystery Science Theater 3000.)

Today, it is time for me to journey to Whoville to ingurgitate the International House of Pancakes’ menu devoted to the new Illumination release The Grinch. Mercifully, there are just three items: A “Who-Roast Beast Omelette” (a reference to something in the original Seuss book), a “Minty Who-Hot Chocolate” and the “Grinch’s Green Pancakes” which are, as advertised, a very appealing shade of emerald, then topped with icing and candy hearts.

Those pancakes look moderately terrifying, but it could be worse. Thankfully, IHOP has transformed itself back into its primordial form after that very public metamorphosis into the International House of Burgers. Also, this could be the Green Eggs and Ham theme menu. That would have been really tough.

As you read this, I am sitting down at Coney Island’s Grinchiest IHOP (it’s actually very nice), where I will spend the next however-long-it-takes, consuming all of this Grinch food. Hopefully it all agrees with me. Otherwise, a who ain’t gonna be all Horton hears, if you catch my drift. I will check back in with you after the first course arrives — in the meantime, you can follow along with my misadventures on Twitter.

COURSE #1

Green pancakes? Green pancakes. Obviously, these are inspired by the Grinch’s verdant fur. I get that. But ... does that mean these pancakes have Grinch meat in them? I hope not.

Here’s how the pancakes are described on the menu:

Buttermilk pancakes with a hint of green topped with sweet cream cheese icing and red hearts. Crowned with creamy green whipped topping.

And here’s what they looked like in front of me:

Right off the bat: There’s no “green whipped topping” in sight. Instead, my order had regular whipped cream (or topping — clearly whatever IHOP serves does not conform to the legal guidelines in order to technically qualify as whipped “cream”) — with some green sugar on top.

I’ll allow it, mostly because the pancakes make up for it in the green department. My picture doesn’t quite capture how iridescent they truly are. They’re way greener than the Grinch from the new movie. They’re like Slimer from Ghostbusters green. If you told me they were colored with the gunk from a Sharpie highlighter, I would absolutely believe you.  If I didn’t have to actually eat them, I would be extremely impressed with these pancakes on a practical level. Unfortunately, I cannot simply admire them as a work of unholy gastronomic engineering. I have to actually put them in my mouth, and then swallow them.

As for that: Well, they don’t taste bad, but they are very sweet. And I mean very sweet. If there’s any actual Grinch meat in here, I would have to assume his blood is made of pure high-fructose corn syrup. The first bite of iced pancakes was so intensely sugary that it actually hurt my teeth. I swear I can hear my enamel dissolving with each morsel. And on top of the whipped topping and icing there’s also these little red candy hearts, and those are so sweet you can taste them through everything else. Somewhere, my dentist is weeping. (Usually just my gastroenterologist is traumatized by my food misadventures. I’m going to have to get these guys a support group.)

This is really more of a dessert than a meal, and I guess if you’re up for that, you won’t be disappointed. If you want to compare the intensely overwhelming sweetness to the saccharine quality of The Grinch movie, we actually might have a very solid movie-to-food adaptation on our hands. And I’m sure the intense cloying vibes will pair perfectly with my next course, a [checks notes] “roast beast” omelette.

Gulp.

COURSE #2

Do you think the Grinch knows the culinary crimes being perpetrated by IHOP in his name? Is that why he’s so cranky all the time? If someone associated me with a “roast beast” omelette, I would not be pleased.

The description, from the menu:

A fluffy omelette filled with golden hash browns, shredded beef, shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese, jalapeño and onion blend and topped with cheese and spicy BBQ sauce & a Serrano pepper.

And here is how it looked when it arrived at my table.

This thing is about as “fluffy” as a cinder block. It’s the length of my forearm and three times as thick. You can’t even see the Serrano pepper on the plate because it’s hidden behind that mountain of egg and beast. If all you care about is quantity, this is what you should order at IHOP until it disappears from the menu. I’ve eaten half of it as I write these words and I feel like I’m sweating eggs. It’s one of the biggest omelette I’ve ever seen.

If you care about how your mass quantity of food tastes, there are other options you may wish to consider. The spicy BBQ sauce (BBQ instead of “barbecue,” a la whipped “topping” instead of cream) is intensely spicy so that every bite burns your mouth and throat. I like spicy food, but this goes beyond pleasantly piquant to slightly painful. I had to order a water just to power through the second half.

You may wish to know what the “roast beast” tastes like. While nothing would give me more pleasure than saying “Chicken!” it is, in fact, seasoned shredded beef. It’s hard to describe its flavor more precisely than that because it is smothered in spicy BBQ sauce, but the texture is on the tough side; like a Philly Cheesesteak that’s been sitting out for a day. (Rare who-roast beast, like in Seuss’ story, it is not.) I love hash browns, and I know putting them inside omelettes is kind of a thing now, but all you do when you cook them inside a bunch of eggs is rob them of that delicious crispy surface. The hash browns in this omelette were a big, unappealing pile of potato mush. Make hash browns a side dish again.

As unpleasant as this whole course was, I will say: I have a feeling Dr. Seuss, the guy who coined the phrase “Who-Roast Beast” in the first place, would have gotten a kick out of it. I mean, I doubt he would have actually eaten it; Seuss wasn’t an insane person. But the sheer overkill of this item feels very much in the spirit of Seuss’ extravagant verses.

Speaking of overkill, I feel like I’m about to die. So let’s finish this blog post up quickly.

FINAL COURSE

We conclude our excursion through Whoville with the Minty Who-Hot Chocolate. Here’s the menu description:

Hot chocolate flavored with mint syrup and topped with creamy green whipped topping and red candy hearts.

And here’s what I was served:

Once again, the Coney Island IHOP appears to have run out of green whipped topping. My hot chocolate came with the same plain white topping with green sugar as the Grinch pancakes. Since I’m pretty much seeing green no matter where I look right now, so it’s not a huge problem.

Speaking of things running out: I should note here that while it was not featured in any of the advertisements (like the one above), and I didn’t know it existed until I sat down at my table this morning, there was apparently a third item on the Grinch menu: a “Whoville Holiday Cheesecake French Toast” made with King’s Hawaiian rolls. I say there was a third item because my menu had a big sticker over it that read “RETIRED EARLY.” Thus, sadly (for you — for me this is the greatest moment of my life besides the birth of my children), I won’t be eating that. I hope you’ll forgive me.

The mint hot chocolate was definitely the best thing from the Grinch menu. It’s just the right level of sweetness, with a rich chocolatey flavor. It’s basically a liquid Thin Mint — and Thin Mints are the greatest cookies in history, so that’s a good thing in my book. I would order this again — probably not after 3,000 calories worth of green pancakes and beastly omelettes. But under normal circumstances, this would be a lovely capper to a winter meal.

Given all the stuff that’s not available, I have to assume The Grinch menu has been a solid seller for IHOP. It’s certainly a smart theme menu to have around the holidays, regardless of whether the new Grinch movie becomes a Christmas classic or not. (A woman seated near me arrived in a Grinch T-shirt, although she wound up not getting anything from the theme menu. I suspect she took a look at my table and had second thoughts.) Neither of the main items I had were particularly good, but they were intensely themed; you can’t say the chefs were timid in creating foods to celebrate the world of Dr. Seuss.

Every time I subject myself to one of these cruel experiments, I find an eerie synchronicity between movie and movie food — there really is no better expression of Hollywood’s storytelling priorities these days than these bizarre, extravagant, excessive foods, and the way they emphasize spectacle over everything else. The results in a restaurant context are the same as in a theatrical one: Visually magnificent and almost completely unsatisfying on an emotional level.

I leave you now with these Seussian thoughts...

And what happened then? Well … at IHOP they say,
That Singer’s small colon grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his gut didn't feel quite so right,
He raced to the commode through the bright morning light,
And he pooped out the pancakes! And the eggs from the feast!
And he, HE HIMSELF! Matt Singer pooped roast beast!