The Original Pancake House

22 E Bellevue Pl. Chicago, IL 60611 • (312) 642-7917originalpancakehouse.com

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Amidst the like likes of Prada, Ted Baker, Jil Sander and Armani you will find an oddly located, old-school pancake house smack dab in the middle of the Viagra Triangle (it gets its name from the fact that there are a lot of wealthy, older gentlemen partaking in high class escort services in the hotels that triangulate this area).

Hookers aside, there really is some great shopping to be had and if you want to hit the stores early, there are few places that are better to power up than The Original Pancake House (which technically isn’t the original, which opened in Oregon). But “early” is the key word here people, because not only does the early bird get the worm, it also gets a table without having to wait an hour.

Yes, this place packs ‘em in all these years later because they have a good thing going and they keep it that way. Been almost twenty years between the last time I visited and just now and they haven’t lost a step.

My strong recommendations are the pancakes, obviously, and specifically the pumpkin pancakes when in season (they are pretty famous for their apple pancakes as well). But the other call that might seem less obvious are the baked eggs. I’m not sure how they do it, but they bake their omelets instead of frying them and while you might think that would make them less flavorful, it’s quite the contrary. They are chock full and fluffier than a Pomeranian after losing a battle with a blow dryer. So pick whichever one tickles your fancy from veggie to western to spinach and feta- it doesn’t matter. It’s all good and probably the best thing you can buy in the neighborhood for under $100. That was intended to be a shopping joke, not about the escorts. Although I suppose it covers both.

5 teeth

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Toku Sushi

2014 Northern Blvd. Manhasset, NY 11030 • (516) 627-7121 • tokumodernasian.com

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While not quite at the level of Makoto in Bal Harbor, Miami, Toku is very much cut from the same cloth. Great high-end sushi in a great high-end mall. And while mall sushi might sound like a very low bar to surmount, I can assure you this is not the Panda Express of Japanese cuisine. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find better sushi on Long Island. But it’s not just the sushi that makes the meal, they do so many other things well from tacos (pictured) to sliders to- we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s cover the basics first.

The service is always friendly and the décor is contemporary, with an expansive dining room, so fret not if you are a walk-in because there is seldom a wait, and even if there is, at least you have good window shopping nearby to keep you busy.

So once you’re done perusing Prada and are seated at your table, it’s your mouth that will take the baton, doing a little shopping of its own, because everything looks and tastes so very good. The sushi and sashimi are always melt-in-your-mouth fresh, and as I hinted above, even the non-sushi items are quite toothsome, like my personal fav, the assorted sliders. Also, be sure to finish off with my favorite Japanese dessert, the red bean mochi (ice cream dumplings wrapped in a thin layer of gelatin). You will love it almost as much as the new Gucci bag you just scored.

4 teeth