IHOP Serves You Nasty-Tasting Blueberry Pancakes

Reader Loren decided to get her midnight breakfast on with some pancakes at IHOP, but when she got home something tasted a bit off. She looked down and to her disgust, discovered what she thought to be a large area of mold engulfing the blueberries on the pancakes. Her letter and the not-safe-for-breakfast pictures, inside…

Dear Consumerist,

About two weeks ago I went to IHOP with a couple of friends. The place was 3/4 full, but the waiters were very laid back and entertaining. When the waiter took our groups order, I ordered the double blueberry pancakes.

After about ten minutes the waiter served everyone their food, except mine. I thought maybe my pancakes might be taking longer (but why would they?), but after a ten minutes of waiting the waiter told me he had forgotten to put in my order (all of my friends were on different tickets). He was overly sorry for forgetting my order and I had told him it was alright. My friends had almost finished eating and I was still hungry so I ordered the pancakes to go.

About 10 minutes later I got my pancakes to go. They looked really good and hot. I departed from the group of friends to go enjoy my pancakes. I was sitting at home beginning to cut the pancakes. I started eating and after a few bites I noticed a really rank taste. I looked down at my pancakes and the blueberries in the pancakes were moldy. Not just a little moldy, they were sitting-for-hours-under-a-humid-heat-lamp moldy. I had first thought the blueberries had just faded the pancakes an odd blue green, but the taste was so nasty.

I was so angry about my pancakes. IHOP forgot my order and then gave me a moldy one to go. I would have thrown a fit, but by the time this was all said and done it was 2:00am (it has kinda been a tradition to go out late and eat with the friends during the weekend). I can’t believe IHOP would serve me moldy pancakes, they had to know they were moldy before giving them to me. UNBELIEVABLE!

I’m questioning if I will ever go back.

I can still taste them,

Loren
Boise, Idaho

IHOP was in Boise on Eagle and Fairview.

You know what, those are exactly how blueberry pancakes are supposed to look. The taste you experienced might have been caused by some other defect. Someone in the comments suggested rogue buttermilk could be the culprit.

However, if you want to send a complaint to IHOP via the web you can use this web page. Additionally, you can use this contact info: IHOP Corp. 450 N. Brand Blvd. Glendale, CA 91203-4415 Tel: 818-240-6055 Fax: 818-637-3131. On the bright side, we’re confident that your blueberry pancake breakfast will soon become self-aware so that you can keep it as gross, gooey pet.

Comments

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  1. PinkBox says:

    Uhm… how could anyone not notice all of that mold before the first bite?

  2. IrisMR says:

    Well, I USED to be hungry

  3. Tightlines says:

    I think I just threw up in my mouth.

    And it still tasted better than anything at IHOP.

  4. Lucky225 says:

    Good luck with corporate, they’ll just tell you it’s a franchise and your complaint has been emailed to the manager of the franchise.

  5. joshthephenom says:

    Back in my college days I used to be a line cook at a place that sold blueberry pancakes. I can tell you, that if you cook the blueberries in the pancakes, this is exactly how it looks.

    I would bet that the horrible taste was due to something else; probably some bad buttermilk, but I highly doubt that is mold. The juice that raw blueberries put off turns that weird bluish-green color.

  6. mbgrabbe says:

    That doesn’t look like mold. That looks like partially eatten blueberry pancakes.

    Also, what’s that milky stuff all around the plate? Is that melted whipped cream? How long was this plate sitting out?

  7. Katharine says:

    If there are blueberries in the pancakes that is how they look. Mine at home look like that when they are made.

  8. @joshthephenom: yep… I’ve made many blueberry pancakes, when the berries are mixed in, that’s what it looks like cooked.

  9. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @joshthephenom: I’ve cooked blueberry pancakes at home with the same results. It’s not appetizing but they taste dee-licious.

    The bad taste from those pancakes? Well, probably because they’re IHOP pancakes.

  10. kyle4 says:

    @NameGoesHere: Wow, blame the Consumer is off to an early start this morning.
    Maybe she didn’t notice because she either opened it when got home or their was sauce or another pancake on top obstructing the view?

    Maybe they’ll offer her free pancakes for months to come! If only she wanted them.

