The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Country Pancake House and the pile of tuna, plus other miscellany

sorry, it's not food porn

Whenever I have friends visit me in NJ (which is kind of rare, as this place is not high on the excitement scale), they ask to eat at the legendary home of planet-sized pancakes (and planet-sized everything else, maybe even...planets): Country Pancake House in Ridgewood. That photo is what the left side of the restaurant looks like if your cone cells don't work and if there's some nice soft natural lighting coming in. I took this photo during spring break for my photography class last semester, which I emerged from with an A-. Sweeet. Could've been worse considering that I found out a few weeks before the end of my class that my camera was broken, hence why I couldn't take any close-up shots. I kept telling my mum that it didn't focus correctly and she insisted that I wasn't reading the manual correctly. Yeeeup.

carby things

Sarah went in for a late dinner last Friday after eating a late lunch at Mitsuwa (which I'll talk about in another entry). The bread basket sadly tasted of un-freshness—it was a tad crusty. That was the first time I ever had "meh" cornbread at the pancake house. Later we saw baskets of freshly made cornbread, so I guess we just had bad timing.

Funnily, even though it's a pancake house and thus would necessitate the consumption of pancakes, neither of us was in a particular pancake-eating mood. I've tried a number of breakfast items on the menu, but had yet to delve into the lunch/dinner options. I'm on my sandwich kick, yes? The one that refuses to die? (Some people who haven't known me for long think I've loved sandwiches my whole life, but that obsession really only started last semester.) There were no simple mozzerella-basil-tomato sandwiches that I love so much on the menu, so after much blank staring at the menu, my eyes drifted to the tuna melt. I've heard of the sandwich my whole life without ever having eaten one. Hm. Perhaps this was the time to de-virginize myself from the realm of tuna melts? DOES THE MELTY TUNA WANT ROBYN?

Although I knew that all the platters were large, for whatever reason I thought the sandwich platter would be a managable size. As you know, I've eaten a gajillion sandwiches in NYC and have generated a sizeable NYC sandwich memory bank to use as a reference. "Ah, the sandwich can't be that huge." Yeah.

...But I was so wrong. So very wrong.

open faced tuna melt
many fish died for this sandwich

I don't know if this photo conveys the massivity of the sandwich, but I could only eat half of it. Such occurences of non-eating don't happen often in my life, kind of like catching a lunar eclipse, or the next coming of the Messiah. I shared some of the other half with Sarah.

tuna melt innards
stare into the mayonnaise-y beast?

Thar she is. While I would've preferred if the "cheese" better fit the "melt" part of the sandwich name and that the whole thing was overall smaller, the platter was good. The toasted bread (I think it was rye) held up to the mountain of tuna salad and didn't fall apart. I thought the fries were especially good—there wasn't a limp one in the bunch and they had a good crust. Although I wouldn't want to order this sandwich again, I'd say it was worth trying once. If you love tuna salad to death, this sandwich is all fer yewwww.

waffle with a few additions

I forgot what kind of waffle Sarah got (something with bananas and white chocolate?), but she requested extra strawberries that were unfortunately not completely defrosted for optimum palatability. Overall, the waffle eating experience was probably just okay. I don't think we talked much about it since we were both kinda like, "Uughggh uhmm stomach umm it's full of stuff uhh I hurt", etc.


Ah well, we tried. You should've seen the spaghetti dish someone at another table got. It was like a bucket of spaghetti...on a plate. A large bucket. Two girls at the table next to us split an order of pancakes and they only managed to finish half of it.

We're so wasteful. [sigh]

random food related stuff

Today is Skip Lunch to Fight Hunger Day to support CH's "Feed the Kids" program (and I realized it's too late to skip it another day, yeah). You can donate online or at Starbucks. I skipped lunch yesterday...perhaps that counts? When I told Carol at dinner that I hadn't eaten lunch, she was surprised that I could eat so much (you should never be surprised, bah!) since for her, she needs lunch to stretch her stomach before eating later in the day. I think I'm just not human. Yeah, that's it.

Steve Cuozzo hates "out-there desserts that incorporate savory and herbal elements and mix incompatible essences with lunatic abandon". I cannot hate a whole category of desserts, even if it's kind of weird. And...hell, I'm a picky eater. One of the hated desserts in question is this beaut:

fifth course
you couldn't pay me a million dollars to make this

That is the butternut squash ice cream on chocolate soil with toasted squash seeds and pumpkin cake with mole toffee, mole sauce, and pumpkin sauce at wd-50. It might just be my tastebuds (and Kathy's) but IT IS SO TASTY. I wouldn't say I have the most adventurous palate, me on this one. I do not steer my readers wrong.

