Off the Griddle with Ihopapotamus at…the Golden Reef

Hello pancake fans – excited to be here! This Ihopapotamus ventured all the way to good old Nassau County, New York for the Golden Reef Diner. It’s in Rockville Centre to be specific (south shore of LONGISLAND). I wrote Long Island as one word, as it’s pronounced! You’re welcome.

(from Google Maps!)

The Golden Reef is located on a strip of Sunrise Highway with countless other diners. Having been to quite a few of them, I can vouch for the Golden Reef as being one of the best diners, maybe even the best on the Island. You should go just to see the gelato bar (seriously gorgeous and made me regret not having room when offered free samples for ogling). The omelets are absolutely huge and definitely worth it. My first trip I had a prosciutto and white cheddar omelet and my second trip I dived into silver dollar pancakes. Both were really, really good.

(photo from yelp)

I’ve been to places where I’ve enjoyed the silver dollars more than the actual pancakes, so I knew I wanted to try the big people sized pancakes for a review of the diner. I’ll start by saying the decor of the diner is standard, it’s very clean and has the usual diner charm that you expect from a classic place. The staff is very friendly and attentive and service is fast. Big points.

 

ANYWAY, I ordered the pancakes. I struggled not to order from the specialty list as they were serving pumpkin pancakes. So seasonal, very fall. We have fun. Seriously though, Oreo pancakes and red velvet pancakes tempted me, but I like to keep it classic. And under 3000 calories. Probably.

 

The pancakes I ordered were incredible large, so I was glad I ordered a short stack. I’m a butter gal and the butter they served was perfectly room temperature. Don’t you hate trying to “spread” ice-cold butter? Me too. These pancakes are everything I want pancakes to be: huge, light, soft, fluffy, and more importantly, really delicious. I’d give up texture for taste, but I didn’t have to here. I really cannot say enough how good these were. I’m getting hungry thinking about it.

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My only real gripe with Golden Reef was that the pancakes come with a jar of fake maple-ish syrup. You know, the stuff that’s actually sugar syrup with some caramel coloring and maple extract. This is fine and I understand that a lot of people have no idea that it’s not real maple syrup, and that people actually like this stuff, but they sell real maple syrup containers for a few bucks on the menu! You can get a little container of 100% maple syrup if you pay a little extra, which I didn’t because I don’t put maple syrup on pancakes anyway, so there.

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(also, a delicious omelette)

I’m awarding Golden Reef Diner 4.5 Bunyans because it was one of the best pancake meals I’ve ever had, everything about the meal itself was friendly and fast, and there was always water in my glass. Pancake on, my friends.

Ra-Ra-Racuchy

(Listen to the song that inspired my blog title here).  This week, we’re all about Racuchy or Polish-style pancakes with raspberries. 

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These pancakes were a mixed bag, on the one hand, they were delicious, on the other, they were kind of a pain to make.  (You can find the original recipe here).  I think that some of the issues I had were due to errors in conversion when I changed the recipe from weight to volume, but I think I’ve adjusted my recipe enough to account for these errors and also made some other tweaks that should make for better pancaking in general.  (You can get my recipe from my recipe box!)

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(mmmm, raspberries)

So the main “pro” of these pancakes are that they are delicious.  The pancakes are soft, delicate, and lightly sweet from the powdered sugar.  The raspberries are a bright flavor contrast and offer a pretty awesome zing that stands out really well against the pancakes…I may have eaten the entire batch of pancakes and not shared with anyone, so, interpret that however you want…

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The main cons to these pancakes were that they were so so soft that they were almost impossible to flip and would get all squidged together when I tried to turn them.  In fact, only about 2 of the pancakes came out unscathed (those would be the top 2 on the stack in my picture).  The others all came out…ugly (but still tasty!)—so really, me eating the ruined ones was for my photographic and journalistic integrity.

3.75 out of 5 stackies (more for the execution than anything else):imageimageimageimage

Dropped Not Flipped (and giveaway results!!)

