The Fiesta Bowl

Heart-friendly Breakfast Ideas

With the start of the New Year, we all strive to make healthy decisions and fresh starts.  Thankfully, breakfast is one of the best ways to kick start healthy habits. If you start the day on a good note, it is much easier to continue the trend throughout the rest of your day, week, month, and year.  Here are a few breakfast ideas to get your day, and New Year, off to a heart-healthy start.

From The Original Pancake House "Lighter Side" menu
From The Original Pancake House "Lighter Side" menu

Breakfast Smoothie

– Combine one cup of low fat milk or soy milk with frozen strawberries and a sliced banana.  Blend in your food processor or blender until smooth and frothy.  For extra protein, add a scoop of protein powder.  Create variety by mixing and matching your fruits.

Incredible Egg-white Sandwich

– Assemble this delicious morning meal with a toasted whole-wheat English muffin, scrambled egg-whites and a slice of tomato.  For extra protein, add smoked salmon and you have the perfect brain-boosting breakfast.

Spunky Oatmeal

– Spruce up your oatmeal with the addition of fruit and nuts.  Adding tangy rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries, currents, or cranberries can add a much needed zip of flavor to this pantry staple.  By adding nuts you’ll get an extra boost of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins to help keep you full and feeling great all morning.

And when you are heading out for breakfast in Denver, try The Original Pancake House Denver’s “Lighter Side” menu.  We offer breakfast favorites like Old Fashioned Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Scrambled Egg Whites, and Homemade Granola, to name a few.  With these heart-friendly options, you can enjoy a delicious, guilt-free breakfast out with your family!


Winter holiday food traditions around the world

At The Original Pancake House Denver, we love the holiday season.  Each year during the months of November and December, we add a few holiday favorites to our Denver breakfast menu – Sara’s Granola Waffle with Maple Whipped Cream, Egg Nog French Toast and our much loved Ho! Ho! Ho! Pancakes, to name a few.  These special breakfast traditions always make our season brighter and we love sharing them with our OPH Denver family.  Which got us to thinking – we know what we love for a holiday breakfast in Denver, what are some holiday traditions celebrated by other cultures and religions?  We did a bit of research and found a multitude of delicious dishes to make your mouth water!

Mexican Holiday Feastdonut-179983_640

In a traditional Mexican holiday feast you will likely find tamales on the menu.  Because they take so much time and care to prepare, many families only serve them on special occasions.  Mexican tamales are wrapped and steamed in a paper or a corn husk and are filled with masa, a corn based dough, and either meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables, or chiles.

In addition to tamales, pan dulce is traditional treat during the holiday season. These sweet rolls are made fresh daily in local panaderias. Almost like a Mexican doughnut, you might find them with a red or green topping and festive sprinkles.

Filipino Christmas Treat

Just after Midnight Mass on Christmas Day, many Filipino families enjoy a Bibingka Especial. This coconut and rice flour cake is lightly sweet, and made with rice or cassava flour. Traditionally, these cakes are cooked over charcoal in a banana-leaf-lined clay pot.  Served with tasty toppings, Bibingka Especial is very popular in the Philippines during the Christmas holiday season.

The German Fruitcake

Ah, the infamous fruitcake!  Dresdner Stollen, the original and famous fruitcake recipe from Dresden, is sold throughout Germany during the holiday season.  Made from rich yeast dough and mixed with candied fruits and nuts, these special holiday loaves are folded before baking to symbolize the baby Jesus in his swaddling clothes.

American Kwanzaa Traditions

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration that links African traditions and American customs. Kwanzaa runs from December 26 through January 1 of each year and is always accompanied by friends, family and feasting! On each day of a Kwanzaa celebration, the host serves a dish from a different symbolic place, such as Africa, the Caribbean, and South America.  These dishes might include black-eyed peas, shrimp creole, mashed yams, corn bread, or creamed collard greens.

