February 1, 2009 in City

Cakes stacked against us in quest for glory

By The Spokesman-Review

We interrupt your Super Bowl beer, brats and burp fest revelry with the following important food announcement …

The all-you-can-eat pancake record at Spokane’s East Sprague IHOP still stands at 28.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that no members of my competitive eating team – Flapjack Fury – exploded while trying to break the mark on Friday.

We fought the good fight. We stuffed. We gorged …

But I knew it was over when Kellen Johnson, a 300-pounder, got that vacant, 1,000-yard stare common to combat soldiers and Death Row inmates.

“I’ve gotta go outside and walk around,” the 18-year-old mumbled a few moments after rolling his 21st (and final) pancake into a cigar shape and shoving it down the ol’ cakehole.

Bummer. Kellen was the Flapjack Fury’s franchise gobbler. Losing our main eating machine was like “The Wizard of Oz” losing Judy Garland.

I was no help. I only managed to consume a piddly 10 pancakes before crying “no mas.”

Sure, I probably could have crammed down another cake or two. But someone needed to live to tell the tale.

Speaking of which, I suppose you’re wondering how such a cultured columnist wound up endangering his colon in a pancake-a-thon.

I blame President Obama, actually.

That can-do attitude he’s always talking about gave me the Audacity of Dough.

It happened one morning while I was enjoying breakfast at the aforementioned IHOP. My server pointed out that never-ending pancakes were back on the menu.

Mmm. Hotcakes are my friends.

Eventually she told me about the record. The notion of setting a new mark began to take root.

Not that I could ever do it. My ability to consume large loads of food at one sitting abandoned me long ago with my youth and my hair. I needed professional help.

I called my buddy Scott Cooper, who will go along with practically any idiotic thing I come up with. Plus his South Hill Hauling business puts him in touch with a lot of physical guys like Kellen.

(Scott is actually Kellen’s great uncle. Although after this Maalox misadventure I’m not sure if “great” will be a word that Kellen would use in describing Uncle Scott.)

Kellen then called his friends Travis Whitehill, Ethan Herrera, Garrett Jutte and Eric Senn. Scott also enlisted his brother-in-law, Tomas Lynch.

The Flapjack Fury was born.

Bob Bartch, the manager of the IHOP at 5403 E. Sprague Ave., was only too glad to accommodate my troop of human tapeworms.

He told me the record was set last year by a 17-year-old high school football player who first ate the IHOP sampler (eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and hash browns) before the 28 pancakes.

Who is this kid, the spawn of Paul Bunyan?

Bartch runs a quality restaurant. Today, he told me, a basketball player from the legendary Globetrotters organization will be in the eatery signing autographs at 12:30 p.m.

I thought about going down and recruiting this athlete for the Flapjack Fury. The only flaw in that idea is I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to look at a pancake again.

I’m fairly certain my eating team feels the same.

“I want to cry,” moaned Eric as he began to dig into his third platter of pancakes. “But I’m afraid it will come out syrup.”

Maybe we should change our name to the Flapjack Flops.

Kellen’s 21 cakes were the best we could muster. Ethan was right behind him with 20.

Any way you carve it, the record was out of reach.

Special thanks to our server, Cerena Jordan, who kept the hotcakes coming with encouraging words and a sweet smile.

And to the gray-haired guy sitting at the table behind me. He seemed to really enjoy the show.

“Doug, you gotta pick up the pace,” he urged at one point.

Well, wattaya know. The Flapjack Fury’s first fan.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you who he was. The man wouldn’t give me his name when I asked him for it. He told me just to say that he was a personal friend of my publisher.

Looks like the pancakes came with a side of baloney.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@spokesman.com.

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