We had little doubt that this past Sunday’s LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast, curated by food critic Jonathan Gold, would be offering much more than simple flapjacks. Sure, the classical form was well represented (Dupar’s was our favorite), but what really impressed us were the inventive twists on the breakfast staple.
There were rich and gooey oatmeal griddlecakes from Salt’s Cure, a thick, bacon-caramel sauce from Square One, and a quivering, salt-dusted lemon sabayon from Tiara Café. In a sort of Ray Garcia/Neal Fraser face off, FIG and BLD both produced sublime versions of the ricotta pancake. We give FIG the edge for fusing pureed blueberries and butter in perfectly round pats, though bonus points go to BLD for bringing this airy Italian-inspired pancake to L.A. in the first place.
There were delicate banh xeo, Vietnamese crêpes made from turmeric-infused batter, fried until they resemble crispy drink coasters. There was Kobawoo House’s haemul pajeon, a thick seafood pancake, that proved once and for all that it’s never too early for grilled squid. There was Ethiopian foul sopped up with injera bread, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink okonomiyaki from the GlowFish truck, and the famous Shanghai beef rolls from 101 Noodle Express.
Of course, they were plenty of cocktails and coffee to temper the carbohydrates. Somewhat surprisingly, java seemed to beat out booze in terms of popularity. The lines for LA Mill were much longer than those for a Bloody Mary or Screwdriver (granted, the lengthy “three-minute pour-over” is more time consuming than mixing vodka and O.J.).
Perhaps it was the event’s idllyic setting at the expansive St. Vibana’s cathedral downtown or the fact that our bloodsugar was spiked by near coma-inducing levels of maple syrup, but we ended our morning dreaming wistfully about next year’s breakfast extravaganza (with waffles, perhaps?)
See our slideshow of the event.