"Be-cow's I'm ever so bewildered" is a disturbingly hilarious tale about...weird cookies. And weird students. And why sending things anonymously is not cool. The cow cookies are somewhat hideous, but what I want to know is whether they're tasty. Or edible. I'm wary of any food that isn't so much about what it tastes like as what it looks like...or whether it has a "so bad I want to bash my head against a wall and then inflict some more pain on it by using some other method of self-torture" pun, such as those cookies. The story reminded me of the time I passed Cookies in Bloom in Brooklyn last summer and was, of course, immediately drawn to it because I have cookie radar. Here is my proof:

Franks alot
HAHA, get it?!?!@#$

Yup. I won't ask who would spend $50+ on a bouquet of cookies decorated like hot dogs, but...I'm rather curious. I might do it as a joke for someone who really likes hot dogs, although a bunch of real hot dogs would probably be a better present.

Not everything is scary. Look, normal cookies! Yeah! That's about it. Have I toad you happy birthday? Or that I love you beary much? Ehehe! Aahahahah! The bears and the toads are staring into my soul! ...HOLY CRAP, IT BURNS!!!

Have you seen Augieland's feast at El Bulli? YOU SHOULD. It's insane x a billion. Take a look at the meal you will probably never eat. [rubs belly]

Oranges are Free informs the world of the Jello Belt. The...the wuh? BELT OF JELLO, FOOLS! Does anyone else find that map on Wikipedia a bit disturbing? It looks like the continental US got caught in a shootout and is bleeding to death from Utah. I have no futher comments.


I don't really like jello—do you? It was only fun when I was little, although even then we never used jello, just Knox unflavored gelatin, which we'd mix with juice. Hooray for my health-conscious mum!

Mary said that we should start a religion based on pudding. I could be the Pudding Pope.

Burgers and cupcakes go together like...frosting and meat. Wait, that doesn't work. Oh well, here's a new place to check out [via A Hamburger Today]:

BURGERS AND CUPCAKES Mitchel London has changed his cafe, Mitchel London Foods, into this new spot that serves, yes, only hamburgers and cupcakes from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is a breakfast menu Monday through Saturday (the catering company in this location is still Mitchel London Foods): 458 Ninth Avenue (36th Street), (212) 643-1200. - NYT

...I'll go. WHO'S WITH ME?!

Also from the NYT article:

SAM MASON, the pastry chef at WD-50, plans to leave that restaurant to open a spot, yet unnamed, in SoHo by the end of the year for tapas, desserts and drinks: 525 Broome Street (Thompson Street).

Sweet baby jesus, I'm there. That also means I gotta head to wd-50 again before he leaves.

zefrank wants to make an earth sammich
The fact that the earth has never been a sandwich is probably why things are so fucked up.

RIGHT. ON. In his latest show, he urges his viewers to make an earth sandwich by placing slices of bread on the ground on opposite sides of the globe. It's rather hard if you live in the US since your opposite is probably a sea creature living in the Indian Ocean, but somewhere else this earth sandwich may become a reality. Mayyybeee.

If you ever wondered what sandwich really means, it obviously stands for Special Association for Narcotics, Deception, Witchcraft, Infanticide, Coercion and Hatred.


Mochene / May 18, 2006 12:12 AM

I must say that the tuna melt made my mouth water (And the fries. And the pickle.), even though I had alfredo for dinner. Has to be the biggest sandwich I've seen. Looks absolutely delish!

I was going to go to Mitsuwa's today, but wasn't feeling up to the trip. I plan to go on Monday. Can't wait to hear about your visit though.

Thanks for the blast from the past (major sarcasm). I used to work for Cookie Bouquet years ago, and I remember decorating like 50 cookies for Celebrex. Turns out weeks later, my doctor put me on that med for "arthritic symptoms" (good news, it was stress, not arthritis).

(I still want a t-shirt. Do you have more time to make some over the summer???? NO pressure).

Kristin / May 18, 2006 12:28 AM

I laughed so hard at your joke about the guy who really likes Franks. That was great.

