Off the Griddle with Ihopapotamus at…the City Limits Diner!

Whenever I’m asked to guest-potamus, I start looking at the “best of” pancakes lists for New York City. (That is, obviously, after saying “yes, of course! You’re asking me if I’m willing to go eat pancakes!”) City Limits Diner in White Plains, NY hasn’t been on any of the lists I’ve seen, since it’s not actually in New York City. But lucky me, my boyfriend’s parents live nearby, so when we visit, we often get to stop by City Limits.
city limits map
(from google maps)
Breakfast at a diner always presents a dilemma: savory or sweet? Eggs and bacon (or sausage, or ham, or corned beef hash) is salty and always satisfying. There’s something magical about breakfast meats cooked on a griddle. Especially when they’re smoked in-house, like at City Limits. But then there are pancakes (or waffles, or french toast, or crepes), which I hear are good enough to be the sole subject of internet blogs.
(from puppytoob.com)Recently, I’ve solved my dilemma by just ordering both. Breakfast. Then breakfast desert. For my breakfast at City Limits, I ordered the eggs benedict. Perfectly poached eggs sit atop house smoked Canadian bacon that makes you want to grow a beard and wear some flannel (because that’s how I imagine Canadians). A hearty toasted english muffin sets a tasty foundation. And a smooth, tangy hollandaise sauce envelops it all. But since this is a pancake blog, I’ll skip a longer description of that and get to the pancakes.

CityLimits pancake with syrup
You can order regular pancakes or whole wheat griddle cakes, and toppings are available for both (strawberry, blueberry, or chocolate chip). For my breakfast desert I decided to go with the original and just do plain pancakes, no toppings. Although “just” is really not the right word. You’re not sacrificing anything by “just” getting the regular pancakes.
Like something off the pages of cookbooks and magazines, these pancakes arrive looking air-brush perfect. Golden brown and smooth on the outside. Fluffy and soft on the inside. What might be light maple syrup (but still the real stuff) complements the delicate yet indulgent flavor of these amazing pancakes. And although they’re quite large, you might feel like three isn’t enough.
Untitled
(from the City Limits website)
Since beginning my breakfast and breakfast desert trend, I’ve usually shared the sweet item with my dining companion. And it’s usually civil. But at City Limits, the pancakes were good enough to launch a competitive eating event. I did manage to savor and enjoy, but next time I’ll be getting an order all to myself.
If you are ever in White Plains (or Stamford), I would highly recommend that you go to City Limits and have breakfast (and breakfast desert). It makes and tops the “best of” pancakes list in my book.
5 out of 5 Paul Bunyans: Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1
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Bruce Paltrow’s Famous Pancakes

Hey Fancakes,

Sorry about the late post! The boy and I had a friend stay with us over the weekend (actually MC of Ihopapotami fame) and I just lost track of the days!! I’m making it up for it though by bringing you Bruce Paltrow’s (actually of Gwyneth fame) famous pancake recipe – LEGITIMATELY SO GOOD.

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You know when someone raves about a recipe/movie/show/restaurant…basically builds up anything and then by the time you try/watch/eat it, it’s been so built up that it can’t possibly be as good as what you’ve heard? Yeah, I’m building you up buttercup, but I am not letting you down. These pancakes were amazing.  Even as I was making the batter, I just kept thinking to myself that it seemed very ordinary, but something magical must have happened while the batter rested overnight because these pancakes were OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD.

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YOU CAN TELL I REALLY LIKED THESE BECAUSE I’M USING ALL CAPS.

The flavor profile was perfectly balanced – lightly sweet but with the slightest tinge of salt to keep you from getting to a tooth achingly sweet breakfast.  The pancakes weren’t super fluffy, but they were fluffy enough to soak up the syrup and butter perfectly and…now I have to go make more pancakes.

4.25 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackiestackie.25

 

Here’s the original recipe that Gwyneth (we’re on a first name basis) gave to the Chew.  My version’s just been scaled down to feed 1 (it makes 2 pancakes).

Ingredients:

1 C flour

3 Tbs sugar

1/2 Tbs baking powder

1/2 (heaping) tsp salt

1 C buttermilk (I used 1 C whole milk + 1 Tbs lemon juice)

2 large eggs

extra milk to thin the batter (I actually didn’t need any)

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ones.

1Cover the batter with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge overnight.

Lightly butter a small non-stick pan over medium-low heat.  Cook 1/4 C batter at a time.

2Flip after about 2 minutes.

3Flip and cook for another minute or so.  Top with butter and syrup and DEVOUR.

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Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes

Happy Mother’s Day fancakes!

Looking for something tasty to whip up for your mom (breakfast for dinner/lunch style) or just something tasty in general? Look no further – this week I decided to create an ode to the classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

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I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to capture the essence of the PUDC in a pancake…but I think it worked.  The only real difference between this and the classic cake recipe (besides proportions and whatnot) was that I used fresh cherries instead of maraschino…I just can’t do maraschino, too much syrupy-ness for me, I guess.

