The Best Pancake I’ve Ever Had

The year is 1991. I am 5 years old. It’s a Saturday morning and I’m in the kitchen with my dad anxiously awaiting the rest of my family to emerge from their beds. He’s making his Saturday morning specialty. I’m hanging around like a shadow hoping he lets me take part in some step of the preparation.

My dad’s Bisquick pancakes were probably my favourite thing to touch my lips until my mom started making homemade hummus. Sometimes he would let me dump the prepared powder into the bowl. Sometimes he would hand over the whisk and indulge me while my small arms clumped the mixture. The best days were when he let me add his secret ingredient to the bowl – wheat germ.

Flash forward three years to 1994. I’m eight. Bob Marley’s Catch A Fire is playing in the background as my dad and I are preparing the weekend’s pancakes for the family. I’ve now mastered the art of making the accompanying frozen orange juice. But my whisking skills could still use some help. I see the pancakes bubbling on griddle and tell my dad it’s time to flip them. He’s impressed I know this. The art of pancake making finally clicks as I boast to my sisters, yet again, that I made the pancakes myself.

Flash forward to 2005. I’m 19. After a late night, I’m up early and eager to get in the kitchen. My friends are sleeping soundly in the living room and I’ve got an excuse to whip up my favourite pancake recipe. This one from scratch, a hand-me down from the mother of an ex-boyfriend. Followed exactly, apart from the addition of wheat germ, my dad’s ingredient.

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The year is now 2010. I’m a month away from being a quarter century old. I’ve traded my Babysitters Club books in for Harry Potter books. My taste for pancakes haven’t evolved much either in the last two decades. I still think Bisquick makes the best ones. But my healthy eating habits have me using things like oatmeal, cottage cheese and egg whites.

When I heard Mitzi’s on College had the best pancakes in Toronto it immediately shot to the top of my “to brunch at” list. It’s a long and extensive list and the top spot should be quite coveted.

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I met up with Kristin and her husband here for a late Sunday brunch. I arrived starving per usual after a CPR course. I was quite pleased to see they had a proper waiting area as most brunch places have lines out the door on weekends.

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I drooled over the specials and briefly toyed with the idea of trying something else. French toast? Smoked chicken omelette? Smoked salmon scramble?

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But in the end, it was the pancake my heart was after. Mitzi’s Famous Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancake: Topped with apple cider caramel and toasted shaved almonds. Served with home fries, fresh fruit, pure maple syrup & fresh whipped cream.

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I thought it strange that it was just one pancake with a few potatoes and pieces of fruit. But my eyes deceived me, for this thing was a beast.

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The texture was light and fluffy. They must grind the oatmeal as it was comparable to soft cornbread. The maple syrup wasn’t drizzled over top, but rather saturated into the pancake. Every bite had a hint of sweet maple, made even sweeter by the caramel topping.

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Can we talk about how thick it was? Taller than my fork! Kristin and I had a serious discussion about this. We think it might be done in small pans that are put in the oven. It took me a while to eat. Not only because of its sheer size, but because I wanted to savour every sweet fluffy bite.

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When you’re eating the best pancake of your life you don’t hold back. This is one Toronto foodie experience I will never forget. As another decade passes, I won’t think about calories, sugar, or serving sizes. Much like I didn’t when I was a kid. Rather, I’ll remember that rainy Sunday afternoon on College Street when I ate the pancake that trumped my dad’s.

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Shout-out to Mitzi’s coffee. A delicious blend they roast themselves.

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And my dining mates. Thank you for the awesome afternoon! For indulging me in pancake talk, between talks of hometowns, sailing and of course, sardines ;)

 

Question of the Day: How do you like your pancakes? Fluffy? Crispy? Sweet with maple? Topped with fruit? Mitzi’s may have changed my mind with their thick pancake. Previously, I preferred thin crispy cakes dipped in maple and molasses.

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Posted on December 13, 2010, in Restaurants, Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Another woman in Toronto who loves sardines? This is too good to be true!

    That pancake looks unforgettable. Kristin has been telling me about Mitzi’s and now I know I must go!

  2. Oh my god. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Toronto over spring break and that pancake looks amazing. I love pancakes anyway seriously. M/y blog should be called lolzthateattoomanypancakes.

  3. That’s like pancake porn!

    It looks like they cook it in its own special cast-iron pancake pan! It’s a beauty! And I know me some pancakes!

  4. Wow. That pancake looks phenomenal. I typically prefer fluffy pancakes but I love to experiment with the many ways you can make/eat them. Today, I made buckwheat buttermilk pancakes topped with apple pie sauce. Yum.

