Restaurant reviews: Dining you won’t want to miss

Written by: Lucy Oyer

The Original Pancake House:

Tucked behind the better known streets of downtown Los Altos, The Original Pancake House offers a wide variety of breakfast treats. As expected, their menu features countless types of pancakes that range from the more traditional blueberry to the more far-fetched “Little Pigs in Blankets,” which are sausage links wrapped in buttermilk pancakes. Additionally, customers can choose from  a selection of waffles, crepes, French Toast and just about every other traditional American breakfast food imaginable.

Though it is part of a chain with over forty locations, the Pancake House has a friendly, family-oriented atmosphere. The cheery yellow walls are the perfect compliment to a weekend morning.  For my first meal ever at the Pancake House, I went for an order of the classic chocolate chip pancakes with a side of bacon. As an experienced connoisseur of all things chocolate, I particularly appreciated the generous amount of chocolate chips both in and on top of the pancakes. I’ve had too many breakfasts destroyed by stingy chocolate allotment and was relieved that this was not the case here. The bacon, on the other hand, though delicious, was ridiculously overpriced. My friend and I planned to share the “full” order of bacon for $7, but were outraged when the plate arrived with only 4 pieces of bacon on it. $1.75 for each piece of bacon is too much, no matter how good.

From my own impressions and the input of a few Original Pancake House veterans, I concluded that the pancakes are delicious and worth a visit, but everything else on the menu can be skipped. Then again, if a person goes to a place with the word “pancake” in it and doesn’t order pancakes, they have only themselves to blame for the resulting disappointment.

Ike’s Place:

The long line at Ike’s Place sandwich shop is an accurate testament to the quality of the concoctions they serve. No matter what type of sandwich you prefer, there is surely something on their menu that will please you, and if not, you can customize. Ordering can be a tad awkward since each sandwich has a completely obscure name like the “Name of Girl I’m Dating” (chicken, avocado, honey mustard), but it’s forgivable since the names denote such delicious results.

As someone who does not identify as a particularly sandwich-inclined individual, I must admit I was skeptical when I was first taken here. But Ike’s and I were destined to be together. The first sandwich I ever tried from Ike’s, the “Ménage a Trois” (chicken honey mustard, honey, various cheeses), was the one for me. I savored every single bite of that delicious sandwich and never looked back. Once, maybe twice, tried a different sandwich, only for it to always end in crushing regret. Granted, the “Ménage

a Trois” is not for everybody, but I have yet to meet a single person who has been to Ike’s and not found something that they absolutely love.

The line can be long, and it is hard to find. Additionally, they discontinued their half sizes, so now a sandwich can cost upwards of ten dollars for a size most high schoolers have no chance of finishing. Yet the sandwich at the end of the tunnel makes it all worth it.

Armadillo Willy’s:

We generally have it good here in the Bay Area, but if there is one thing that is significantly lacking, it’s good ol’-fashioned Texas barbeque. Armadillo Willy’s seeks to right this egregious wrong-doing with eight locations between San Jose and Dublin, including one conveniently located in Los Altos. Highlights of their menu include Pit-Smoked BBQ sandwiches and plates, as well as fries of assorted flavorings and burgers. I chose to try the BBQ Melt with brisket served on Texas Toast (which is just toast with double the thickness). The succulent meat melted in my mouth and the “thick-cut, double-smoked, brown feel, and I appreciate the back room’s comfortable booths and plastic checkered tablecloths. Prices are reasonable, and service is quick.     If one is searching for Texas barbeque without actually having to go to Texas (an understandable endeavor), then Armadillo Willy’s is the perfect place to try.

The succulent meat melted in my mouth and the “thick-cut, double-smoked, brown sugar bacon” was as delicious as its name is long. It was far from the highlight of my meal, however, which is clearly to be bestowed upon the corn muffin I ordered on the side, which is something extrodinary. On a separate occasion, however, I tried their tri-tip chili and was disappointed as it paled in comparison to my previous order.

The restaurant itself has a Southern feel and I particularly appreciate the back room’s comfortable booths and plastic checkered-tablecloths. Prices are very reasonable, and service is generally quick.

If one is searching for Texas barbeque without actually having to go to Texas, then Armadillo Willy’s is the perfect place to try.

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