That map on Wikipedia is scary. I think your description explains it quite well.

Beware of Jell-o! OK, really only the sugar-free stuff. I know nobody really eats sugar-free Jello that much, but once aspartame (artificial sugar) is heated above 80F, it turns into formaldihyde. I'm not really one of those people who won't eat anything with artificial sweetners, but now that I've heard this, I try to avoid substances that heat aspartame up. Just another random crazy

santos. / May 18, 2006 12:40 AM

i could make that dessert for you if you paid me a million dollars. less even.

don't be hatin' on jello, pudding pope. it's about respect for all desserts, your wholemilkiness.

From Our Kitchen / May 18, 2006 12:40 AM

When I was little my Grandpa took me to the House of Pancakes and I was super excited because it was a house made out of pancakes!!! I was really sad when we arrived and the building was completely free of pancakes. That was a very sad day in my life. Fortunately I've recovered and am now a pancake house lover.

My family has some crazy Jell-O fascination. My aunt makes this kind with circus peanuts, it's the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted, and it's bright orange. It makes me sick just thinking about it.

roboppy / May 18, 2006 1:05 AM

I like how you all commented within the same hour. GO YOUUU!!!

Mochene: The tuna melt was satisfying until I realized it was like a moutain of tuna I couldn't climb...because I can't climb anything. Alfredo is delish!

Oh nooo you worked for the SCARY COOKIE COMPANY?! Ahh! Sounds like they worked you pretty hard. Stupid celebrex. I hate those commercials. Or...actually, I hate all drug commercials.

I'll make more t-shirts if there's enough demand for em, buuut it doesn't seem like there are. :| I can't buy a crapload of them in advance since that's a bigger investment than I care to make right now. Eeeaah. But maybe there will be some demand...

Kristin: I'm actually one of those "no fake sugar!" people. I figure...if I'm going to eat sugar, may as well go for the gold. Mm, tastes like refined! A lot of things turn to crap when heated. But heat...also makes things tasty! Ah well.

santos: Well I could make a BAD version of the dessert for cheaps! ...Okay, no one wants that.

Okay, all desserts deserve respect.


...but have you SEEN the stuff that's been made with jello? Salads with jello? And stuff? THE HORROR?!@# :P

From Our Kitchen: Finding out that the pancake house wasn't really made of pancakes could be as traumatizing as finding out that SANTA ISN'T REAL!

Circus peanuts? Aren't those kinda bad by themselves without the additional jello factor? Or...maybe I'm being too judgemental. But really, circus peanuts? Yipes!

Okay, these meat jello things are kinda unappetizing.

Claudia / May 18, 2006 7:25 AM

wow, that is a really big tuna melt but it looks awesome although i'm not a fan of american cheese. i dislike jello cause it jiggles and it's unappetizing and it doesn't really taste like anything, it's just icky. if you're making t-shirts again, i'd like to buy one. :)

Cat / May 18, 2006 8:29 AM

Quick question, are you going to the NY Culinary Festival this weekend? I think it would be great to see what you think of this "FOODIE OVERLOAD"

Just Checkin

Millie / May 18, 2006 9:02 AM


I found your blog whilst goggling
"Cool places to eat in NYC" I love it! Thanks so much for sharing all your tales.

I'm spending my honeymoon in Hawaii and we are stopping on the way back to London in NYC for the weekend.

I was looking for somewhere fancy to eat, somewhere quick and convinient to eat and a nice bakery with nice pastries, and you've provided me with all the info I need!
I've booked a table at Eleven Madison (even though you advised against it) and we are definately making a visit to Once Upon a Tart - hooray

Thanks for sharing
Millie x x x

janet / May 18, 2006 11:22 AM

OKAY! We are going the burger&cupcakes or wd or falai or anywhere! NOW! And then we can name restaurants like compound nouns - cookiepizza! gelatosandwich!

BackyardChef / May 18, 2006 12:12 PM

I'm so down for a visit to the cupcake and burger place. I like them both so much that maybe I'll have to just make a big ol' sandwich out of the whole thing....

Sam Mason's desserts are artful, elegant and tasty. I hope to get one more chance to taste them...

roboppy / May 18, 2006 12:37 PM

Claudia: Actually, I don't really mind the jiggling...although I can't say I eat a lot of stuff that jiggles. I'm just not a huge fan of gelatin. :P It's not quite as appealing as ice cream or pudding, hehe.