  11. yourbffjill says:

    my favorite breakfast place ever has these awesome lemon blueberry pancakes, and for some reason they always pile it right on top of my egg, which then turns that exact color. Definitely freaked me out the first time–not cool seeing a food that’s supposed to be yellow be blue-green, but my guess is this pancake is safe and delicious.

  12. yourbffjill says:

    @yourbffjill: well, apparently not delicious according to the post, but I’m projecting my love of blueberry pancakes onto that picture…

  13. Here’s a pic of some homemade bluberry muffins… see how the coloring is….
    [www.misslaysa.net]

  14. VA_White says:

    I agree, the blue-green color is normal. The rank taste is probably from bad dairy in the pancake batter. Even so, still gross.

  15. PinkBox says:

    @kylo4: I’m not really trying to blame the consumer. :/

    I just know if I recieved that plate, I would notice that discoloration first hand.

    Now that I’ve read some other posts, it looks like that is the area where the consumer ate it first, and I have to agree that blueberries baked into pancakes do look like that.

  16. weakdome says:

    Dear Loren,
    We are sorry you have never seen blueberry pancakes before. Also, the bad taste you experienced is completely normal and we hope you have enjoyed eating at IHOP. Please try some of our many other horrible dishes we think you may enjoy, including:
    Paramecium Cheese Blintzes
    Maggot Cheese Souflee
    Fly Larvae Salisbury Steak
    Shit-On-A-Shingle (Home-made!)
    and
    Regurgitated Everything Omlettes!

    Love,
    IHOP

  17. snead says:

    [www.foodnetwork.com]

    You’ll thank me later.

  18. RothRandom says:

    Could I get a bowl of sewage water with that plz?

    kthxbie!

  19. joshthephenom says:

    Nice, I like how the story has been changed to show that it is in fact how they’re supposed to look. Congrats on the edit Consumerist.

  20. joshthephenom says:

    And just because I feel like posting a bajillion times…. Just to cover all the bases, it could actually still be the blueberries that are bad. Perhaps bad rotation of stock, and bad blueberries are pretty rank, but I still say that the color is natural for blueberry pancakes, and it is definitely not mold.

  21. timmus says:

    I have to agree — blueberry pancakes do look kind of like this. I would like to see the Consumerist allow subject experts to vet articles before they appear here… surely it wouldn’t hurt to have a few tech, culinary, labor, legal, etc experts helping out.

  22. V-effekt says:
  23. darkryd says:

    IHOP is kinda gross anyways.

  24. Yeah wtf… this looks like every heavily laden blueberry pancake I’ve ever eaten. Mind over matter in this case.

  25. Bruiser_Bradley says:

    Stop eating at chains. Ask to meet the late night kitchen staff and your local IHop or Denny’s and you’ll know why.

  26. Eels says:

    I briefly worked at a Denny’s, and I am guessing that IHOP uses the same sort of thing for their blueberry pancake topping, which is basically canned blueberry pie filling, and it would take oh I don’t know, a year or so in the back of your fridge to grow mold. Having them under a heat lamp would only make them warm and delicious. But they’re actually kept on ice.

    Do you know how much fresh blueberries cost? Places like IHOP have very little fresh produce. It’s basically lettuce, tomato and onion that are fresh. Everything else comes out of the freezer in a little plastic bag.

    The bad taste you noticed was probably that it was 3am and all those jaegerbombs were starting to turn on you.

  27. forgottenpassword says:

    Oh wow! That is seriosuly messed up!

    Contact Ihop coporate complaint dept.

    I had a problem with my local ihop saying I couldnt use coupons for to-go orders anymore (despite saying nothing about it on the coupon), being a longtime Ihop customer (at least once a week for years)…. I WAS PISSED!!!!!!!

    I fired off a complaint via their website form (included my address & phone number) & recieved a call from a cust serv rep.. SHe said I was correct & the Ihop in question would be contacted & set straight. Never had a problem since.

    I’ve never had a problem food-wise with my local ihop (of course I dont order blueberries on my pancakes ….I use my own blueberry syrup).

  28. forgottenpassword says:

    Note: to those saying that the blueberries are cooked inside the pancakes…..I dont think that is the case. The blueberries at Ihop are whole blueberries in a blueberry like sauce (very similar to blueberry pie filling). I know, because i once asked for a snall cup of blueberry syrup to go & was mistakenly given the blueberries & the sauce that it comes in instead).

