19 October 2008

The Pancake Tour of America

Every time I come to the US, I like to have at least one decent burger (not usually very difficult to achieve) and one brunch of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. The latter can be tracked down in the UK but the bacon is rarely crispy enough and the pancakes are usually only mediocre. Since renouncing my vegetarianism almost exactly six years ago, I've always had a bit of a burger urge probably because I eat so little meat that my body is just crying out for protein) but I can't remember exactly when I got into the PwBaMS phase. I suspect it was because the characters in The O.C. often ordered them when they went to the local diner to hang out (like Mischa Barton would eat PwBaMS!) and because they were all kewl and edukated, they talked about going on the pancake tour of America--like in On the Road. Of course, it was actually apple pie and ice-cream not pancakes in On the Road but never mind...

Last time I was in SF, I had a really shoddy internet connection, which couldn't cope with Gridskipper and so I Googled "pancakes San Francisco" and ended up at Sears, which was fine, though a little light on the character and involving a 45-minute wait. The pancakes there were silver dollar too, i.e. mini, and the bacon wasn't so great. This time, I was able to do my research properly and I dug up a good Gridskipper post on the best pancakes in SF and as only three on their list are close enough to my apartment to allow me to get their for brunch before I starved to death, the choice was somewhat easier and I opted for Dottie's True Blue Cafe.

I woke up early this morning but my run ended up lasting two hours and then on the way to the Tenderloin (my favourite part of SF), I stopped by the Apple Store so that I could caress the new MacBooks--they're so sexy and shiny! Aluminium! Sure, they're heavier than the MacBook Air but I am definitely tempted. Anyway, after I'd resisted temptation, it was 11.30 by the time I got to Dottie's and there was already a long line outside (always a good sign, even if hanging out on a street in the Tenderloin isn't exactly my top activity) but I had a plethora of podcasts and I'd had coffee at home so I wasn't in a rush. However, for once, being a lone diner actually brought some advantages as after about five minutes, there was a call for "singles" so I rushed in to sit at the counter. When I left, 45 minutes later, the two guys in front of me in the queue were just about to get inside the cafe. Hooray for lonerdom!

The pancakes were really good: they had slight hints of cinnamon and the bacon and syrup were both excellent. Coffee in my left hand (my RSI made it very uncomfortable for me to hold a full mug of coffee in my right) and a copy of the John Irving book I'm reading (Hotel New Hampshire) on the table, I was very happy. The service was even good enough that I didn't mind tipping over 15%. Nor was I harassed to leave once I had paid but was finishing up my coffee and my chapter, to the consternation of the glaring customers in the queue, which meant I didn't linger too long.

From the menu:

Breakfast specials
Some of these require you to make choices. For ease of ordering, please have your decisions made in advance.

What a great country!

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