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Oct 23, 2006 05:09 PM

Disappointing breakfast at the Dutch Eating Place - where are the great pancakes?

She and I were craving a great breakfast on Saturday so we went to the DEP for blueberry pancakes, eggs and bacon. Sadly, the pancakes were the same big, heavy, floury things you get almost everywhere, the eggs and bacon were similarly on the blah side of typical (for the record, I love the bacon-cheeseburger and fries at the Dutch Eating Place, so I'm not a basher).

When I make buttermilk pancakes I use an Edna Cunningham recipe that uniformly produces light, airy cakes with crisp edges and an intensely buttery flavor. They are to die for (no credit to me, I just follow the recipe) and come out right every time. Yet whenever I go out for pancakes I get the same leaden flaps that leave me feeling like I swallowed Grandma's woolen shawl.

Sometimes I just don't feel like makin' em myself. So where can I go in Philly for amazing pancakes?

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  1. Hmmm, my pancakes at the DEP on Saturday were fine as usual but they were as you described them. I guess I like the larden-type of pancake (an aside-didja notice that they ran out of their traditional syrup this Saturday?)

    I know of nowhere in Philly (or have not tried any places) where you can get pancakes exactly as you described. I did (mistakenly) venture into the Down Home Diner once when the DEP was closed several years ago and had crusty, hard-skinned pancakes, but that's not what you're looking for I assume. Come to think of it, have you tried Sam's Morning Glory Cafe? while their french toast is the thing to get if you ask me, their pancakes were airy and light, and that might be up your alley.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bluehensfan

      You know, I didn't even notice the syrup - do they do real maple? This was my first time doing breakfast at the DEP; I usually get lunch.

      Crusty and hard-skinned is definitely not what I'm looking for, so I'll steer clear of the Down Home Diner (I've had one reasonably good breakfast there (but I ordered very simply) and one pretty low-grade cheeseburger).

      But I will try Morning Glory, for sure.

    2. The DEP uses Golden Barrel Pancake and Waffle Syrup but I am not sure what they served on Saturday. It was my son who noticed the syrup was lighter in color. It was good but not as sweet or flavorful as Golden Barrel. Your pancakes at DEP weren't too dark were they? I always order them light there and the bacon well done to achieve the desired result.

      I'd still try Morning Glory but steer clear of the frittatas...overrated. And leave a lot of time. Breakfast there on the weekends is a tasty but time-consuming proposition.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bluehensfan

        Hm. I thought my pancakes were pretty light.

        Sounds like Morning Glory is one of those hyper-popular breakfast/brunch places where you have to wait two hours to eat a 20-minute meal. What is it about brunch? Right after we moved here we tried to eat at Sabrina's four times and each time we ended up giving up and deciding to go somewhere else. There's something about standing in a Disneylandesque line for an omelet that I find hard to take. But if Morning Glory serves breakfast on plain old weekdays, maybe I can try it on a Wednesday or something.

        1. re: GDSwamp

          I hear that wait wise, Sabrina's and Morning Glory are pretty much the same, and the annoying thing I noticed about MG is that they only do orders one at a time, so even after you are seated, another wait will happen while your food is prepared. So if you are behind a large party or if it's crowded, they will do all of their food for everyone else ahead of you before they start yours. At least that's one good thing about DEP, it's fast!

          1. re: bluehensfan

            Not on the pancake topic, but I was heading to Morning Glory one Saturday morning and, discouraged by the wait, walked around the corner to Shank & Evelyn's. Only a few people there, great eggs and sausage with a liberal side of South Philly edge and hospitality. Haven't made it back there for lunch but hope to soon. (Not sure if they're open every Saturday or not- eccentric hours, apparently.)

          2. re: GDSwamp

            You need to go earlier to Sabrina's. I've had brunch there many times and only had to wait once or twice, for maybe 5 minutes at the most. You just need to get there a little earlier in the morning, before 9 am is best. After 10 am, forget it. The food is worth it, and the service is friendly, two things I can't say about Morning Glory.

        2. It has been a few years but I had just the kind of pancakes you describe at Figs. I asked Moustapha how he get them so fluffy and he said the secret was to make the batter the night before. I don't know whether they still serve them.

          1 Reply
          1. re: joluvscards

            Has anyone tried the pancakes at Honey's Sit and Eat? I know the pancakes were described as "airy, eggy, and as big as frisbees" by a local paper although I've never been there.

          2. I looove the pancakes at Honey's. My previous favorite was Judy's, but they're gone. And you can get pretty good cheap pancakes at Green Village, 15th and Cherry.

            1. Hey do you feel like posting that Edna Cunningham recipe? It sounds great.

              3 Replies
              1. re: I eat a lot

                Thanks, everyone, for your good suggestions. Honey's and Figs both sound promising. Very happy to post the recipe. Turns out it's Marion, not Edna (I always get the Cunninghams confused).

                The absolute key step in here is where she tells you to leave the lumps in the batter. I'm convinced that that's what makes the difference between pancakes that turn out airy and the floury cakes you usually get:

                Buttermilk Pancakes
                from Marion Cunningham, The Breakfast Book

                Makes about 14 3-inch cakes

                3⁄4 C buttermilk
                1 egg, at room temperature
                2 T butter, melted
                1 C all-purpose flour
                1⁄2 tsp salt
                1/2 tsp baking soda
                2 T sugar

                Put the buttermilk, egg and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Stir briskly until the mixture is smooth and blended (best to whisk the butter into the egg+buttermilk).

                Stir the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda together in a small bowl so they are well-blended. Stir in the buttermilk mixture – only until the dry ingredients are moistened – leave the lumps.

                Heat the skillet or griddle to medium hot. Grease lightly and spoon out about 3 Tbsp of batter per pancake. Spread the batter with the back of a spoon so it is thinned out a little. Cook until a few bubbles break on top. Turn the pancake over and cook briefly. Keep pancakes warm until enough are cooked to serve.

                1. re: GDSwamp

                  Some of the best pancakes I've had were at Carman's Country Kitchen at 11th and Wharton S. Philly.

                  1. re: GDSwamp

                    We enjoy a nice light pancake from James Beard.

                    8 Oz of flour
                    1-3 Tbs of sugar--as you like
                    4 tsp of bake powder
                    1 tsp of salt (a little less is Ok to)

                    Mix this up as it's the "dry"

                    2 eggs, lightly beaten in a measure cup
                    Fill the cup to the 2 cup mark with milk.

                    Stir the whole lot together with 2-3 Tbs of melted butter that's not too hot.

                    Again, just mix/ worries on the lumps.
                    Cook em as usual...yummy.

                    I offer this as I've never had a good pancake at a resturant.