    And to those saying that ihop pancakes taste horrible…. I truely beg to differ. IMO they are the best pancakes I have ever had.

    I think Ihops differ from place to place. Some have horrible food & horrible service (mostly in the poor/dangerous neighborhoods).

  29. TPS Reporter says:

    If it’s mold on the blueberrys, why don’t any of the ones on top that are in all that sauce have mold? It looks like the juice from the blueberry mixing with the yellow of the pancake batter. So what does blue and yellow mixed together create? Anyone, anyone….green. They could have tasted bad but it is not from mold.

  30. joshthephenom says:

    @forgottenpassword: There are many possibilities here, but for example: The two places I worked, both put fresh blueberries inside of the pancake, and then blueberry compote (that pie filling stuff) on top of them. Two completely different items. The servers always had access to the compote, so that may be why they brought you that. Just an idea.

    I never put the compote IN the pancakes, though I would guess the same coloration would happen.

  31. Youthier says:

    I do think they look like the double-blueberry pancakes (it brings me back to the days of when I served people glass in their ice cream that was actually ice)but that’s irrelevant to my question. Why didn’t she call the local IHOP? I mean, if they were moldy, then other pancakes may be moldy as well so others are going to be sold moldy pancakes. I don’t buy that “they had to know” and maliciously sold her these moldy cakes.

    I love Consumerist but I hate that people use it as a source to complain and not do anything to help themselves.

  32. That looks like cooked blueberries to me.

  33. Youthier says:

    @forgottenpassword: The OP said they were DOUBLE blueberry pancakes, which has both the sauce and blueberries inside.

  34. PinkBox says:

    @forgottenpassword: I just checked their website, and their menu says:

    Double Blueberry Pancakes
    Four buttermilk pancakes filled with blueberries, topped with warm blueberry compote and whipped topping.

    I’m awfully tempted to go there this weekend and try some, lol…

  35. SecureLocation says:

    Don’t think that’s mold. Those big, fat cultivated blueberries are kinda greenish on the inside.

  36. j-yo says:

    I wonder if the rank taste might have been caused by old pancake batter. Even if the dry powder mix has been sitting around too long, it can go bad and make you horribly ill. Just another theory to throw out there.

  37. forgottenpassword says:

    @Youthier:

    My mistake. Must’ve missed that.

  38. GC says:

    I don’t know if it’s moldy blueberries or blueberries mixed with pancakes, but it looks really damn nasty.

  39. NewPerfection says:

    Yeah, I agree that blueberry pancakes are supposed to look like that. If they don’t, there’s something wrong. The bad taste must have been from old batter or expired buttermilk.

  40. ChuckECheese says:

    This looks like undercooked pancake batter. Cold (as in frozen) watery blueberries + pancake batter = sludge. Why is it green? Because baking soda/powder turns the pigment in blueberries green. Acid turns the pigment red. Try it at home! Works with beets too.

    So her pancakes tasted bad because they were full of raw batter, and raw pancake batter is untasty. They weren’t griddled long enough. This is unfortunate and inedible, but it’s not mold.

    With that said, if you are looking for mold at IHOP, look at the coffee carafe lids and the syrup lids. Those things are mold traps, nearly impossible to clean properly. I found mold in a coffee carafe lid at IHOP about 2 years ago, the last time I ate in one.

  41. Hirayuki says:

    Blueberries can have that kind of dusty, musty taste anyway, especially in baked goods (including pancakes). This is why I shy away from blueberry anything except fresh, raw berries eaten out of hand (and even then, quality and taste vary).

  42. Balisong says:

    It’s been said, but it needs to be said some more. Those look like perfectly normal blueberry pancakes to me, albeit with the whipped cream all melted, which is the real travesty here.

  43. rgshredder says:

    I enjoy cooking moldy pancakes for my family, and I can say, without hesitation, those are not moldy pancakes…moldy pancakes are fuzzier…

  44. thalia says:

    If the pancakes had been moldy, trust me, you would have noticed it first as the OUTSIDE of the pancakes would have been covered in the little green fuzzies. And no, IHOP would not have served them to you. I make blueberry pancakes for my family all the time and that’s exactly how they make the pancakes look. Sounds like you just didn’t like your pancakes and now you’re throwing a tantrum.

