What has perhaps not been established is that I love pancakes. I LOVE PANCAKES. I love breakfast food in general, and I especially love eating breakfast at a cheap mom and pop place with people that I love. In High School my friends (Hi Tamarah! Hi Paul!) and I would regularly get up at O'Dark Thirty to go out to breakfast before school started. There was a tiny, greasy place in our part of town that served up the most delicious homefries, coffee, and sausage, egg, and cheese bagels you've ever had. And if memory serves, all that came to around a measly $3. Three dollars! To be fair though, that was in the late 90s, a time period that saw me listening to angsty chick rock mix tapes and inexplicably dressing like a sk8r boi. I don't think a delicious $3 breakfast could convince me to return to that time period.
In a delightful twist, my husband Zach (who was growing up and going to Hike Skool a mere 70 miles away, though we wouldn't meet until a lifetime later) was also fond of going out to breakfast. However, he was frequenting his local Bickfords (before it was marketing itself as Bickfords Grille, which HA HA HA HAA), and was frequenting it in the afternoon. During these visits he was often served by the same waitress, who would come by his table with the coffee pot and say in her gravelly, pack-a-day smoker's voice and Boston accent "Ya wanna wahmah hun?"
(Translation for those of you who don't speak Bostonese: "Can I offer you some more coffee, in addition to what you have in your cup, in order to keep it hot?")
I've heard Ya Wanna Wahmah Hun quite often in my own house, as it has been adopted as standard phrase when coffee is being served; accent and gravel in the voice required with the delivery.
(I just asked Zach the waitress's name and it was...drum roll....Doris. Oh come on already. DORIS. As he put it "Of course. What else would it be?" What else indeed.)
Alas, Mom and Pop places are not to be found in Northern Virginia, and we are often left to make our own pancakes and bacon. There's one place in Old Town Alexandria that sort of came close. Ish. But it's just not the same. Once in a fit of desperation Zach and I hit up the local IHOP, but they served Fake Syrup and the rehydrated potatoes gave him unpleasant flashbacks to years spent cooking on a submarine. So, as I said, back to square one: Cooking at home.
Which I'm getting to, I promise.
In January we were back in Boston visiting some family when I met that same friend from High School (Hi Tamarah!) and her husband and toddler to carry on our breakfast routine. We went to Sugar Baking Co. in Roslindale, MA. I'm hooked on Yelp and will always check out reviews ahead of time where possible. The reviews for Sugar are all over the place, but we had a great experience. The food was excellent, the atmosphere laidback, and it was kid friendly yet not overrun with kids. The food is sustainable and locally sourced where possible which is something I strongly support, as you'll know if you've been around here much.
One item that was mentioned frequently in the reviews were the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. I love pancakes, and I love anything lemon, but I must admit that I'm a bit of pancake purist and I doubt I would've ordered these without the help of my fellow Yelpers. I'm so glad I did. They were divine! They were dense but somehow fluffy, moist, and had a perfect crispy edge. The lemon brightened them up but was not overwhelming, and I'm guessing the ricotta was responsible for their spectacular texture/density situation. In short: RECOMMEND.
Photo from dashrecipes.com.
Turns out Sugar Baking Co. didn't invent the lemon ricotta pancake. I feared I wouldn't be able to find a recipe to duplicate them at home, so imagine my surprise when I found tons of them online. After sifting through several, it seems the most tried & true is this one from the Food Network & Bobby Flay.
I haven't tried it yet, but I'm looking forward to my next big weekend breakfast opportunity.
Have you tried lemon ricotta pancakes?
Do you like in Northern Virginia and know of a place where one can get both delicious pancakes and the real maple syrup that they so richly deserve?