Flash In The Pancake

It’s hard to hate on flapjacks

Have you ever woken up in the morning with a portion of your comforter in your mouth? No, seriously. Probably on a Saturday morning, the sun shines through your bedroom window and rouses you from a deep, deep slumber. Your sleep was so intensely heavy and so satisfyingly cozy that for some reason, you began unconsciously chewing on your comforter as you slept. Has this only happened to me?

Regardless of whether or not you’re brave enough to admit such a scenario playing out early in the morning, some of us more forthright individuals can attest to the situation’s occurrence and the somewhat regular frequency in which it happens. Why am I wasting precious column inches on this half-baked anecdote when you came here to read about pancakes? Well, that’s because eating a comforter is the only way that I can accurately describe the feeling I get when I shove pile after pile of doughy, griddle-cooked flapjacks into my mouth.

Pancakes consist of what is probably the most basic list of ingredients of any food creation. There’s flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter (or oil), milk (or buttermilk, probably), eggs and maybe some vanilla if you’re feeling a twinge of Food Network inspiration. Measured and mixed together, the goopy concoction is poured onto a hot, greased pan or griddle, cooked on one side until bubbles start to form, flipped (or flapped, jack?), and then cooked some more until golden brown. Then, you take that first pancake and throw it in the trash because, for some reason, the first pancake of every batch is garbage. Repeating the process after that initial sacrificial pancake, you’re left with stacks of fluffy comfort.

But don’t you dare stop there, for the dish is not complete. We know what you’re here for—we know why you decided to make pancakes in the first place. It’s not for the fluffy texture or the airy bubbles or slight vanilla flavor. You did this for the syrup. Admit it. Sweet, sticky, real maple syrup flows from the glass bottle in amber waves, dousing your pancakes in a tooth-decaying, mind-altering gloss that endeavors to transform your mere dough-based breakfast to downright decadent dessert. Wait, you’re still pouring on maple syrup? Do you want some pancakes with that syrup?

Where To Get The Best Pancakes

Any search for the best pancakes should take you to some of Long Island’s most iconic breakfast-minded eateries. These restaurants that specialize in foods meant for the pre-noon hours offer up gourmet omelettes, freshly baked breads, thick-cut bacon and hand-grinded sausage from farm-raised pigs and, of course, pancakes so fluffy you’ll grow drowsy at the mere sight of them.

The problem with restaurants that specialize in brunch? The price. Here’s a life hack you can take with you on your next breakfast run: When you want good pancakes, like, really good pancakes, slide your rear-end into the vinyl booth of literally any diner on Long Island. Remember earlier in this article when I talked about the basic ingredients of pancakes? Every single diner from Mineola to Montauk has those ingredients fully on hand at all times. Let them show you the true value of a reliable neighborhood diner with a stack of pancakes that will more than satiate your cravings and adequately enable your maple syrup addiction.

Another great option for pancakes? How about one so famous it’s recognized by the global community of breakfast eaters? That’s right, the International House of Pancakes. You might scoff at the notion, but IHOP still slings amazing stacks of flapjacks, often including them as a side to a breakfast platter. One place you should avoid at all costs, however, is Denny’s. I don’t know what Denny’s serves, but it isn’t food. Denny’s pancakes should only be used to spackle drywall or fill potholes along Hempstead Turnpike.

Pancakes vs. Waffles: The Great Breakfast Debate

Once again I find myself having to choose sides between two of America’s favorite fattening agents. This time, it’s pancakes or waffles. While both of these breakfast standbys have their merits, when comparing the two, the choice is clear and obvious. Pancakes win. Waffles are like pancakes that can cut the roof of your mouth. Waffles are sharp pancakes, and no one wants a sharp pancake. We’re here for fluffiness, remember?

Also, home waffle cooking requires that you buy an expensive contraption that is useful for exactly one type of food preparation. The other 364 days of the year, the waffle iron haunts your appliance cabinet like the ghost of breakfasts past.

Some people say that waffles are better because they have built-in syrup reservoirs that capture the sweet delight within its hardened dough walls. That might be a plus to some people, but for me, soft dough will always defeat hard crunch. Especially at breakfast time. Why worry about capturing syrup in a waffle when you can just pour more onto your pancakes at any moment?

Pancakes Are Good For The Soul

If you had a soul, its favorite food would be a pancake. It’s that simple. So instead of potentially eating your comforter tomorrow morning, curl up with some pancakes for a bite of comfort with your breakfast in bed.

Steve Mosco
Steve Mosco, the former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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