    If they had served you moldy old pancakes that had been sitting under a heat lamp for hours, it wouldn’t have taken them ten minutes to make your order.

  45. Youthier says:

    @forgottenpassword: My response looked a lot bitchier than I meant it to… sorry!

  46. Jordan Lund says:

    Mold takes more than minutes or hours to form as well… they would have had to have been multiple days old (or the berries were moldy when they were mixed in the batter.)

    As a remedy, I found this at the store the other day… Pancake batter in a spray can!

    [www.batterblaster.com]

  47. carbonmade says:

    What I think is funny, is that she says that after the “horrible” experience, she’s only “questioning if [she’ll] ever go back.” If I got moldy food somewhere, I’d NEVER go back!

  48. Confuzius says:

    CONSUMERIST IS NOT YOUR 15 MINUTES OF “FAME”
    Seriously, this is getting really frustrating it seems that more and more people are submitting inane or just blatantly false complaints to Consumerist because they’ve come to realize that “My complaint on consumerist.com = free swag!”
    I’d hate to think that better, more relevant consumer issues are being ignored just because they don’t have sensational gross looking pictures attached to them.
    As for the pancakes, it’s already been established that those are perfectly normal blueberry pancakes. While it’s unfortunate that they originally forgot the order, when you show up to an IHOP at 1am on a weekend the staff are probably the only sober ones in the place (that may be stretching it a bit, but you get the point). There’s a chance that your group of friends or others around were not exactly the best behaved diners that IHOP has ever seen, it’s easy for something to get lost in the Confuzion.
    Those look like perfectly normal pancakes that got forgotten on the back seat of a car or the kitchen counter and photographed the next morning.
    That being said it’s been an amusing day for comments.

  49. ryanv1978 says:

    @Lucky225:

    I doubt IHOP will treat this that way. This is a clear problem with their product. Comparing this to the situation that you chose to put yourself in isn’t close to the same.

  50. MissGayle says:

    Well, blueberry pancakes and muffins do sort of look like that. You can’t really tell from the picture that anything is wrong. That being said, we went to the Lex Ky IHOP a couple of weeks after it first opened, and the place was incredibly dirty, even though it was brand new. The waitress waited half and hour after we had ordered to put in our orders to the kitchen, so we sat there with nothing to eat for ages. Then they got one of the kid’s orders wrong… We have never been back and don’t plan to go back.

  51. ryanv1978 says:

    IHOP sucks….I dont know why anyone would go there looking for a decent pancake anyway.

    The Waffle House is better and that is saying alot.

  52. baristabrawl says:

    Once, after going out drinking with friends out Designated Driver was talked into taking us to Denny’s. When we got there EVERY employee was standing by the front door smoking and spitting and eating and drinking.

    Something about that grossed me out and I’ve never had the desire to eat at a Denny’s again.

    I’ve always been of the impression that you should never let a guest see you pick your nose, sneeze, touch your face, pick your teeth, smoke or eat. While it’s perfectly normal for all of these things to happen…don’t let me see you doing it while I’m eating.

    Once, our waitress even told us, “I’m going to go out and smoke…if you need anything ask [other server]” *shock*

  53. Phas3Sh1ft says:

    I worked for Subway some years back, and at my store sometimes the tomatos would get bruised from shipping (and subsequently moldy). First time I noticed this, I went to throw it out, but my manager stopped me and told me to just cut out the moldy parts (which is a bit hard since we have a tomato slicer that cuts up the tomatos the way you see them on your sandwich).

    Since then, I’ve never gotten tomatos on my Subway, figuring that if anyone working at Subway is dumber than I am, they would screw it up and I’d get moldy tomatos. (The marinara is different altogether tho, so it should be safe ;)

  54. Jthmeffy says:

    Mold? jesus christ, what a fucking twit… Apparently Loren has never had blueberry pancakes before

  55. Lucky225 says:

    @ryanv1978:

    I didn’t CHOOSE to violate the merchant agreement, the merchant did. Just like this person didn’t choose to have moldy pancakes cooked, the merchant did. Just as with this person, the only thing we chose was to eat at this worthless diner. What the diner chose to do when we went in there was not our fault.

  56. Meisterjager says:

    Dayummm, they look tasty. I love me some Blueberry.

    [www.dixiediner.com]