Off the Griddle with IHOPopotamus at…Wafels and Dinges

(Editor’s Note: IHOPopotamus is officially doing the waffle thing (and the pancake thing)…so I guess we do waffles now!?)

My friend and I recently dared to venture out into the brutal weather New York has been experiencing to taste the offerings of the food truck Wafels & Dinges.  In hindsight, we should have waited for better weather.

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(image from the Wafels & Dinges twitter)

The truck’s display is very polished and glossy, meaning it appears to be a brand new truck.  The chief told me there is more than one of these trucks cruising around New York, so it is entirely possible I caught a new one. 

My friend described the whole truck as having a very “Williamsburg” vibe, and that’s probably the most apt description anyone could make.  The last time I visited a food truck (Christophe’s Crepes) the owner/chef was a friendly, outgoing Frenchman who seemed genuinely interested in making sure you enjoyed your meal.  This time around, the guy working the truck seemed a little smug.  He was polite, but not really all that welcoming or friendly.  Granted, the weather was dreary when I went, but isn’t that an anticipated hazard of the food cart industry?

 

(bacon waffle from Serious Eats)

On to the waffles.  They were fine.  Not especially filling, and a little overpriced because they weren’t all that filling.  They do get some points for creativity.  I thought I ordered bacon “and” waffles.  I received bacon “inside” the waffle.  It was an interesting twist that was fun to try.  Unfortunately, it came presoaked in syrup; I would have much preferred to pour my own syrup.  I like syrup as much as the next guy, but I’d rather not have my waffles and pancakes completely saturated in it.

My friend ordered a waffle with pulled pork and coleslaw on top.  He seemed satisfied, if not particularly enamored.  It did not look all that appetizing to me. 

(pic from the Wafels & Dinges blog)

Longtime readers might recall my discussion of the difference between food and cuisine when I visited Richie’s Place.  This whole truck, and the pulled pork waffle, seems like an attempt at cuisine without ever really achieving it.  It sacrificed the joy of a relatively simple and tasty food for a sophistication that it never actually reaches.  The truck sounds like a better idea than it actually is.  Keep it simple and get a little friendlier.  People are coming to the truck because they don’t have time for a meal at a restaurant, not because they want to be bohemians.

I give it 2 Paul Bunyans.  If the truck parks near you, it’s worth a shot. There’s no need to seek it out: 

P.S.  I still have no idea what a “dinge” is.

(Editor’s note: a “dinge” is a topping.)

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Domo Dorayaki Mr. Roboto

Hi!  If you’re a fan of delicious red-bean-pancake-sandwich glory, then have I got the pancakes for you!

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I followed this recipe from just one cookbook (you can get my version here, oh, and my recipe for Japanese red bean paste here.) If you’ve never had red bean paste before, you should definitely try it.  It can sound a bit “exotic,” but trust me, it’s good.  The texture is similar to that of mashed sweet potatoes (sort of mushy) but it’s got a natural bean-y sweetness.

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(red beans waiting to be cooked!)

If you follow the directions I used, you’ll get a pretty coarse bean paste – mine also still had the bean skins in it.  If you want something smoother, you can push your bean paste through a tamis/process it smoother or just go with something store-bought!  Whatever you use, just make sure the bean paste is at room temp, it’ll just make it much easier to work with.

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(a tempting pile) 

The pancakes themselves are fairly sweet (there’s honey and sugar in the batter) and the bean paste is also sweet, so you’ll definitely want to have a hot cup of coffee or tea with these.  My roommate and I chowed down with some afternoon green tea and it was a pretty delicious combination. 

Oh! One more tip, the pancakes scorch easily so work with a medium-low temp and keep an eye on the pancakes.

4 out of 5 stackies:imageimageimageimage

Get Your Fat Tuesday On!

I always knew today as Mardi Gras, but it wasn’t until recently that I found out that today is also aka’d as “Shrove Tuesday,” “Fat Tuesday,” and perhaps most importantly for all us fancakes, “Pancake Tuesday!”

(see my Cafe Du Monde mug? If you’re ever in NOLA, they have the quintessential, perfect beignets and coffee)

So in honor of Pancake Tuesday, I decided to create a beignet-inspired pancake.  I worked off of a classic beignet recipe from Paula Deen but made them a bit pancakier by altering the flour ratio and pan-frying them instead of using a deep fryer.  (Get my version here!)

The premise behind Pancake Tuesday (and many other Mardi Gras celebrations) is to eat a whole lot of rich fatty foods before you fast for Lent.  Pancakes are traditionally eaten because they contain cream, eggs, and butter/fat (the trifecta of pre-Lent fattiness, I suppose). In fact, according to the Irish Examiner, over 50 million eggs will be cracked today!

Now, because these are the lovechild of beignets and pancakes, they’re somewhat heavier than beignets and have a doughy, almost biscuit-like texture.  The dough is nice and sweet (from the sugar and the condensed milk), and the powdered sugar makes them a perfect breakfast/snack/any time of day dish.