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Don’t worry about not having a cherry pitter – I don’t – I just cut each cherry in half, and then dig out the pit with my fingers, the cherries are getting chopped anyway so it doesn’t really matter how they look right? Taste-wise, the pancakes were really good – a little tart from the cherries, but nice and sweet from the canned pineapple and pineapple juice. Oh yeah, I stuck with classic canned pineapple….just easier (ain’t nobody got time to peel and slice pineapples).  Cooking the pancakes in slightly browned butter and brown sugar really sealed in the classic cake flavor.

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients:

6 oz Greek yogurt

1 egg

2 Tbs pineapple juice (from the can)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 Tbs brown sugar

1/2 C flour

1 tsp baking soda

pineapple rings

1/2 C cherries chopped (+ 5 half cherries)

butter (for cooking)

Directions:

Whisk together the yogurt, egg, pineapple juice, and vanilla.

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Whisk in the sugar, flour, and baking soda – the batter will be very thick. Fold in the chopped cherries.

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Heat a nonstick pan over low heat.  Put a small dab of butter in the pan and let it brown just a little (you’ll start smelling a nutty buttery flavor). Take one pineapple ring, rub a little brown sugar on one side and put it sugar side down in the pan.  Take one of the reserved cherry halves and put it in the middle of the pineapple ring.

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Let cook for about 30 seconds, then gently pour 1/3 C batter over the pineapple/cherry.  Spread the batter out a little so there’s a very thin layer over the pineapple.

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Cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  You’ll want to lightly butter the pan before each pancake.

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Enjoy!

Blackberry Fields Forever

Hi Folks,

I have a treat for you this week, it’s a SYTYCP original, “Blackberry Crepes with Coffee Ice Cream (and a chocolate drizzle).” Not the most creative name, I know, but at least you know what you’re getting!

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I had a bit of a crepey week, so even though I had these for breakfast, I decided to treat myself.  These were largely inspired by my beet crepes (hey, if beets can be made into awesome crepes, blackberries should be even better, right?)  I was maybe a little wrong? On their own, the pancakes were almost a little bitter, I think from the blackberry seeds. (At the same time, I loved the texture of the seeds in the pancakes) I think if I had added more sugar to the batter itself, the crepes would’ve been great, but let’s face it, would you rather eat a plain blackberry crepe or one topped with ice cream and chocolate?…That’s what I thought, too!

Pureed Blackberries

Pureed Blackberries

I also underestimated how thick the blackberries would make the batter, so definitely keep the milk out when you get ready to cook – I’ve adjusted the recipe, but it never hurts to have extra milk.  By the way, your batter will be a glorious shade of purple* (picture is below if you’re interested). If you’re a little iffy on the coffee ice cream, I HIGHLY encourage you to try it. I love coffee ice cream with just about any berry, it’s just a step up from your classic berries and cream. BUT, if you’re not ready to take the plunge, this would be just as good with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, or even sorbet (that would make it healthy, right?)  Maybe next time, I’ll make my own ice cream, too!

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients:

1 C blackberries

3/4 C flour

2 Tbs sugar

1 1/4 C milk (I used a combo of whole and skim…because I ran out of one)

1 egg

butter (for the pan)

scant 1/4 C chocolate chips (for the drizzle)

a scoop of ice cream

mint leaf garnish – just cause we fancy ’round these parts

Directions:

Whisk together 1 C milk and the egg until frothy.

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Sift in the flour and sugar and whisk just until combined.

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(mine’s a little brown because I used whole wheat flour for this batch)

Wash and puree the blackberries as smooth as possible.  Whisk the berries into the batter (the batter may clump up, but if you keep whisking, it’ll smooth out. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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(I definitely stared at the batter for a bit – it’s so pretty!)

Whisk in up to 1/4 C more milk at this point if the batter is too thick. It should be the consistency of a thickish soup and should slide off a spoon in a smooth (but thick) stream.

Lightly melt a little bit of butter over medium heat.  Cook 1/4 C batter at a time.

photo 1

When you pour the batter into the pan, make sure you swirl the pan so that the crepe gets nice and thin.  Cook for about 2 minutes – until the top looks dry and the edges are crispy and flip.

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Cook for another minute, then slide off onto a plate and cook the rest of the batter.

When you’re getting towards the end of the batter, melt your chocolate (I microwaved it in 20 second increments, stirring every 20 seconds until the chocolate was nice and liquidy.

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Let the chocolate drizzle cool for a bit while you scoop the ice cream. I plated 2 crepes, folded in half on a plate, dropped a quenelle of ice cream on top, did a quick chocolate drizzle over the whole thing and photographed as quick as I could so I could get to EATING.

Enjoy!

*This year, Pantone’s color of the year is Radiant Orchid – Is it weird that I’m oddly excited that my pancake batter matched the color almost perfectly? Never mind, just accept my awesomeness.