Chock-full of Chocolate

Getting breakfast is about to get easier. Twenty-nine new IHOP restaurants will soon open in Houston, Austin and Dallas. The chain (ten locations citywide; see www.ihop.com) is, of course, the home of the famous Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity breakfast special. But the standout item on the restaurants' plastic-coated menus has got to be the chocolate chip pancakes. The person who thought to pair the sweet delicacy of a chocolate croissant with America's hearty pancake deserves a kiss. A big Hershey's kiss. For $5.29, you get a stack of plate-sized pancakes made from chocolate batter, stuffed with gooey chocolate chips, topped with more chocolate chips, sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a heap of whipped cream. (We've actually seen people pour syrup on them, but that's overkill.) Surprisingly light, the concoction pairs well with crisp bacon and salty hash browns. Just don't ask about the calories.

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Marene Gustin