Off the Griddle with IHOPapotamus at…Chip’s

Unless she’s changed her schedule, the chief should be publishing this article on Easter Sunday: a time of rebirth, new opportunities, and hope for the future.  And pancakes.

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(pic from this blog)

Chip’s Family Restaurant has two locations in Orange and Fairfield, Connecticut.  The one in Fairfield is nominally a diner, and indeed its layout fits with the standard diner set up.  Red carpet, booths, overworked staff, etc.

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(from google maps)

While the menu does offer other items, I don’t really see a reason why you would go there for anything other than its very extensive pancake menu.  Buttermilk pancakes.  Coconut Crunch pancakes.  Pina Colada pancakes.  White Chocolate Rendezvous & Fresh Strawberries pancakes.  Gluten free pancakes.  And the list goes on:

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(see the full menu!)

I decided to try the basic buttermilk pancakes. Since this was my first time coming to Chip’s, I assumed this basic pancake was probably the foundation on which they altered the recipe to make their more creative pancakes.  If they had mastered the basics, I would be keener on trying their more original fare.

Any misgivings or doubts I had quickly evaporated.  The buttermilk pancakes were amazing.  They were fluffy and light, but also very filling when the meal was over.  The pancakes absorbed the maple syrup without becoming too saturated.  Syrup was a bonus; I ate at least a third of my order without syrup because I liked them that much.

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(photo from Chip’s)

When I was a little kid, I remember watching a cartoon where the main character was eating pancakes (although the cartoon might have called them flapjacks).  I don’t recall what the cartoon was about, but I’ll assume it was either Paul Bunyan or Bugs Bunny acting like Paul Bunyan.  Anyways, I remember seeing a stack of flapjacks in the cartoon that seemed like the perfect pancakes.  They were golden-brown, with syrup dripping down from the top, and with a pat of butter placed in the center of the top flapjack.  The main character then ate a stack of 20 in one bite, but that’s kind of beside the point.

(from google images)

What I’m trying to say is that these pancakes are about the closest I’ve come to finding those cartoonishly good pancakes in the real world.  I think these have been my favorite pancakes thus far on this strange endeavor I’ve been engaged in for the past few months.  I will be returning to Chip’s to try out the other pancakes offered on the menu, but for right now I can’t recommend these pancakes enough.

5/5 Paul Bunyans:imageimageimageimage image

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Pati-cake Pati-cake

As in patishapta (Bengali/Indian rice flour crepes with a coconut/jaggery filling), of course (cue winky face).

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The crepes on their own are pretty plain and only very lightly sweet, so they definitely go well with the coconut-jaggery filling.  Oh, I could not find jaggery anywhere near me (Forest Hills could definitely use some more ethnic grocery stores) so instead I used brown sugar.

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I’ve read that brown sugar is an acceptable substitute for jaggery but I definitely did something wrong because my filling was really crunchy (in other pictures, the filling looks pretty soft and sticky…more of a coconut paste).  I think my brown sugar turned into brittle after I added the coconut and it was just sort of weird in the crepe, if you can imagine a soft crepe filled with really hard nuggets of brown sugar and crisped coconut….yeah…not so good.

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Still, even with the textural oddness, the overall flavor profile was really good – lightly sweet crepes, coconut, brown sugar, it’s hard to go wrong there.  I would recommend you following the original recipe here (but you can take a gander at mine for measurement conversions and see some more pictures). 

Oh, a cup of tea goes really nicely with these!

3 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimage

Nales-what? Nalesniki!!

Nalesniki are Polish crepes – very similar to Hungarian palacsinta, Croatian palachinke, blintzes, and various other Eastern European filled crepes.

See my recipe here, and the original over at Mr. Breakfast. These crepes were not too sweet and very soft.  In fact, they may have been a little too soft and oozy for me.

My roommate informs me that these were very blintz-like (look out for a blintz post around Shavuot!), so if you’ve had a blintz, you’ll have an idea of what theses nalesniki were like.  My best advice would be to go pretty light on the filling (it can get real creamy, real fast) and to pair these with something nice and tart.

We ended up using some leftover lingonberry preserves which helped out, but some fresh berries, citrus zest, or a similarly tart jam/jelly would be equally delicious.

As far as crepes go, I would say these are a little thicker than your standard French crepe which made them a bit easier to work with.  On their own, the pancakes are pretty tasteless, so I wouldn’t recommend eating them plain.

3.25 out of 5 stackies: 

Cooking with Dirty Water: Boston Cream Pie Pancakes

Prepare for total tastebud shock. See my recipe here and get the original over at Country Cleaver. Oh, and if you have no idea what the “dirty water” is about, check out this video

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If you like boston cream pie or boston cream donuts or anything with pancakes, pastry cream, and chocolate, you are definitely going to want to eat these pancakes.  On their own, the pancakes are a little dry, so they really stand up to the pastry cream and ganache.

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You’ve been forewarned: this batter is very very thick, so you’ll want to help spread it out a little in the pan, otherwise, the pancakes will be too thick and your ratios will be off.

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Even though there’s a lot going on in these pancakes, the vanilla in the batter comes through really well, and the pastry cream and chocolate don’t overwhelm each other.  My roommate actually thought that there should’ve been more pastry cream, but she may have a pastry cream problem. Oh, just make sure you have these with a hot mug of black coffee or a nice tall glass of cold milk.

3.75 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage

I said “Heyy! Hoooo! Heyy!! HODDEOK!!”

Um, panfried doughy pancakes stuffed with brown sugar and walnuts? Yes, please.

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Skip my ramblings and get my recipe here (the original is at maangchi). If you like a nice doughy, toothy pancake, these are definitely what you’ve been dreaming about.  They’re really satisfying and 1-2 should be enough for any snack, but hey, go ahead and have more, I’m not judging.

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Be forewarned, though, these are very sweet – the filling is, after all, straight up sugar and walnuts.  I thought the walnuts were particularly good (both taste-wise and texture-wise) and helped break-up some of the straight-up doughiness of the pancakes.

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Oh, and just in case you can’t eat all 8 hoddeok in one sitting, you can warm these up the next day (even though they really are best hot off the pan).  Just wrap them up in saran wrap or some air-tight tupperware and keep at room temp. Then, pop them into a toaster on a medium/medium-low setting and you’re good to go. Happy Snacking!

3.75 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage