by Ari Kassardjian and Larry Feygin

After an exhausting win against L.A. Baptist in football and a long guido-filled night of debauchery, we found ourselves desperately in need of a hearty meal. After tossing around a few ideas, we decided on Uncle Bill’s Pancake House in Manhattan Beach on the corner of Highland and 13th Street, which neither of us had been to before. So with our remaining energy, we set out to Manhattan Beach along with Kevin Wang, Michael Kogan, Luigi Cervantes, and Cameron Longyear, the latter being a “Manhappenin’ Beach” local and expert.

Even though it was a Sunday, we still had to pump what seemed to be endless change into our parking meters for the very limited parking in Manhattan Beach. We stumbled across the street to finally reach Uncle Bill’s where two grinning hostesses greeted us. Anomalous to the notoriety of Uncle Bill’s for its dauntingly long wait time, our wait was only fifteen minutes long. Once our table was ready, the hostess called for Larry as if she had known him for years, representing the hospitability of this cozy restaurant in Manhattan Beach.

Because it was a Sunday morning, the entire inside of the restaurant was packed, forcing the guidos outside. As we walked through the inside of the restaurant, a typical Manhattan Beach atmosphere surrounded us. Street signs were strewn around the columns and walls holding up the abnormally low ceilings, which gave Uncle Bill’s a comfortable ambiance. Mothers and fathers with their children straight from their workouts sat around the wooden, quaint tables adding to the communal feel of Uncle Bill’s. Overall, the seating was rather limited; it’s admirable that Uncle Bill’s does not sacrifice its cozy atmosphere to expand and lose the community feeling.

With our eyes blurry and bodies heavy, we stepped outside and sat on the squeaky white chairs with our menus already in place. Although the air was rather brisk, our bodies were warmed by the breathtaking view of the fading marine layer over the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean. Our waitress arrived promptly while flaunting a shining Star of David on her necklace, which caused a giddy Larry to feel at home.

Once we became acclimated to our serendipitous surroundings, we feasted our eyes on the menus. The selection was as vast as the Tanzanian Serengeti, giving our empty stomachs plenty of edible wildlife and vegetation to consider. One could nearly be overwhelmed by the menu’s size, just as Kevin was overwhelmed by our hostess’s beauty. The menu included various egg combinations, including eggs any style with any of the following: chicken, ham, beef and turkey patties, corned beef, and steak pork chops. Even Mike Ditka and the hungry 1985 Chicago Bears would be satisfied by these combinations. Next, one can find an array of omelettes, which includes internationally inspired egg concoctions like the Istanbul, with Swiss cheese and turkey; the Greek, with feta and olives; and the Spanish, with lots of cheese and Spanish sauce.

The real draw here, however, is the sweet breakfast items. A restaurant with “Pancakes” in its name had to have great pancakes. Although Luigi was intrigued by the breakfast wraps, which he described as “grinteresting” due to their variety of lard-free tortillas, he decided to go with the chocolate chip pancakes. The chocolate reminded Cervantes of his younger days when he aspired to win Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. Cameron and Kevin both saw Luigi’s gustatory genius and decided that mimicry was their best bet, with Wang also adding an omelet to his meal. Michael was craving a sweet and savory combination and decided to order the bacon and cheddar cheese waffles. Larry and Ari decided to get strawberry and waffles and pancakes, respectively, with a side order of sausage and poached eggs for Laurence Marc. Other pancakes/waffles were available with pecans, blueberries, cinnamon raisin, banana nut and more.

The food was well worth the short wait. The waffles were of the thin and crispy category and were featherweights compared to the dense, hard-to-eat Belgian waffles Larry experienced during his twenty years in France. The strawberries added a natural sweetness to the Guidos’ waffles, making excessive amounts of syrup unnecessary.

Although it was Yom Kippur the night before, Kogan thought he was a good enough boy that morning, so he could satisfy his non-kosher craving for bacon and cheese waffles. He described the bacon flavor as being more pronounced than the cheese’s.  He again went against God’s will by indulging in the Uncle Bill’s smoky spiced sausage. The chocolate chip pancake trio was unanimous in their appreciation of the sweet and airy pancakes. The only negative was Larry’s poached egg, which he said was “subpar” since the eggs did not compare to those of his chickens.

After the bill came, our counted money mysteriously always ended up coming short, as usual. However, we finally mustered up enough to satisfy the bill, and we left through an array of hostesses bidding us farewell with our bellies full and our eyes heavy. Uncle Bill’s Pancake House truly represented the American Dream via a pancake paradise.

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