Cat: Oooh...I don't know. I don't want to go badly enough so that I'd go by myself, but I don't know if I can find anyone else who'll really want to go. (Most of my most food-minded friends don't live here, doh!) It sounds cool though!

Millie: I'm so glad my blog helped you out! Sorry I don't know more about fancy dining, but Eleven Madison is supposed to be so awesome. I didn't mean to advise against it, just that it's really expensive so I have to save it for something special or go with someone else who's as interested in going as I am. :) And has a lot of money.

janet: So much potential fooding! We'll get on that. And COOKIE PIZZA! I'll eat it! I mean, a cookie the size of a pizza with cool toppings. Not a pizza topped with cookies.

Nick: OH MY GOD, go and tell us how good it us.

BackyardChef: Only crazy people wouldn't go for the cupcake-hamburger combo! Or they can just have the cupcake.

Stephanie / May 18, 2006 1:05 PM

As the lucky recipient of the cow bouquet you commented on (, I am so happy that you posted that photo of the "franks" cookies because it helps to show that I am telling the truth about the obscenity of those cookies! GROSS!! I mean I will eat just about anything (including orange circus peanuts, which I love almost as much as the banana ones) but there is a gross-out factor to sweet food crafted to look like savory food--and HOT DOGS? In Germany there is a strange tradition in many restaurants to make up platters of ice cream in the shape of other foods (spaghetti, bacon and eggs . . . ) and even though I would probably gluttonously scarf this down if I tried it, since it IS just ice cream, I just can't bring myself to order that kind of thing. Cookies shaped like hot dogs, pizza, french fries . . . it's wrong, right? or am I the one who's wrong?

John / May 18, 2006 3:56 PM

Although I avoid aspartame because I just don't like the taste, and because it is possibly an allergen (although this hasn't been proven either), I have to call Kristin on the formaldehyde claim. Actually, I'll let do it for me:

Sorry, just don't want false info spread.

Deb / May 18, 2006 3:57 PM

Robs, Great tuna melt photos! I so want that dish, complete with the fries.

My friend Adam took me to that place years ago, and I remember how crisp the fries were. I normally have to ask for them to be "well done."

Have you been to the Tick Tock diner on Rt. 3? Huge cakes.

chochotte / May 18, 2006 5:26 PM

Wow that sandwich was big. And what kind of crazy people serve chips/fries WITH a sandwich? Madness. No wonder you couldn't finish it.

Is it quite common for restaurants to serve that plastic cheese? If someone served me that stuff I'd send it right back. A tuna melt needs proper, cheddar, tangy cheese...tangy cheese, creamy mayo, spongy toasty bread, oh yes, it's one of life's great pleasures.

roboppy / May 18, 2006 10:21 PM

Stephanie: I'm scared to think about how a lot of people must buy those cookies. I dunno WHOOO, but...someone out there couldn't think of a better gift. Oh god.

Wait, I would totally eat ice cream shaped like other stuff! As long as it's not "larvae" or something. I wouldn't say it's wrong or right, it's weird. Those Germans! Harhar! What are they thinkin'!?

John: Thanks for the info! And even if it were true, we're all gonna die anyway eh? YEAAH OKAY EAT STUFF!

Deb: Haha, I've never thought of asking for well done fries. I've had strangely limp fries before though—it's sad! As for the diner, I have no idea where that is. There's a Tick Tock diner in NYC though. :) Seriously, rt 3...I know rt 4. Kinda. Not really.

chochotte: Lots of sandwiches come with fries here. Tonight at dinner my sandwich came with fries! :) I couldn't finish it all, but my brother ate most of his and his friend ate ALL of his!

I'd say diner-type restaurants are unlikely to use "proper" cheddar, and as I feel like I've mainly seen tuna melts at diners, most of them would have..."cheese". I have no clue where to get good sandwiches in NJ! (NJ is an uber diner-dense state; they're everywheeere.)

From Our Kitchen / May 19, 2006 10:32 AM

Yeah, it was a pretty hard thing to go through.

Yes, circus peanuts are bad enough on their own. Suspending them in Jell-O makes them worse than anyone thought was possible. Haha, my great grandma used to make a whole meal out of Jell-O. She'd use clear gellatin and put everything in it - the meat, the vegetables, etc. Fortunately, that meal occured before my time.

I really have a strange family...

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