So, last time Peter Jackson did Tolkien movies, the restaurant tie-in was with Burger King, unfortunately -- little lit-from-below goblets, each with a different LotR character on the side. Thanks to Janice's going above and beyond on iffy burgers, we managed to get a set of all four.* This time around, our luck is better: it's Denny's that has the movie / restaurant tie-in**
Instead of knick-knacks or "collectables", Denny's has taken a v. different approach: rename some menu items after Tolkienian people or places, and possibly adding a few new items as well (not being that familiar with the standard Denny's menu, hard for me to tell).
Some of these items seem entirely appropriate -- e.g., "Shire sausage" and "Hobbit Hole Breakfast (which includes the bacon and eggs Bilbo kept dreaming about).
Others seem a bit odd -- Seed Cake French Toast? Radagast Red Velvet Pancake Puppies (red velvet cake flavored pancakes shaped like doughnut holes, apparently)? Bilbo's Berry Smoothie (which most unhobbitlike is made from nonfat yogurt)?
And of course many are simply fairly standard items with Tolkienesque names attached, like The Ring Burger (so named for its onion rings), the Dwarves Turkey and Dressing Dinner (rather confusing the Old World/New World bit there), or Frodo's Pot Roast Skillet (with taters!).
Passing over the Shire Sausage Skillet, which actually sounds pretty good, the Gandalf's Gobble Melt (Gandalf shd neither sputter nor gobble), and the Lonely Mountain Treasure (bite-sized Seed Cake French Toast with cream cheese icing/dipping sauce on the side), we come to the one item that's seriously 'unclear on the concept': the Lone-Lands Campfire Cookie Milk Shake. Not that it sounds at all bad, if you like that sort of thing,*** but that I suspect vanilla ice cream (the prime ingredient) is hard to come by when camping out in the Wild. Maybe the dwarves brought a hand-cranked ice-cream maker with them on the journey, along with the harps and viols and clarinets -- but I rather doubt it.
That said, all in all, compared with other Tolkien-themed menus I've seen (such as the one for "Bilbo's" in Kalamazoo, Michigan), this one's not bad. I know I'll be stopping by Denny's between now and when the promotion ends, and sampling an item or two from this menu.
current audiobook: THE HOBBIT (Mind's Eye Theatre)
current book: THE WORLD OF THE HOBBITS by Paddy Kempshall (movie tie-in #5)
*Strider, Gandalf, Arwen, and Frodo. Surprisingly enough, eleven years later the batteries still work on all four (if fitfully on Gandalf's).
**thanks to Janna S., from whom I learned this back in late October.
***cookies in ice cream, ugh.