Hanukkah Brunch

Also known as the Festival of Light, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and eight nights in the Jewish religion.  A typical Hanukkah brunch always includes several delectable dishes.  Potato latkes, or crispy potato pancakes, are a staple of many Hanukkah meals.  In addition you might find a simple applesauce, or delicious egg frittata.  To round out the meal, Jewish families often serve homemade doughnuts, a tribute to the oil that lasted eight days and nights, and traditional rugelach cookies.

Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, and whatever your heritage, we hope you are able to share a good meal with friends and loved ones! Happy Holidays from The Original Pancake House Denver!


Holiday Stocking Stuffers!

It’s that time of year!  The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has us bundled up and running around town finding little things to bring joy to our family and friends.  To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite stocking stuffer ideas! christmas-21636_640

For the forgetful spouse

– Trying to get to your favorite Denver breakfast spot and they can’t find their keys…again?  This key fob locater may be just the gift!  Now they just have to remember to attach it to their key chain!

For the eco-conscious friend

– For the tree-hugger in your life, offers several gift options.  Choose between offsetting their carbon footprint or planting trees, for as little as $10 you can make your green friend a happy camper!

For the over-worked

– She canceled your Saturday morning Denver breakfast date again because she had to work?  Brighten up her cube with some fun games from  This fun website offers little gadgets such as mind bender games, stress balls, and even solar powered flowers for her desk.

For the techie

– For the family member or friend who is attached to their new iPhone, these gloves are just the gift.  The North Face E-Tip glove has full palm conductivity so you can stay connected and active on your touch screen without exposing fingers to the frosty elements.

!For the Foodie – Give the gift of Pancake Cheer!  Did you know The Original Pancake House Denver offers gift cards?  Share the joy of a delicious breakfast with co-workers, friends and family!  Nothing says love quite like the gift of a warm and delicious breakfast in Denver.

Happy shopping and Happy Holidays from your OPH Denver Family!

Pancake Cheer

Share your Pancake Cheer!

Join us this Holiday Season in sharing Pancake Cheer!  During the month of December, we'd like to share the JOY that our pancakes bring to you and yours.  Pancake Cheer!

Helping us share this message is as easy as...

1. Snap a photo of you and friends or family enjoying breakfast.

2. Upload your photo to Facebook and/or Twitter to share the JOY!

3. Tag @OPHDenver and include #PancakeCheer in your post (we don't want to miss your photos!)


And what is better than sharing Pancake Cheer?  We'll randomly select two winners from #PancakeCheer photos on social media to receive $25 gift cards to The Original Pancake House!

Happy Holidays!

Pumpkin Pancakes

All About Pumpkins!

Halloween is just around the corner and pumpkins abound on almost every front porch in our Denver neighborhood. With this healthy gourd on our mind, we came up with a few ways to incorporate pumpkin into your breakfast recipe repertoire. Read on to learn how you can make pumpkins part of a perfect fall morning.

Pumpkin Pancakes at home
Pumpkin Pancakes at home

Pumpkin Pancakes

We have our own secret pumpkin pancake recipe at Original Pancake House Denver, but here is a variation to try at home. Simply grind the oats with a blender or coffee grinder and combine with the remaining ingredients. Cook pancakes following the standard process and top with pecans and warm syrup!
½ cup oatsl
6 egg whites
¼ cup grams pumpkin puree
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp pumpkin spice
Splash of vanilla extract

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

This healthy fall recipe couldn’t be easier and tastes just like a fresh-baked pumpkin pie! Cook oatmeal according the package instructions. Once water is absorbed and oatmeal is nearly ready, stir in pumpkin puree and fall spices. Top your oatmeal with syrup, yogurt or toasted pecans.

