Hot off the Griddle: Six Pancake Favorites in Newport Beach
Oh, pancakes – plain or embellished, that is the question! There are pancake purists, like myself – I enjoy a perfectly browned, slightly thinner pancake served right off the grill; a dollop of salted butter placed on top of the stack that oozes as it melts straight over the cake; a generous drizzle of pure maple syrup. And then, there are the curious that step out of the box – those who enjoy the mix of nuts and fruits, chocolate chips and specialty flavored syrups, different items like quinoa and Greek yogurt. Regardless of preference, the perfect bite of the perfect pancake makes perfect sense to each of us.
Here are a few of the great pancake spots in Newport Beach to stay within your foodie zen zone, or venture out.
Ok, I am a little biased about The Galley, but here’s why. Myrtle (original owner with her husband Eddie) served me my first ever pancake. I still remember the butter melting all over the short stack of the thick-but-not-dense cakes of heaven, and just a little syrup took my younger tastebuds to the moon. Even today, the recipe hasn’t changed, nor has the presentation. Three large ”cake-like” pancakes and a knob of butter sit upon their iconic red-rimmed 1950s plates that have been a staple since the opening in 1957. And, I always keep coming back for more.
A truly iconic breakfast spot for locals and visitors alike, Wilma’s Patio has been serving out classics for over 40 years on Balboa Island. Though their location has changed a few times, many things remain consistent, including their delicious pancakes. Just ask for the #9: it’s your choice of either their fluffy, buttermilk or nutty whole wheat pancakes, stacked 3 high with a glorious mound of butter and maple syrup. Don’t forget to try their pumpkin pancakes in the Fall!
Then there’s the “Johnny Cakes” at True Food Kitchen at Fashion Island. These are MORE than just your ordinary flapjack – healthy, but just as equally delicious. Where Johnny Cakes are traditionally made with cornmeal, True Food Kitchen replaces the ingredient with quinoa (which is chockfull of natural protein). These cakes are super tender, packed full of flavor from ingredients like cinnamon and vanilla, and topped with whipped Greek yogurt and a side of maple syrup. Add an extra punch with fresh blueberries and one of their Natural Refreshment drinks and you have a tasty (and anti-oxidant friendly) breakfast on your hands.
Have you ever tried breakfast at Champagnes Deli? If not – you are missing out. Don’t undermine this café off of Bison and MacArthur Blvd. that is known primarily for its sandwiches and a packed lunch crowd. Their AM menu is just as strong and mighty, to include a must: Tina’s Buttermilk Pancakes. Thick and hearty, sweet and savory, these pancakes are perfectly seared crunchy and crispy on the outside and almost melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. The option to add fresh blueberries just takes this comforting, breakfast delight to the next level.
Another Pancake landmark is Cappy’s Café, serving locals and visitors alike since 1957. Beachgoers love Cappy’s not only for its location on PCH across from the beach, but most importantly for its casual vibe, full bar, and of course amazing breakfast items – to include the ever popular Cappy’s Pancakes. A house specialty, made with their “secret batter”, these thick clouds of heaven are best smothered with your own personal carafe of salted butter and warm maple syrup. Or opt for the upgrade of fresh blueberries or chocolate chips topped with fresh slices of banana.
If the ocean view isn’t enough to make you smile at this extremely popular Crystal Cove breakfast joint The Beachcomber, then you haven’t tried their specialty pancakes yet. Try this one on for size: Coconut Macadamia Pancakes. Talk about taking the basics to a higher level. This luscious pancake batter is folded together with chopped Macadamia nuts, shredded coconut, and a hint of lemon. Pan griddled to perfection and served with their homemade Coconut Syrup, this decadent breakfast of champions is one for the books. Nut allergies? No problem – their Lemon-Ricotta-Blueberry Pancakes are just as incredible; the ricotta lightens these pancake “pillows” to melt-in-your-mouth capacity, and then they are topped with a warm berry compote.