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You have got to be kidding me…

July 7, 2010

The other day the kids and I were rummaging through the fridge looking for breakfast fixings and there was nothing to eat.  No milk for cereal, no eggs, no bread, no ham, no nothing…  The kids wanted to go to Denny’s for breakfast, and after some serious debate I agreed.

The thing is, my kids think Denny’s is a fine dining establishment, and I am not about to disabuse them of that belief.  I think this is all my fault though.  They must have overheard me telling the following story and not gotten the point of it:

When we were young we lived in a neighborhood with a lot of very rich people.  We were not rich, not even close.  We were a middle class, hand to mouth kind of family.  The one thing we did do a fair amount though, was dine out  (back then dining out once a week was a fair amount, nowadays that is the exact opposite, where dining in once a week is about normal).  My parents have always had great taste, and being they emigrated to Vancouver from the US back when Vancouver had a small restaurant scene, they enjoyed keeping up on all of the great restaurants here.   I remember eating at Umberto’s, Il Giardino, Hy’s Mansion, Peppi’s, Il Patio, and so on.  As a kid, it was just dining out, I didn’t really appreciate the restaurants.  I was a very picky eater too and it wasn’t like they had kids menus in these restaurants, so I would eat things like the steak or meat balls.  In any case, the rich show off kid that I went to school with (I didn’t understand then that the rich show offs are very rarely as rich as the quiet rich people) would tell us of the best restaurant in the City that his parents took him to every Sunday night.  He pointed it out to me and it was, surprise, the Denny’s between West and North Vancouver (Apparently, I also didn’t understand that everyone didn’t have good taste-although his fathers red velour suits and tricked out yellow Porsche with oversized whale tail should have given that away, even to a kid in grade 2).

I had never eaten there, and I told my parents about this and how much I would love to go there.  Of course they just smirked and never let me in on the joke, so for years I thought Denny’s was the fanciest restaurant around.  I also discovered it was a chain!!  I never ate there until my late teens as a middle of the night, drunken patron.  This I repeated numerous times over the years.

So, my kids heard this story and now they think Denny’s is the best.  Truth be told, to a kid it is pretty awesome.  You get to keep your rocket shaped, or soccer ball shaped cup after your meal.  They have great breakfasts including chocolate chip pancakes, and they have a crane game by the door.  All of the ingredients of the finest restaurants for kids.  So, every once in awhile we dine there.  Not a big deal.

So I am reading the menu, and I quite approve of their new build your own slam menu.  You can get some bacon, and eggs on toast (only eat 2 of the four half slices) and some yogurt or fruit and not do too badly.  In any case, while I was pondering this, I noticed this tent card.

It took me a minute to get used to the idea of pancake puppies… pancakes are breakfast cake which is iced with butter and sugar water (syrup)…  Pancakes are terrible for you… What could be worse than pancakes though… deep fried pancakes!  It was then that it dawned on me.  Donuts are deep fried cake, so these are simply donut holes…  Pancake Puppies are donut holes.  Okay.  I would never feed my kids donut holes for breakfast, and these donut holes come with a syrup dip…

But these aren’t just pancake puppies, these are a whole new variety of pancake puppies.  These are filled with fruit (not whole fruit I am sure, but sugar soaked frozen fruit bits) and white chocolate chips and then rolled in icing sugar…  Is there some form of additional sugaring that these guys are missing?  Should they be airbrushing on a sugary coating?  Dipping them in an M&M’s style crunchy sugar coating before you dip them in the watery sugar coating (syrup)?  Maybe they could tie a couple of sugar cubes onto these…

People, these aren’t breakfast foods.  If you have kids and you want to take them to Denny’s for breakfast, go for it.  Have them order the Jr. Grand Slam.  It is 380 Calories and it should fill them up.  Order it with milk or water, never pop.  Denny’s menu is a bit of a minefield to be honest, with some excellent choices and some disastrous ones.  You can download the nutritional information for their menu here.  If you are really serious about getting fit, you should make yourself the following promise:

I will not eat in any restaurant that I have not gone over the nutritional information for.

It is a good rule to live by.

Shame on you Denny’s for going too far in the kids breakfast food treats.  There really is some expectation on restaurants to not put the dessert items in with the food items.  I don’t know how to make you people understand this or follow this rule, because it is just such common sense.  Keep the deserts on a separate page please.  I am sorry that you feel that it is okay to go this far in marketing terrible food choices to children just to make a little more money.  If you weren’t aware though people, this is part of the reason we are fat.  We have gone a long ways down a slippery nutritional slope between eating mostly food we knew was nutritious with a little bit of sweet dessert at the end, to eating foodstuffs that are desserts dressed up as meals.  So far in fact that we have a hard time finding healthy choices in restaurants nowadays.

Thanks Denny’s for exploiting this condition to make a few bucks…

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