1 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
2 tsp cinnamon
1 large pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cloves
1/4 tsp cardamom
2 Tblsp maple syrup
Yogurt & toasted pecans (optional but delicious)

Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait

Another healthy fall breakfast treat, this parfait is guaranteed to be a family favorite! This recipe is so easy you could even make it for the family before work and school. Combine granola, pecans and crushed gingersnaps to make the parfait topping. Mix one half of the pumpkin spice with the yogurt and the other half with the pumpkin puree. Alternate layers of yogurt, pumpkin, and toppings and breakfast is ready!

1/4 cup low-fat granola
2 tbsp. pecans, chopped/pieces
2 gingersnap cookies, crushed
1/3 cup 100% pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
1/3 cup. fat free vanilla Greek yogurt
1/8 Tsp. pumpkin pie spice

And of course we recommend you stop by Original Pancake House Denver for one of our favorite breakfast dishes and try Sara’s Pumpkin Pancakes! Ours are filled with rich pumpkin, molasses and fall spices, then topped with warm butter or fresh whipped cream. We can’t think of a better way to start the day!

En route to perfect omelette

Fluffy Foamy Omelette Recipe

At The Original Pancake Denver, we take our breakfast recipes very seriously.  One of our favorite breakfast menu items is the omelette.  Light and fluffy, filled with a favorite topping, omelettes are always a crowd pleaser!  There are many methods to omelette making, and most home chefs have a favorite technique.

The Original Pancake House Omelette Recipe

Here are a few tips for creating the perfect fluffy, foamy omelette at home.

1. To start, make sure your eggs are whipped until they are light and even a bit frothy.  Some chefs recommend adding one tablespoon of

En route to perfect omelette

water to make sure the egg mixture is extra light.  For a solid meal, we usually use three eggs.

2. Choose the appropriate sized pan.  A 7-8” non-stick frying pan is perfect for a three-egg omelette.

3. Warm your pan over medium heat.  Add fat to the pan to ensure your omelette never sticks.  This step is very important; if you skimp on the fat you will create an omelette disaster!  Butter, oil, bacon fat or a combination of any of these three will work.  In general, you want to use at least a tablespoon to ensure your omelette does not stick.  Tilt your pan in all directions to make sure the fat evenly coats the pan.

4. Turn your pan down to low heat.  All omelette connoisseurs agree that the best omelettes are cooked low and slow!  No one enjoys brown or burned eggs.  Add your eggs to the pan and sprinkle your favorite toppings over the top.

5. This next step is one of great debate.  Once the eggs are in the pan, some chefs recommend lightly stirring the eggs and pulling them away from the sides to ensure evenly cooked eggs.  Others recommend you do not touch the eggs once they are in the pan; instead place a lid over top and let the omelette cook covered on very low heat for 5-8 minutes.  We recommend experimenting with both to see which works best for you.

6. Once the omelette has finished cooking, fold in half or in thirds and ENJOY!


Though we can’t share all of our omelette trade secrets, we encourage you to find and perfect your favorite technique.  This breakfast (or lunch!) dish is certainly an art and patience will garner great rewards!

Peanut Butter Toast

Quick and Easy Back-to-School Breakfast Recipes

Peanut Butter Toast + Fresh FruitWith August underway, gone are the mornings of leisurely breakfasts we all enjoyed over summer vacation.  But even with the hustle and bustle of fall schedules, it is still important to start the day off with a nutritious and filling meal!  Here are few quick and easy breakfast ideas that will start your busiest mornings off on the right foot.

Peanut Butter Toast: Packed with protein, peanut butter provides energy for hours!  One of our favorite “on the go” breakfasts includes a couple slices of toasted bread topped with a generous spread of peanut butter.  To make this meal even more delicious add honey, bananas or even raisins.

Pancakes: Don’t have time to go out for pancakes at your favorite Denver breakfast spot?  No problem!  Make a large batch of pancakes over the weekend and either freeze or store them in the fridge.  Pancakes reheat beautifully in the microwave or toaster oven within just minutes.  Add a bit of fresh fruit, syrup and butter and you’re ready to eat!

