Off the Griddle with IHOPapotamus at…the Skyline Diner

Assuming that I have regular readers, some of you may recall I was severely disappointed when I went to Christophe’s Crepes and was unable to purchase the Belgian waffles advertised on the side of his truck.  If watching every episode of Mad Men has taught me nothing else, it’s the importance of truth in advertising.  (Mad Men has of course taught me other things like the fact that cigarettes and alcohol aren’t actually bad for you, so long as you wear a suit).

Madmen Logic

(image from Quick Meme)

This has obviously weighed heavily on my conscience for some time.  Sleep has been lost over this, people.  So, I sought to rectify this by visiting the Skyline Diner, on Union Turnpike in New Hyde Park.

I’ve been to the Skyline a few times prior to this, but haven’t tried their pancakes or Belgian waffles before this.  The menu has a few options for Belgian waffles.  Nothing too fancy, it’s mainly just eggs or toppings.  I ordered my waffles with strawberry preserves.

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(map from google)

I had expected the preserves to be poured directly onto the waffles; instead, they were served on the side.  In the end I was very grateful for this since the preserves weren’t all that good.  They were incredibly thick and molasses-y.  I enjoy strawberries, but I prefer them fresh.  The preserves were too thick and artificially sweet for me to really enjoy, so I wound up not really using it on my waffle.  They may have suffered by comparison, since I recently had a far superior type of strawberry preserve at another restaurant.  Should you visit the Skyline, I’d recommend seeing if they would be willing to put substitute fresh strawberries for the preserves.  I have to imagine that it would be a better option.

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(image from the Skyline Diner)

Turning to the waffle itself, it was sweet and filling, if not particularly remarkable.  I had poured the preserves onto about half of the waffle before I tasted it, which turned out to be a mistake.  I still enjoyed this part of the meal, since the waffle itself was good, but the sickly thick sweetness of the preserves prevented me from enjoying the meal completely.  I used butter and maple syrup on the rest of the Belgian waffle.  This was a much better choice, and I preferred this part of the meal significantly more. 

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(Belgian Waffle section from the Skyline menu) 

I was a little disappointed to have to resort to the butter and syrup, since those are toppings I’m well acquainted with and I had hoped I would find a new topping option in the strawberry preserves.  Pancakes and maple syrup are all well and good, but when you write for a blog like this, it’s a taste you become very familiar with.  Sometimes, one needs to be able to explore other options, taste-wise.  I suspect that at a more sophisticated venue than the Skyline Diner I might be able to find superior preserves.  In the meantime, I’ll stick with butter and syrup, assuming that fresh fruit is not an option.

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(so classic someone made a pillow!)

One final note on the Belgian waffle.   While it was certainly a large waffle, the Skyline only served one.  Granted, it’s been a while since I ordered waffles, Belgian or domestic, anywhere, so perhaps that’s standard practice, but I’ve become accustomed, in ordering so many pancakes, to getting a plate with a stack of delicious breakfast food.  Part of me expected the same thing with the Belgian waffle(s).   Perhaps the Skyline knows better than me and if I had more than one I would have been unable to finish both or I would have gotten sick in the process.  O well, I can always revisit it and test my mettle against two of the Skyline’s Belgian waffles.

All in all, it was a pleasant time even though nothing in the experience really stands out as exceptional.  

3 Paul Bunyans:image

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Show Me the Honey!

Doesn’t this look nice?

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The original recipe for this “Honey Cloud Pancake” (from the Things We Make) uses plums as well, but I thought my straight-up berry version was pretty delicious.

A couple of pointers:

  • In a trend I can’t seem to break with 1-pan baked pancakes, the bottom of mine burned a little.  The burnt pieces weren’t so bad and the whole pancake still got eaten, but still…ONE DAY I WILL NOT BURN A 1-PAN BAKED PANCAKE…today just wasn’t that day.  In any case, just make sure your pan isn’t too hot during the stove-top part and that should help prevent burning.
  • The general consensus was that the pancakes were a bit wet.  I think I may not have drained my fruit enough, and some of their residual wetness may have soggied-up the pancakes…so yeah, make sure your fruit is nice and dry…maybe even give them a pat with a paper towel.
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(if only I had patted them dry!)