These beignet-cakes cook very fast (just a minute or two on each side) so make sure you keep your eye on them.  Another key cooking tip is to make sure to roll the dough to at least 1/4 inch thick (and no thicker) – otherwise you’ll get burnt outsides and uncooked insides. Oh, and the recipe makes a BIG batch of beignet-cakes so either have a lot of people over, get ready to drown in beignets, or wrap them up tight and reheat in your oven/toaster oven/pan – they’re really best fresh, though.

Don’t forget to enjoy these with a nice hot milky cafe au lait!

4 out of 5 stackies: 

Every Kiss Begins with Pancakes

Some non sequiturs (first) and then some sequiturs (is that a thing? well, I guess I just made it one)

  • If you came expecting pancakes for Chinese New Year, I’m sorry, but I will redirect you to my scallion pancakes post
  • I did not get the double meaning of the “every kiss begins with kay” commercial for a long time*
  • I’m planning on making these on Valentine’s Day but I wanted to do a trial run first (which was a good idea) – I have made some adjustments to the recipe (which you can get here) that should guarantee a successful V-Day pancake expedition, but my pictures are meh (sorry!)
  • I was originally inspired by this picture:

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(pic from Places In the Home)

And then I wanted to make it more Valentine’s Day-y so I decided to go with a red velvet and thus was born Pink Velvet Doily Heart Pancakes with Sweet Cream Cheese!

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(my doily is less than perfect)

My starting point was this recipe for red velvet crepes from Tidy Mom. I cut her crepe recipe in half and only made 1/4 of the cream cheese filling (I’m only cooking for 2 after all). I thought the cocoa flavor of the crepes came through really nicely but the sweetness level was a little off.   On their own, the crepes were not sweet enough, but with the cream cheese the combination was a little too sweet (I’ve adjusted sugar levels to my taste in my version).

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Also, my batter was simultaneously too runny for me to adequately control (which I think is why my doily looks a little janky) and not quite smooth enough.  I compensated by reducing the liquids in the recipe and I plan on blending the ingredients for a bit longer.  While I made a few doily crepes, I ended up making the bulk of the pancakes as just regular old hearts.

I’ll keep you posted on when I remake these, but for now, Happy Valentine’s Day!

3.75 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage

*For anyone who doesn’t know what I’m talking about, the commercial is saying (1) that when you give someone something from Kay Jewelers, you’ll get a kiss and (2) that “kiss” begins with the letter “k” –  MIND BLOWN

Pancakes Save the World…again

Hi Folks!

No recipe today, but I just wanted to let you know that today is IHOP’s National Pancake Day!  

IHOP National Pancake Day, February 5, 2013

(photo from IHOP)

While I’m usually a fan of homemade pancakes, I certainly am also a fan of charitable contributions – so stop in at your local IHOP today, get a free short stack and consider giving back.  Last year, IHOP raised about $3 million for charity and I’m sure this year they can do even better!

If you’re interested in other Pancake-Charity-Related events, here’s a short stack:

Banana-nana-bo-bana-coconutty-fo-fana-me-mi-mo-macadamia Pancakes!

Okay, 2 things right off the bat:

  1. You really need to read the title rhythmically – trust me, it works (if you do it right).
  2. I think you guys are really going to like these pancakes.  I mean REALLY like them.

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It’s been quite chilly in the Northeast recently (there must be some toros in the atmosphere) and I thought a little tropical culinary trip might help me forget how freezing it was outside.  As a happy coincidence, my roommate (C) and her boyfriend (M) had recently-ish been to Hawaii and raved about these coconut-macadamia nut-banana pancakes that they had at the Halekulani Hotel.  (Oh skip to the original recipe here and my version here! )

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(left: macadamia nuts in the pancakes; right: nuts only on top of pancakes)

In fact, the only problem we ran into was that M and C couldn’t quite remember whether the macadamia nuts were in the pancakes or just sprinkled on top – so, of course we had to have a head-to-head challenge. M preferred the pancakes with the macadamia nuts folded directly into the batter – those pancakes were much crunchier and a little more dense.  C, on the other hand, liked the pancakes with the nuts on top which were slightly fluffier.  The general consensus was that the pancakes with the nuts on top were closer to the ones at the Halekulani.

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(pot of coconut syrup)

The coconut syrup that goes with the pancake is pretty delicious as well.  It’s definitely on the sweet side so I would start out with a little less on your pancakes so that you don’t get overwhelmed.  Without the syrup, the pancakes had a very strong banana taste – I think I should have mashed up the bananas a little bit more so that it was more of a banana puree rather than a banana mash.

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(some chopped nuts and mashed banana)

All in all, if you’re looking for some fluffy, tropical, delicious, and glorious pancakes, look no further!

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4 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage