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.
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.
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.
I drooled over the specials and briefly toyed with the idea of trying something else. French toast? Smoked chicken omelette? Smoked salmon scramble?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shout-out to Mitzi’s coffee. A delicious blend they roast themselves.
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.