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Nobody said this journey would be easy, and the Ring Burger ($8.49) was proof. It arrived ready for a fight, covered with Pepper Jack cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, and mayo and served atop another grilled cheddar bun with more potatoes, this time fries that would have been appealing had I not been wounded in my earlier tussle with the Potatoes of the Shire. But what's this? The wooden toothpick jutting stoically from the top of the burger, purported to hold three golden onion rings, was bare. The precious! Gollum would have lost his shit. My waitress informed me that they were out of rings, but I knew she was hoarding them in the kitchen for herself. Good thing I was too stuffed to protest.

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The journey wasn't over yet. My penultimate peak to scale took the form of the Lonely Mountain Treasure ($2.49), a bowl of lemon-poppy French-toast nuggets with a side of vanilla frosting that, on the menu, looked more like oversized croutons with a side of mayonnaise. At this point in the saga, I might have preferred croutons. But I forced my broken, bloated stomach onward, dipping the spongy bites into the creamy frosting and swallowing them practically whole.

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My final reckoning awaited. The Radagast's Red Velvet Pancake Puppies ($1.99), six fried balls of red-velvet cake, leered at me from their bowl. Deep-fried and weighty, they came with a side of cream-cheese frosting for dipping, offering a lusty challenge even to a seasoned Denny's warrior like myself. I made it through one. (I actually would probably have loved these things if I hadn't just eaten my way through the better part of Middle Earth.)

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ALAS, THIS MENU DOESN'T GO EVER ON AND ON IT RUNS THROUGH EARLY JANUARY. AND THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY HITS SCREENS ON DECEMBER 14.

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Related: I learned to love the grape — and so can you, at the Boston Wine Expo, On the Cheap: Ecco Pizzeria, Review: Catalyst Restaurant, More more >
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