I know, right?! — FINALLY.
When I first heard that Denny’s had come out with a Hobbit-themed menu, I went through several emotions all at once: shock, disbelief, disgust, and then something I can only describe as morbid curiosity. I have nothing against Denny’s, but after a late-night visit that ended up with me paying for food that tasted like an ashtray, I’ve kept a safe distance.
I’m a huge fan of Tolkien’s work, so I figured I should at least look at the menu to see if it was worth checking out. At first glance, the array of options (complete with pumpkin pancakes, no less) was quite impressive. So, I put my game face on and gathered up my very own traveling companions: Katie Blitz, Meghin Moore, and Laurel Petrulionis. Below is the recap of our very own “Unexpected Journey” (lol Hobbit puns).
Lonely Mountain Treasure (Catie): The picture of this pot of fried cake was literally too irresistible to pass up. This treasure consisted of lemon poppy seed French toast, grilled, and then cut up into small pieces. It also came with a small pot of cream cheese icing to dip the toast in, just in case you still didn’t feel like you were eating dessert for breakfast. I have to say that this was one of my favorite parts of the meal; the French toast tasted exactly like a lemon poppy seed muffin, and the cream cheese added a nice tang that complemented the lemon flavor nicely. But to be honest, I would eat anything if it were covered in cream cheese icing.
Hobbit Slam (Catie): I was too intrigued with the Hobbit specials to simply pick one, so I decided to try as many as possible. For the “build your own slam” you can choose four items from an extremely extensive list of everything you could ever want to eat for breakfast. I decided on the Pumpkin Patch Pancakes, Shire Sausage, hash browns, and eggs.
The pancakes were definitely the star of the slam. They had a good pumpkin flavor that wasn’t too overwhelming. I also enjoyed the cinnamon whipped cream topping because syrup probably would have been too sweet. The Shire Sausage was slightly spicy, had a nice crispy exterior, and was a nice contrast to the sweetness of the pancakes. Overall, the two Hobbit-themed items were the best part of my meal — I don’t think the hash browns and eggs would have met up to Merry and Pippin’s standards.
Hobbit Hole Breakfast (Laurel): I am a huge Middle Earth geek. I mean, my middle name is Arwen (no, I’m not joking), so I didn’t have much of a choice. But going to a Hobbit-themed meal was like a fantasy come true. After seeing the hilarious menus and signs posted everywhere, I was so happy that I almost didn’t care what the food tasted like. Emphasis on “almost.” However, I left the meal with both my nerdiness and my stomach satisfied.
I ordered Bilbo’s Berry Smoothie, which was tangy and not too sweet. For my meal, I ordered the Hobbit’s Hole with a side of Pumpkin Pancakes. My only complaint is that I asked for no bacon, but they gave me bacon, which really isn’t too bad in the grand scheme of things. Still, my meal was all I could have asked for. I had cheesy hash browns perfectly crisp, two pieces of bread that had eggs cooked in the middle, and then the pancakes. Fall is my favorite season because of the innumerable amount of pumpkin flavored things. The pancakes tasted like pumpkin pie, and they were topped with cinnamon whipped cream. I honestly couldn’t have been happier with my meal, and then I realized I got “The Hobbit” trading cards at the end. Boo-yah.
Pumpkin Patch Pancakes (Meghin): I love pumpkin everything. As soon as I found out that Denny’s was going to have pumpkin pancakes, I flipped out. Since State College doesn’t have an IHOP for me to get my pumpkin pancake fix, I figured that Denny’s would be the next best thing. For starters, the pumpkin pancakes were BETTER than IHOP’s. I have no shame admitting that, especially when I’ve gone to IHOP back home in Virginia for pumpkin pancakes as long as I’ve lived there. They were perfectly spiced. They were fluffy. They were delicious. They were everything pumpkin pancakes should be. I also loved the whipped cream on top. It was cinnamon-y and pumpkin-y and heavenly. It was a thick cream too, so it didn’t melt as fast on my pancakes when I got them. Basically, when I left Denny’s, I was an incredibly happy person. Not just because I was finally able to get pumpkin pancakes, but because I left with a belly full of wonderful Hobbit food.
Dwarves’ Turkey & Dressing Dinner (Katie): When asked about her meal, Katie simply responded with, “Our waitress was nice.” (Which she was.) Safe to say you should stick to breakfast when it comes to Denny’s.
Overall we had a surprisingly nice time at Denny’s. In addition to our meals, we also received official Hobbit trading cards, which pretty much made our journey off campus worth it. If nothing else, you should at least stop by to get yourself some pumpkin pancakes. So remember: If you’re up for a bit of adventure (and aren’t afraid of a few set backs along the way) gather your own fellowship and head over to Denny’s for second breakfast!