One Giant Pancake
Plus: Dinner at Causita, Princess Cake, and Cold Brew at Home.
There’s a certain kind of recklessness that sometimes yields amazing results in the kitchen. Take the case of the giant pancake that I made for myself on Saturday. I was craving pancakes, probably because I had a carton of buttermilk in my refrigerator that was about to expire, so I turned to Alison Roman’s recipe (which is simple enough), only at the very moment when I went to make little pancakes in my largest skillet, I just dumped the whole batter in at once, then flipped my giant pancake when it was turned brown on the underside (about 10 minutes on medium-low heat).
Okay, the flipping may have been a little haphazard:
But it really didn’t matter. That big, giant pancake that I made? It was shockingly delicious. I didn’t expect it to taste so good; I was really just going for some Uncle Buck style drama…
But something very special happened in that skillet when I was cooking my giant pancake: the exterior of the pancake got really crispy, and then the inside became lighter and fluffier somehow. When I soaked the whole thing with fresh maple syrup (“fresh” because it was a gift from my mother-in-law who got it from a friend who tapped it from a real maple tree), it dazzled me.
So the next time someone tells you that you can’t make a big, giant pancake, just tell ‘em: “Watch me!”
Everything was really good, but my favorite thing may have been the impossible-seeming cocktail that I ordered: a “Miami Vice” milk punch made with a blend of exotic rums, Remy 1738, pineapple, coconut, spices; it all gets clarified (that’s the impossible-seeming part) and then the rim has strawberry daiquiri dust.
Highlights of the meal included the Causita Nikkei, which was basically slices of raw fish atop a mashed potato concoction atop a sliced cucumber.
There was crispy rice with seared steak tartare (seared table side) and served with a Parmesan sauce.
And these impossible-to-stop-eating snap peas with charred jalapeño oil.
On Friday, I went out with my friend Justin Kelly to belatedly celebrate his birthday. We had burgers at Lowboy, which is a great walk-in spot in Echo Park. My burger was a crispy, smashed delight (sorry that it’s blurry):
Then, for dessert, we wandered over to Quarter Sheets where I bought Justin a slice of Princess Cake because he’s such a princess.
Here’s that cake up close:
It’s got layers of sponge and then a light fluffy icing and raspberry jam and some kind of fondant on the outside. It’s very sweet, but feels right for a birthday.
The Amateur Gourmet Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. So support me, damn it! Sign up here. :)
Finally, I made cold brew from scratch this weekend.
Here’s how easy: 1 cup of freshly ground coffee, 4 cups of cold water, stir it together, leave covered overnight, strain through cheese cloth. Voila! A very concentrated cold brew (you’ll need to dilute it a bit with ice or milk).
And now for the links that caught my eye recently:
Zosia Mamet has a new book of food essays coming out; hopefully there’s not one by her father (Today);
I’m here for Meera Sodha’s tomato and rose harissa butter beans (especially since I bought rose harissa and still haven’t used it);
I found a Ukrainian shop on Etsy called Barakholka that sells the coolest dishes; give them a click and help support them and get some cool dishes in the bargain… I was eyeing these:
That’s all for today, folks!
In case you missed it, my black bean nacho video is already setting the world on fire. Treat yourself to some nacho entertainment here:
And if you missed Thursday’s paid-subscribers only email, you missed my essay about buffets, ten bonus questions with Julia creator Daniel Goldfarb, a trip to The Barish at the Roosevelt Hotel with my parents, and even more links.
Get access to that one (plus my full archives) and get the next one in your inbox. Subscribe here:
Until next time….