Hustler Casino Cakes: Don’t Bet On These

One Sunday afternoon, I found myself at Larry Flynt’s Bar & Grill located inside the Hustler Casino in Gardena, CA. I was in search of breakfast in the South Bay area that didn’t also come with a 45 minute wait. What I got was a relatively quiet place to eat amidst the gentle clinking of chips, an $8 mimosa, and pancakes that were pretty bad. At the time of eating here, everything was served in takeout containers due to covid policies. I also ordered eggs and bacon which were slightly below mediocre. The real standout of the meal was the bread served on the side. This wasn’t the usual trash toast you get on the side, this was real, bakery-fresh, thick cut bread.

The pancakes were a different, sadder story. The first indication was that they were hard to cut into. This is an immediate warning sign you are about to eat sad stacks. The only thing you can really do with pancakes like this is douse them in butter and syrup and hope for the best. Even sugar and fat weren’t much help. About 90% of the pancakes ended up in the trash.

I guess I might come here again if I had a hankering for a table game and didn’t want to make the hop over to Vegas.


Overall Taste: Sad.

Mouthfeel: Not enjoyable, hard to chew.

Size: Large but useless.

Presentation: These definitely looked like pancakes.

Price: Do not recall, but not expensive.

Location: 1000 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

More Casino Cake Reviews!

Country Touch Cafe: More Than a Touch Too Chewy

Immediately, I knew there would be trouble. You should never have trouble cutting a pancake.

Country Touch Cafe, located in Torrance, CA is an adorable hole-in-the-wall diner with delightfully decorated mugs and charming decor which include painted saws hanging from the wall. As lovable as this place is, it is not a good place to order pancakes. In fact, it is a bad place to order pancakes.

I came here on a date with the aforementioned blue-eyed space guy (who I guess was not terribly put off by my food flinging) and we both ordered omelettes. I was unable to resist trying their pancakes too, labeled only as “Hot Cakes” on the menu.

I tried to cut a piece of pancake with my fork, which should be easy to do, but was challenging. Immediately, I knew there would be trouble. You should never have trouble cutting a pancake. It’s a sign they will be chewy and unpleasant to eat.

I sampled a mouthful and it was bad. I tried them with butter and syrup and they were still bad. My date, who continued his disturbing pancake preferences by revealing he liked to “murder his pancakes with syrup” did so and also found them bad.

Honestly, I felt guilty because this place is so sweet. I think I ate half trying to convince myself they were not that bad. On the plus side, these weren’t as inedible as the infamous Mel’s, which is why they have a higher rating.

My date was kind about my pancake disappointment, and told me it was ok I didn’t like them. At one point, while trying to decide if his eyes were actually blue or some delicate variation I couldn’t quite put my finger on, I picked up the milk saucer instead of the syrup and proceeded to pour milk over the pancakes. Despite this extra moisture, the pancakes were still hard to cut.

If you’re in the area and craving standard diner food or maybe the Bul-Goki Omelette I saw on the menu, you should come here. I’d come back for the mugs, which I wanted to steal (but didn’t). Just don’t order the pancakes.


Overall Taste: Not good.

Mouthfeel: Bad.

Size: Large.

Presentation: Standard pancake on pancake.

Price: $5.95 – $8.45

Location: 3717 W 190th St, Torrance, CA 90504

It’s Not You, It’s the Pancakes: Mel’s Drive-In

You should never have trouble cutting pancakes.

The worst pancakes I ever had in Los Angeles were at Mel’s Drive-In in Sherman Oaks. It was my second date with a guy who was cute but super flaky. Our second date took place approximately six months after our first one. But also, he lived in the Valley so I didn’t have high hopes for a lasting relationship. Back to the pancakes. In an appreciated effort to be very sweet, he pre-ordered me TWO orders of pancakes before I arrived. This is a risky move. If the pancakes are super fucking amazing, lukewarm or even cool pancakes are no big deal (to me), but if the pancakes are anything less than that, there’s big trouble. I was worried the moment he texted me that he had already ordered me pancakes since I was still a good 10 minutes away.

My fears were well founded. The pancakes were terrible. I didn’t have the heart to tell him. I’ve never had so much trouble eating pancakes. I even had trouble cutting them. You should never have trouble cutting pancakes. I doused them in syrup, which I rarely do. It didn’t help. They were chewy, and a bad chewy. It was like overdone steak you have to chew and chew and finally give up and just swallow the chunk anyway. These are supposed to be your basic “Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes.” You can add berries and bananas which probably would have helped. I don’t know how Mel’s fucked up these alleged buttermilk pancakes so badly, but they did. This is a chain, so I don’t know if the other locations are any better, and I can’t say I am in any kind of rush to compare.

In case you’re wondering what happened to the guy, who knows. He disappeared back into the Valley. But he did leave me with a pair of Superman booty shorts from a certain Superman production, so I don’t have any hard feelings… except about those pancakes.

Just the Stacks – 0/10 Tasty Stacks

Image via Jared from Flickr.

Overall Taste: Trash.

Mouthfeel: Trash.

Size: Decent.

Presentation: Trash masquerading as a stack of pancakes.

Price: $9.95 ($1.75 for berries/bananas added)

Location: 14846 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403