  5. That is one panCAKE! I love it!

    I have so many great pancake memories with my dad too. We both like ours thick and dense, but we have a soft-spot for crepe-style as well!

  6. BAH that looks so good!!! they were NOT messing around with that ‘cake! I do like pancakes way more than french toast! I find french toast always gets soggy right away BUT I am very particular with my ‘cakes. I HATE when they are the slightest bit cold, they need to be hot and fluffy and if they aren’t they aren’t worth my time!

    My grandfather always loved ihop. he got a large stack with strawberries and whipped craem and when he was done it didn’t even look like he made a dent in them! haha I will always remember that about him!

    great friends, great brunch!

  7. Wow. That definitely looks edible!
    Can you believe that I’ve never had a pancake in my life?!
    We don’t have this kind of stuff where I live…
    :P

  8. That, Susan, was not a pancake. That was just a cake. Trying to be a pancake? Whatever it was, I would not have held back either. It looks amazing. I need to learn how to make that beast of a pancake. I actually like very plain not so sweet pancakes, so that I can pile peanut butter and bananas on top.
    I am super wary of ordering pancakes at diners or restaurants, because I have had far too many soggy disappointing pancakes in my life.

  9. Thick, fluffy, and covered in fruit! (TWSS?)

  10. That is one gorgeous pancake! I like my pancakes fluffy and slightly doughy.

  11. That pancake looks fan freaking tastic. Like whoa.
    I like my pancakes fluffy and dense!

  12. My dad always made the bisquick pancakes on Christmas morning and added bananas and chocolate chips to mine! So yummy and a special treat because Christmas morning was about the only time we ever ate pancakes!

  13. it’s REALLY going the distance for you to declare a pancake the Best Ever. Happy you had the pleasure!

    Pancakes. Meh. I have them like once a year, once every few yrs. I’d rather just have….chocolate or marshmallows :)

  14. Oh. my. god. I live in Buffalo, and I might need to make the trip there to eat that pancake.

  15. I totally missed the Best of TO: Pancakes edition!

    I must check out this famous oatmeal pancake when I come home for Christmas – it looks divine.

  16. I have to eat that pancake. That’s all there is to it.

  17. I prefer crepes but I’m an equal opportunity pancake lover, I dont discriminate. i kid you not, I have pancakes as a midnight snack nightly! The best I’ve had is in a cafe here in LA, they were wild blueberries ricotta pancakes with the best maple syrup! Man, it was a pancake orgy in my mouth.

  18. yummers! i used to make pancakes every sunday growing up – i’d fry them in a bunch of oil and it was always deliciously crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. that’s how i like ‘em!

  19. What a pancake. It looked, and tasted, amazing! I can not wait to go back and try it. As good as my omelette was, I’m pretty sure the pancake would have been better :P

    Though I’m not really a big pancake fan!! I’m totally a waffle girl. But thick, hearty, oaty, sweet… that sounds right up my alley ;)

    xo

  20. Drooling! The perfect pancake to me would be big and fluffy with pure maple syrup and maybe some pecans :-) And about to get cheesy, but I suppose I’m missing the family this time of year, so I would also have to say that my Mom’s are the best, especially as Sunday brunch!

  21. The best pancake I’ve had was at a diner at the beach. It was a pineapple upside down pancake. Everything about it was perfect! Crispy on the outside, doughy inside. Caramlized pineapple pieces. Soooo good.

    That pancake looks amazing! I think that smoked chicken omelette sounds awesome too.

    BTW…the fact that you were 5 in 1991 makes me feel soooo old! :)

  22. That doesn’t look like a pancake, but a Cake-cake that is short and stout. Kinda like zucchini bread is 0% bread and 100% cake. It’s all good. I love the visual of you as a kid stirring the bisquick. I love it like Lynn does- crispy outside and soft inside- very hard to find that.

  23. I love big fluffy pancake. That one packs some height!

  24. Will be adding this to the list for the next time I’m in Toronto, it looks amazing!

  25. I love it when something is cooked into the pancake- bananas, bacon, chocolate…yumm. It always amazes me when one pancake fills me up, but that one definitely looks like it could do it!

  26. That looks like an insanely good pancake, I want in! x x

  27. That looks like an amazing pancake! I like thick and fluffy pancakes, but they fill me up before I can finish them, and I then look longingly at the plate.

  28. susan.

    i literally want to hop on a plane right now, come eat that caramel cider deliciousness of a pancake and hang out with you all day.

    however, i just checked kayak, and it would cost me $849.

    sorry :(

  29. That looks like an insanely good pancake, I want in! x x

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