Off the Griddle with Ihopapotamus at…Queens Comfort!

Editor’s Note: alright, alright, so we’ve been here before, but this is a totally different Ihopapotamus and I think you’ll like what he has to say!

“Who makes you laugh?” Saturday morning. Snowy, cold, and early. I’m standing on the sidewalk watching my girlfriend get interrogated by a…brunch bouncer? He holds a clipboard (definitely a brunch bouncer) filled with names and comedic affiliations. Is it a test? If I say Dane Cook will they refuse to serve me? Is Louis C.K. too obvious? It’s odd to feel so self-conscious about brunch.

“That guy,” my girlfriend says, pointing to me. Sweet, but that will curry us no favor. As we enter I say to him “I would’ve said Bill Hicks.” That would have been flippin’ perfect.
(photo from the restaurant fairy)
Queens Comfort is a carefully crafted kind of strange. Artistry lives here. The sort of insufferable artistry that has made Williamsburg so groan-worthy. HBO’s Girls would film an episode here. Action figures are everywhere. Not mainstream action-figures. He-Man, Thundercats – 80’s staples. B movies (or C) play on a projector against one wall. Old-timey family portraits thickly coat another. The portraits were submitted by customers, I’m told. Nothing is displayed out of love or genuine affection. Instead, the place is crowded with tokens of worship to Irony, the hipster god.
Oscar Wilde proclaimed that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit. I imagine he’d consider irony to be sarcasm’s somewhat less ghastly sister. But irony is a funny thing (puns, however, Wilde was rather fond of). Irony is in essence taking something familiar, something accessible, and giving it a pleasurable twist. Queens Comfort’s food, like its kitsch, is a form of irony. You’ve seen all of this food before. But you’ve never had it quite like this.
(photo from Life on the Road)
People line up every weekend to eat eggs, pancakes, and waffles at Queens Comfort when there’s a perfectly serviceable diner literally across the street. They answer riddles from the brunch bouncer, rub elbows at communal tables, and stare at somber pictures of family members that are not their own. They do it because the food is superb, because it coaxes more flavor and more joy then you thought someone could from something you’ve been eating all your life. You’ve been eating it wrong!
There’s the Down By Law Benedict, a riff on chicken rochambeau, with roasted chicken, bacon jam, and poached eggs served atop a buttermilk biscuit before being drowned in hollandaise and a chipotle mayo. There’s the staple Chicken & Waffle, a slab of perfectly fried chicken done in a tabasco glaze atop a whopper of a waffle. My girlfriend had the South by Southwest Benedict – a crispy corn tamale is topped with smoked pulled pork, BBQ sauce, poached eggs and hollandaise. The menu rotates, so the pancakes can show up in a lot of ways. This time, they accompanied BBQ pulled pork with a Jack Daniels maple syrup.
 Makes you wanna drink Jack Daniels for breakfast!
Queens Comfort thrives on taking the familiar, the accessible, and using just enough wit to tease at your pleasure center with such deftness and skill that the craftsmanship is easily overlooked with all the funky flavor combinations and clever naming schemes. You could take their most basic pancake across the East River and serve it up in the Waldorf (NYC’s “other” Astoria), devoid of bombastic toppings, sides, or glazes. Visiting hot-shots and United Nations envoys would declare it pleasantly plump, perfectly scrumptious, and a fine pancake if there ever was one.
Worthy of special note is the truly genial staff that convince you to completely forget the smarmy vibe of the joint. You’re treated like a right proper guest instead of a customer. The check? Nothing more then a vicious necessity to keep the griddle hot. It’s as if they were saying to you, “We like this food, we think you will too, won’t you stop by?”
As we left, the bouncer told us he looks forward to seeing us back tomorrow. That there’d be homemade donuts in honor of Sunday. You get the feeling that these folks would be cooking this stuff whether it made them money or not. They are missionaries of a sort, spreading a gospel of simple, yet finely crafted, guilty pleasures. It’s not so much a restaurant as it is a sustainable pleasure machine.
“Are they free?” My girlfriend inquired, hoping to score a bonus Sunday donut.
“Sorry, babe, This ain’t New Orleans. This is New York.”
4 out of 5 Paul Bunyans: Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1

The Buckwheat Stops Here!

Two confessions:

  1. Sorry this is late! I went skiing yesterday and when I remembered to post last night, tumblr just wasn’t having it…
  2. I have no idea what that title is supposed to mean but it made me randomly giggle.


This week I made buckwheat crepes (get the original recipe from David Lebovitz and see mine here).  After the Clinton St pancakes last week, I wanted try another classic pancake/crepe recipe.  Buckwheat crepes are super versatile and delicious.  I tried the crepes 4 ways:

  • nutella
  • lemon and honey
  • jam
  • butter and sugar
  • fried egg and cheese

imageEvery topping was delicious – of course the simple butter and sugar and honey and lemon combos were so so good, but you can basically put anything on top of a buckwheat crepe.  Toss some lightly coated mesclun salad under that egg and you’ve got a pretty fancy lunch going!

imageThe crepe batter does need to rest overnight but besides that, the batter is super easy to put together and the pancakes are really easy to work with (aka they don’t rip very easily!)

4 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage

They’re Classics For A Reason…

Hey fancakes, this week I decided to test out a classic pancake recipe from Clinton St Baking Co.  Their pancakes are famous, as in voted multiple times as the best pancakes in NYC multiple times not to mention our very own Ihopapotamus gave them a 4 out of 5 Paul Bunyan review…high praise indeed!

Press aside, I was a little worried that my homecooked version of these famous pancakes just wasn’t going to measure up.  I shouldn’t have been afraid though, the recipe is posted by none other than DeDe Lahman, co-owner of the Bakery and when I was cracking eggs, I got a double yolk! These pancakes were clearly fated to succeed! (check out my recipe box for my smaller batch recipe, with more pics!)

On their own the pancakes are delicious! They’re a little on the plain side, but just lightly sweet and with a really unique and delicious eggy texture.  The pancakes are also just as fluffy as promised with a springiness reminiscent of sponge cake.

I chose to go with the traditional powdered sugar/syrup/butter combo and I’m glad I did! These pancakes are so good that you don’t need to do much to make them delicious and sometimes a classic pancake breakfast is exactly what I want.  

4.5 out of 5 out of 5 stackies: 

Mile High Rocky Road Pancakes – Go Broncos!!

I’m not sure what the cross-section is between fancakes and broncos fans, but I’m officially making this a Broncos zone.  Skip to my recipe here.

(excuse the smeared cream, the pancakes were hot!)

I have to confess that I’m totally an “adopted” Broncos fan, the fiance is a true member of Broncos country and somehow I’ve absorbed some of his fandomness…osmosis? That’s a thing, right. Anyway, back to pancakes.

(from Wikipedia)

I was debating between a couple of different ideas for Colorado/Broncos-themed pancakes but ultimately, I went with some super fluffy rocky road ice cream inspired ones.  Classically, rocky road is made with nuts, chocolate, and marshmallows and I basically did the same thing except that I substituted whipped cream for the marshmallows.

Rocky Road = Rocky Mountains = Broncos…that’s the chain I was going for…

And, to make these a mile high, I added some extra leaveners to the recipe so the pancakes would fluff up more.  Adding the chocolate and nuts will cause the pancakes to fall a little, but they’re so fluffy to start with that you still end up with a nice fluffy stack of pancakes.

Oh, and don’t worry too much about what type of nuts you use. I just used whatever I had laying around the kitchen (a mix of ground pecans and chopped peanuts) and it turned out perfectly crunchy and delicious.

3.75 out of 5 stackies: