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Breakfast in the Bend

Ankur Chawla | Tuesday, September 11, 2012

 

Perkins is a well-established family restaurant and bakery chain well known for its home-style meals and pie. Most Notre Dame students know it as one of the few places off-campus that is open 24 hours over the weekend for late-night snacks. Prefacing the rest of this review, the vast majority of my experiences at Perkins have been nothing but positive. Their pies are delicious, their apple cinnamon and peaches and cream muffins the best I have ever had. However, keeping with the theme of my column, I had to try their pancakes.

Perkins’ menu claims that their pancakes are “World Famous” and paired with my positive previous experiences, my expectations were understandably high. The menu options were limited to strawberry, blueberry, and buttermilk pancakes, but being the avid Jack Johnson fan that I am, I went off-menu and ordered banana pancakes. Little did I know, ordering off-menu was not the best idea.

Now there is no real general consensus on how banana pancakes ought to be made, but what I was served was anything but. Typically when making them on my own, I use the recipe my mother taught me and blend bananas into the batter, while also placing freshly-cut slices in the batter as the pancake is about halfway cooked so they don’t fall through, but rest within the pancake.

 I realize this is far more than most people would expect from a banana pancake, and I by no means anticipated that sort of display (though it would have warranted a five-shamrock review).

Perkins’ presented me a sad-looking plate with three flat, dry excuses for pancakes, with less than half a bruised banana’s worth of banana slices. These were not even worthy of publishing a picture of. Trying to find consolation with the experience, it was a busy morning and I did order off-menu, but their “World Famous” pancakes could and should only be famous for all the wrong reasons.

This was a very uncharacteristic experience I had at Perkins, but maintaining the integrity of this column searching for the best pancakes in South Bend, my vote is to avoid these. If you are looking for a more than solid selection of muffins or home-style dinners there are few places better, but it was not my favorite breakfast in the Bend.

Contact Ankur Chawla at achawla@nd.edu

The views in this column are those of the author and  not necessarily those of The Observer. 

 

 

Perkins: Banana Pancakes

Location: 423 South Dixie Way South Bend, IN 46637

Hours: Sun-Thu, 6a.m. – 11p.m., Fri-Sat 6a.m.-1a.m.

1 Shamrock of 5

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Breakfast in the Bend

Ankur Chawla | Tuesday, September 4, 2012

With my time at The Observer, I have reviewed everything from cupcakes to the best foreign food restaurants South Bend has to offer. Despite these ventures, I have unfairly ignored my favorite meal of the day: breakfast. Thus, over the next few months I will be on a quest to find the best breakfast places in the area (yes, North and South Dining Halls are on the list). Now, I tend to enjoy the sweet breakfast foods opposed to savory, so please forgive me if I focus too much on pancakes, crepes, and waffles and you yourself are an omelet person.

The first of my ventures was just this past weekend, when around 6pm Saturday evening, in the awkwardly early hours after watching the Irish win, I was jones-ing for “brinner”: the meal made famous by “Scrubs.” Unfortunately for me, and you if you like waffles, bacon, and eggs for dinner, most of the traditional breakfast establishments nearby close well before 6. Luckily, the International House of Pancakes, IHOP, was open and had the perfect dish for my breakfast craving. While my expertise and love of red velvet typically revolves around its cupcake form, I made an exception for IHOP’s limited edition red velvet pancakes and they did not disappoint.

All too often, red velvet cake is a sad excuse for what the classic dish embodies. Traditionally, red velvet’s deep red color was achieved by the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk revealing the red anthocyanin in pure cocoa. The decadent and smooth cake was even aptly nicknamed “devil’s food” apart from red velvet and was known for its overpowering chocolate flavor and luscious texture. However, since processed cocoa powder has become the norm in baking and cooking, red food coloring has dominated the recipe with people more interested in the artificial ruby red color rather than the rich, chocolaty flavor (most people I talked to had no idea red velvet even had chocolate).

While I have no doubt the pancakes at IHOP used food coloring and processed cocoa powder, they were still sure to maintain the deep chocolate flavor that is supposed to be at the dish’s core. Furthermore the pancakes were, as one would expect from an international house of them, perfectly cooked, light and fluffy.

Smothering the stack of pancakes was a generous helping of delectable cream cheese icing that had a perfect balance of sweetness and flavor on top of the syrupy consistency appropriate for pancakes. Topping that off are the almost half a dozen flavors of syrup at the table including boysenberry, strawberry, blueberry, classic old fashioned, and my personal favorite butter pecan.

One might say this dish is more dessert than breakfast or dinner, and to that I say touché. Still, I regret nothing and would order these pancakes again (and again), especially since they are quite a steal at just over one-dollar-a-pancake. While I am looking forward to trying every pancake spot in the area, it will be hard to top these.

If you have a favorite breakfast or pancake spot around town let me know and I will be sure to add it to my list. Or if you think you make the best pancakes in town, I would be happy to taste test them and make you a stack as well.

Contact Ankur Chawla at   
achawla@nd.edu

The views in this column are those of the author and  not necessarily those of The Observer. 

 

 

International House of Pancakes

Location: 4115 North Main Street  Mishawaka, IN 46545

Hours: Mon-Thu, 7a.m. – 10p.m., Fri-Sat 7-12a.m.

4 Shamrocks of 5