Incredible Eggs:  Eggs may seem like a weekend staple, but they are quick and easy to prepare any day of the week.  Hard boil eggs the evening before if you are very short on time.  A hardboiled egg makes a great meal when served with a banana and a slice of toast.  Fried eggs are also quick and easy; they cook within just a couple of minutes and will satisfy hunger pangs throughout the morning.

Oatmeal: Nutritious and delicious!  Slow-cooked traditional oatmeal can be made a night in advance, or quick cooking oats make a speedy morning meal.  Simply add a bit of fresh fruit or brown sugar and you are ready to roll!

And remember, The Original Pancake House Denver will be here to serve you a splendid breakfast when the weekend comes around or when the kids are out of school!

Family Fun – Things To Do on Summer Vacation

Ah, summer vacation!  We still have a few weeks left before the kids go back to school and the lazy mornings and leisurely breakfasts are over.  At the Original Pancake House Denver, we love to start our dog days of summer off with a nice big stack of pancakes followed by a little family fun.  Here is a list of some of our favorite South Denver attractions to try with the whole family!

Speed Raceway

– Are the kiddos getting a bit restless as home?  Perhaps they have a need for speed!  The Speed Raceway is an indoor electric go-kart track and provides hours of fun and racing for the whole family.  Siblings can race each other (at moderate speeds) around the indoor track and cheer on their friends and fellow racers.

Pirates Cove Family Fun Aquatic Center

– AHOY!  For the hottest of summer days, Pirates Cove is just the place to cool you off!  With pools, water slides, a lazy river, and play area, Pirates Cove provides hours of refreshing fun for the whole family.  We recommend starting with a big breakfast first so everyone has enough energy to swim all day!

Littleton Museum

– Step back in time and enjoy the adventures of life in Littleton circa the 1860’s and 1890’s. Located on 39 acres, the Littleton Museum has served as the primary repository for the history, art, and culture of Littleton. Often cited as one of the top ten local history museums in the United States, the museum consists of two living history farms, a small lake, a collections center, and a main exhibition and administration building.

Centennial Center ParkCentennial Center Park

- The 11-acre, award winning, Centennial Center Park provides children of all ages hours of fun on one of three climbing walls, two expansive, age-appropriate play areas and the Nautilus water play area in the center of the Park.  Ideally situated on a slight bluff adjacent to Centennial Civic Center, Centennial Center Park also features “butte” and “meadow” nature areas, three decorative water fountains and a two-story covered shelter to overlook the plaza or enjoy a spectacular Centennial sunset.

Belleview Park

–Located just adjacent to Pirates Cove, Belleview Park offers numerous family friendly activities. Visitors can enjoy a ride on the Miniature Train, play by the creek or on the playground equipment, ride their bikes along the bike paths, and cool off with some concessions sold at the farm. The miniature train has run in Belleview Park for over 30 years, averaging 60,000 riders annually. The train runs every summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Kids can enjoy getting to know some farm animals, which include pigs, goats, chickens, and sheep just to name a few.

Westlands Park

– Westlands Park is a hidden jewel in the middle of the Greenwood Village corporate park area. The Westlands playground includes three play areas sized for toddlers to teens. There are two large climbing structures which satisfy both the technical climber as well as the inexperienced child. In addition to the main play area, there are three multi-use playing fields, an in-line hockey rink, a natural water sculpture, a pond and a hike / bike trail.

Cherry Creek State Park

– You can’t beat Colorado State Parks!  Cherry Creek State Park has it all with biking and hiking trails, a shooting range, a miniature airport for model planes, and did we mention that nice big reservoir to cool your toes?  Bring a picnic and spend the day playing in the outdoors!

Brunswick Zone XL Bowling

– Cool shoes, slick lanes, the sound of pins collapsing, no wonder they say “fun is bowling!”  At Brunswick Zone the whole family can escape the heat and get in on the action.  Kids of all ages are welcome to take their shot at breaking a score of 200! And when the bowling is done, Brunswick Zone XL also offers laser tag, a large game room and billiards!

You’ll need lots of energy for whatever activities you choose, so be sure to fuel up Original Pancake House Denver with a big breakfast before embarking on your adventures!

Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

Who doesn't love bacon? The smell, the sizzle, the crunch and the taste…bacon is so scrumptious it’ll rouse even the sleepiest from their beds. At The Original Pancake House in Denver, we LOVE bacon. People come from near and far just to get a plate full of thick-sliced goodness. In fact, our bacon is so popular we served 30 tons last year. Yes, you read that right, 60,000 pounds of our delicious bacon. Thank you Denver!

In honor of this pork treat, here are a few fun bacon facts:

1. A 250 lb. pig yields approximately 23 lbs. of bacon.
2. Bacon is an ancient treat! The Chinese began curing pork belly around 1500 B.C.
3. In 1924 Oscar Meyer created a patent for the first sliced and packaged bacon.
4. The average American consumes 17.9 lbs. of bacon each year.
5. Dry-curing bacon is the oldest curing method. The meat is rubbed with salt, spice and sugar, and then is hung in a cool place for two weeks.
6. In 1920, a Parisian butcher created the formula for Bacon Cologne.
7. In the U.S. we make bacon from pork belly; however, in Canada they use the loin and in Europe they use the pork shoulder.
8. National Bacon Day is the Saturday before Labor Day.
9. Bacon contains a micro-nutrient called choline. Expectant mothers should eat bacon as this nutrient boosts intelligence levels in unborn children.
10. Bacon is actually addictive! It contains umami which produces an addictive neurochemical response in the brain.

Hungry yet? Brain full of bacon facts? If you are looking for a big bacon breakfast in Denver, The Original Pancake House is here to serve you! We leave you with this quote from one of our Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson: “I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family, and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post.”


Throwback Thursday: Back to Our Roots

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane today, and discover how we got started serving breakfast to Denver.

The Pancake House

In the beginning…

 Sara’s great-aunt, Erma Hueneke, and her chef partner, Les Highet, purchased the very first location in Portland, Oregon in 1953. Back then, it was known as The Pancake House.



Erma & Les




There at The Pancake House, Erma and Les introduced their now-famous traditional recipes which remain largely the same to this day.



Ferd & Gen

Then in 1958, Sara’s grandparents, Ferdinand and Genevieve Hueneke, purchased the first official franchise of The Pancake House from Ferd’s sister Erma and her partner Les. They opened up a new location down the road in Salem, Oregon.

That same year, the franchise re-branded as The Original Pancake House, a name which continues today across the country at more than 120 other franchise locations.



Ferd and Gen continued to operate their restaurant until 1970 when their son Tom Hueneke took over. Tom later opened two more locations in Oregon and continued active operations well into the 2000s.

In 1975, Tom brought his 11-year-old daughter in to help out as a coffee girl. That coffee girl worked at The Original Pancake House in many roles for more than 10 years, plus another three years as sous chef in New York before heading out west to open two Denver locations in 1996 and 2000.




Today, we know that coffee girl as Sara Hueneke Ernst – owner, operator and living legacy.


Even as the years have passed, we’ve made sure to stay true to our roots – both in our family tree and in our recipe books. We welcome you and your family to enjoy the same home-cooked dishes we’ve been serving for 60 years, because tradition is delicious. Start yours today.

Colorado Talk: Destination: Pancake Houses

Pancakes and StrawberryBy Pat Woodard

“The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves”

– W.C. Fields

Sometimes the most absurd statements contain the most surprising truths. It wasn’t popcorn I found in my pancake. It was celery. Not ON my pancake, IN my pancake. I was probably 10 years old and my older sister surprised me by making pancakes. That alone should have tipped me off. As any child will tell you, beware of siblings bearing gifts.