Well, a little bit flipped.

imageThese are Guyanese Pancakes and they are pretty dang delicious.  They’re based on Portuguese malasadas with the main difference being the type of toppings used on the pancakes (syrup for the Guyanese and powdered/granulated sugar for the Portuguese).  Either way, they’re delicious.

(I obviously had to try both).

The pancakes need to rise for 1.5 hours and they’re fried, but they’re still pretty easy to make, in fact, I was sort of impressed by how easy the recipe was.

The syrup was also easy to put together and really delicious – the cinnamon came through really well and now I have a little carafe of cinnamon syrup in my fridge to satisfy all my syrup needs!

My main problem with these pancakes was the texture.  They were a little dense and spongey.  In fact, I could only eat one pancake (a crime!).  Maybe if these were smaller they’d be lighter? I’m not sure, I don’t have a ton of experience in the fried pancake department, but I definitely feel like they could be lighter and not as gut-sticking.  Ah well, c’est le pancake.  

3.75 out of 5 stackies: 

Oh, you want to know who won the giveaway?

IT’S MYLE!!! I’ll keep you posted on what pancake batter he picks!

The Hwajeon Hw-onehundred

It’s the day you’ve all been waiting for folks, my 100th Pancake Blog Post!!!  At SYTYCP hq, we celebrated by having a no-holds barred pepsi challenge (I’ll explain more later).  And, we’re inviting everyone to join in with us by participating in a give-away – details also at the bottom. image

Without further ado, here are my Hwajeon, Korean flower pancakes.  (Oh, if you just want the recipe, here’s mine, and the original at Maangchi – definitely check hers out, there’s even a video!)

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So, Hwajeon are made with sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour) which is made from short grain sticky (glutinous) rice, although there’s no gluten in it.  I, of course, did not have any sweet rice flour (even though I have about every other specialty flour in my pantry).  So, on Saturday, I tried my best to track down down sweet rice flour, I really did (I went to 2 whole foods and called about 3 other grocery store chains to no avail).  By the time I found an Asian grocery store that carried it, it was too late and they’d closed.  So, I tried to make hwajeon with what I had, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and a 50/50 mix of the two.

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(from left to right: brown rice flour — 50/50 mix — tapioca starch).  

(note, everyone on the internet agreed that there really is no substitute for sweet rice flour, but obviously, I had to find that out for myself).

Right away, I found out the pure brown rice flour would not work.  The dough was incredibly dry, sandy, and just…no.

imageOh well, less cooking for me.  I pressed onward with the 50/50 mix and the tapioca starch.  I noticed that the 50/50 mix definitely felt drier to begin with but that the tapioca starch dried out faster while they waited to be cooked but also got oilier once they were in the pan.  Of course, the tapioca starch hwajeon were much closer in color to real hwajeon than the 50/50 mix ones were.

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Frankly, neither of them were that good.  The 50/50 ones were salty, a bit dry, grainy, and just not something you’d want to eat.  The tapioca ones tasted better, more mild, but were very very chewy.  I thought about just letting the hwajeon go.  But I was fixated on these pancakes, and I would not rest until I did them justice.

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(post-flip sweet rice flour hwajeon)

So, early this morning, I went on a journey. A sweet rice flour journey, long story short, I went, I got it,  I came home, I pancaked…AND IT WAS GOOD.  For reals, folks, these pancakes were totally worth it.  If you’ve ever had a mochi, the consistency was very similar to the outside of a mochi (in fact, sweet rice flour is the main ingredient in both) but a little crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Deee-licious.

image(sweet rice flour dough, cut and ready to be shaped)

Oh, and as far as the flowers go, I’m a bit out of season for edible flowers, but I decided to go with some young pea tendrils, they’re very tender, have a light fresh taste, and pretty cute.  You can also make these plain, but I think they’re cuter with a little leaf or flower on them.  

4.75 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimageimage

AND NOW FOR THE GIVE-AWAY!! In celebration of this, my 100th blog post, I’m giving away 1 custom pancake mix.  Just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner next Sunday at 10am.  Happy Pancaking!