Monday, February 27, 2006

A few good pancakes

I'm a pancake snob. I love a good pancake; I loathe the icky personality-free white-bodied blobs topped with too-thick fake syrup that pass for pancakes at most establishments that serve breakfast.

In Milwaukee, a good pancake (more than one, really) could be found at Beans & Barley, the one place on earth I miss most. (OK, so that's maybe hyperbole. But it could be true. I'd have to stop and think.) For one thing, there's no white-flour pancake there: only whole wheat. And no too-thick syrup, either: only real maple syrup or some kind of wonderful compote. But beyond the basic whole wheat buttermilk, they also serve up some mighty fine blueberry cakes, granola cakes, and (if you ask) blueberry-granola cakes. Also, seasonally, they prepare wonderful things like cornmeal pancakes with cranberry-orange compote, ginger pancakes with peach compote. Ah. Pancakes.

In Bloomington, where I lived before moving to Milwaukee, the best pancakes were at the Uptown Cafe. A fine cottage cheese pancake. A lovely blueberry pancake. And, on occasion, a fiery Indonesian corncake, served with salsa.

So after living in Bloomington and Milwaukee, I thought a good pancake could be found in most any place. Of course, I was wrong. Indianapolis? Think again. Carbondale? I know some people rave about the blueberry pancakes at Harbaugh's, and they are, certainly, better than some, but they just don't do it for me. Too bland.

Surely, surely in Columbia. After all, it's a moderately large college town, not unlike Bloomington. But so far, I haven't found it. The only really decent breakfast place, which serves great egg dishes, has chosen to go the boring route of basic buttermilk. (And they even serve the overly-thick fake syrup. This is a restaurant affiliated with one of the most expensive dinner venues in town. And they can't serve maple syrup?)

But there's always home, right? I do make an awfully fine pumpkin pancake.

The occasion for this pancake encomium? Tomorrow's Fat Tuesday, of course. And IHOP's serving up free pancakes. Not that I really like IHOP's standard pancake. But I *could* wax nostalgic about my youthful fondness for those fruit syrups they keep on the tables...

[Thanks to metafilter for the National Pancake Day scoop.]


Marissa said...

now I want to go eat some pancakes...has anyone ever told you that you look like hillary clinton? since the semester began I've been picking my brain, trying to figure out who you look like...and hillary is the best i can even dress very senator-esque

Megan said...

I was at that aforementioned breakfast place the other day and they had sourdough pancakes on the menu, don't know if you've ever seen/had those. They were yummy!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I so love pancakes. I try to make them at home, and they always suck. I don't know what i'm doing wrong. I've tried everything. I can't flip them right, and they ALWAYS burn. The heat isn't too much, but they just want to burn.