All in all, these pancakes were pretty god* good and I’ll probably remake them for breakfast.  They have an eggy-souffle-y taste and texture that pairs really well with the fruit.  Speaking of which, make sure you use fruit with a bit of tartness to balance out the honey sweetness.  Divided three ways, and with the leftover fruit, this pancake makes a very satisfying breakfast indeed – Pooh Bear would definitely approve and that’s all that counts right?

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(a satisfying breakfast)

3.75 out of 5 stackies:imageimageimageimage

*that was just a typo that I left in…I thought it was sort of funny.  Freudian slip? Maybe I like these pancakes more than I thought…

O-O-Okonomiyaki

Mmmm, Japanese savory pancake pizzas. Need I say more?

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Okonomiyaki legend states that they were invented in Osaka, which is known as the Kitchen of Japan.  The actual name comes from two Japanese words “okonomi” (“to one’s liking”) and “yaki” (“grilled”), and you can basically put whatever you want on an okonomiyaki.  I stuck with the “basic” version, so just your usual cabbage-based pancake with bacon, green onions, bonito flakes, seaweed flakes, and okonomiyaki sauce.  Actually, a “real” okonomiyaki would probably have slices of pork belly, Japanese kewpie mayo, and beni-shoga (pickled ginger).  In other regions of Japan, you can get regional variations (for example, okonomiyaki with a fried egg, fried noodles, or different types of meat). I left out the mayo and ginger in mine since I already know that I’m not a big fan of those flavors in okonomiyaki, but if you’re making these for the first time, you should probably just go for broke and use everything!

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(some of my “exotic” ingredients)

The okonomiyaki was pretty easy to put together and cook (except for the flipping – they’re so big that I had to use a plate as a spatula), although it was a bit of a day-long affair between my grocery shopping and cabbage chopping.

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(I got yo’ cabbage)

So let’s talk about taste.  Okonomiyaki are delicious, no ifs, ands, buts or about it. They’re very hearty (I had trouble eating an entire one for lunch) and very cabbage-y.  The thick pancake stays moist and has a diverse textural profile.  You get some fried crunchy bits from the outside, pops of crunch from the tempura bits, semi-soft cabbage, meaty chew, oh, and don’t forget about all the other ingredients.  The okonomiyaki sauce also gives a salty/tangy kick that keeps the okonomiyaki popping! I guess the primary flavors are cabbage, salt, and umami (that earthy, soy-saucy goodness that keeps you going back for more), but the most important part is that the overall feeling you get from eating an okonomiyaki is satisfaction.

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(Japanese mountain yam for the batter).

Oh, and just so you know, you can buy okonomiyaki mix and have perfectly good okonomiyaki…or you can be hardcore/have too much time on your hands.  This is my recipe, and this is the one I followed (and I strongly encourage you to take a look at both, the version from Just Hungry has a lot more information and some great pictures).

4.25 out of 5 stackies:imageimageimageimageimage

Take a Gambir on These Pancakes!

These Gambir (Mongolian pancakes) are probably one of the best snack pancakes out there.

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They look plain, but they’re incredibly satisfying. They’re sort of like sweet scallion pancakes (but without any scallions) and are slightly chewier and have fewer layers than a scallion pancake.  You even make them similarly, by rolling and re-rolling them multiple times.

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(me smushing down a rolled out pancake so I can re-roll it)

Plus, these only need 4 ingredients: water, flour, sugar, and oil. Talk about easy! (Here’s the recipe I worked off of and my version.) Apparently Mongolian food is known for being pretty basic on ingredients, but big on flavor.  And while these weren’t the most flavor pancakes, they are pretty dang good. I had them once for breakfast and again for an afternoon snack, they’re just so easy and filling, tough to beat.

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Oh, and my roomie said they reminded her of paratha which is a type of Indian flatbread.  I’ve never had paratha (but I have added them to my to-pancake list).  In any case, if you have paratha and liked them, you may like gambir as well!

4 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage