Sunday Pancake Blogging
Just what I always wanted. Some dago in a pinky ring and blue satin shirt pawing my pancakes. "Put the pancake down Uncle Tony. Back away from the pancake." God! Who knows where those fingers have been.
My mom taught me the fine art of pancake appreciation. One day at Denny's I asked my aunt if the pancakes were rubbery. Her response was "I don't know, a pancake is a pancake." Mother and I gasped. How could two women who grew up in the same home turn out so differently? But, alas, we see this all the time in families, different political views, views on religion, and of course, pancakes.
I recently found out that the enemy of the pancake is the spoon. Do not over mix your pancake batter! This is what causes rubbery pancakes. Unfortunately this information has not been dispersed to 99% of the restaurants and cafes in Northern California. You should not need a knife to cut your pancakes. Someone please tell the cooks, get the word out. Stop the fricken OCD stirring! Leave the damn batter alone!
Anyway...In my humble opinion, a good pancake is not a crepe nor is it a lead blanket. It is not eggy, it is not rubbery, it is not too thick and dry, it is just right. It is cakey, hence the name, pan-CAKE. A pancake is only slightly sweet and not in competition with the syrup. The best restaurant pancakes that I have ever had are made in Oakland at the Merritt Restaurant. Also the home of the best fried chicken and mashed potatoes with country gravy ever made. Actually nothing on their menu is bad except maybe the spaghetti. Anyway, these are pancakes to base a childhood on. Just the right thickness, just the right sweetness, burn your mouth hot in the middle. All else pale in comparison. They are made from scratch, of course, and someone told the cook not to stir too much, because you will never find a rubber pancake here.
So, since I have moved three hours north of my beloved pancakes, I have been searching, without success, for delish belly blankets. While nothing can replace the Merritt pancakes, I have found that the Harvest Grain and Nut pancakes at IHOP are sometimes just what the doctor ordered. Slightly sweet, full of chopped nuts and maybe oatmeal, these puppies are gooooood. But look out, they will hit your gut like a medicine ball. Don't plan on moving around much for about an hour after eating them, and definitely don't swim. These guys also need about 10 times more butter than regular pancakes and just try to find a waitress to get you some. Better to put some butter in your pocket before you leave home.
The other place that I have found that makes a decent pancake has a name as equally embarassing to say as "IHOP". Humpty Dumpty restaurant in Grass Valley. One pancake will do because it is as big as a dinner plate. I like these because they are crunchy on the outside. Although I never knew her, I am told that my grandma made pancakes that were crunchy on the outside, so maybe I like these for cellular sentimental reasons.
Now...about the syrups...maybe next time.