When I agreed to take on an assignment that involved eating pancakes, I was unenlightened by the remarkable evolution of the humble hot cake. Today, a pancake is a culinary work of art, infused with exotic flavors and esoteric ingredients.

My sister and W.C. Fields thought they were making a joke. Maybe they were visionaries ahead of their time.

I was looking for the unusual; pancakes with built-in tastes and textures I’d never heard of, or even imagined. Even using that criteria to narrow things down, there’s still too much here for one man, no matter how hungry, to handle. So, I’ve decided to do the only practical thing; pass the buck, or at least part of it. I’d like to share my assignment with you. More about that later.

I developed a list of restaurants that have either a menu filled with pancake variations or have an especially novel signature pancake. To keep this from turning into a multi-year, multi-pound expedition I put the focus mainly on metro Denver. I know. This leaves out dozens, scores, maybe hundreds of pancake nirvanas, but that’s where you come in. Again, more about that later.

The idea was to sample the oddest sounding, strangest looking, most off-the-wall griddle cake creations I could find, trying to limit myself to one choice per restaurant. I had only one other ground rule, and I refused to waffle. These had to be pancakes in the standard North American use of the term. No crepes or blintzes, no French toast or waffles.

Batter up!

DJ’s Berkeley Café

What some people would call “lazy,” I prefer to think of as “efficient.” Really, why go to the extra work of ordering eggs with a side of bacon and a short stack when you can just say DJ’s Toad in a Hole? At DJ’s Berkeley Café, that’s what they call their self-contained, gooey house specialty pancake. I call it a wonderful secret to be zealously guarded and forever kept from busybody doctors and overprotective loved ones. Are you ready?  Two pancakes the size of dinner plates, studded with huge chunks of bacon and an egg “over easy” cooked into the middle of each pancake. Looks like I picked the wrong week to have my cholesterol checked. I pierced the yolk and runny goodness oozed and fused with the rest of the ingredients. The only thing this pancake was missing was hash browns. I wonder if they take suggestions.

On this day, I brought along my research assistant so she could sample another of DJ’s pancake entrees, and perhaps give me a bite so I could write authoritatively about her selection.  That turned out to be harder than I thought because she didn’t want to share her chocolate chip and macadamia nut pancakes. That’s what happens when you have a 4-year-old research assistant.


The first thing I noticed at Jelly, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, was that I seemed to be one of the few people not sporting body art. The place was buzzing with a young, urban crowd that exuded energy and fun. The next thing I noticed was that, demographic differences aside, I didn’t feel a bit out of place.

They take breakfast seriously at Jelly. The walls are decorated with cereal boxes featuring an eclectic mix of cover personalities. John Elway, meet Barbie. Mr. T, that’s Mr. Spock. Surrounded by cereal superstars, my pancake choice seemed only logical. I told my server I wanted the frosted flakes and banana pancakes. “Good choice,” she said, “They taste like banana bread.” They did, with the added crunch of sugary corn flakes. Surprisingly, Tony the Tiger was not one of the cereal cover boys gracing the walls of Jelly, but it looked to me like Elway was smiling down from his Wheaties box. In this town, you can’t do better than that.

The Original Pancake House

I knew I was in trouble when I went online to check out the menu at the Original Pancake House. It listed more than a dozen different pancake entrees, and I wanted to sample at least three of them. Ordering three meals meant risking the addition of my picture in the dictionary next to the word “glutton,” so I thought I needed a cover story. Then I realized I had something better; a family. For the first time ever, my wife and daughter eagerly agreed to help me with a work assignment. Anne ordered the fusion of buttermilk batter and crushed pineapple known as Hawaiian pancakes. Erin selected pumpkin pancakes that the menu boasted were better than pumpkin pie. I went with the coconut pancakes. They came filled and topped with toasted coconut and dusted with powdered sugar. They were all really good, but even better was the warm, citrusy explosion of flavor called “tropical syrup.” I’ve since seen numerous online requests for the ingredients. Yes, the Original Pancake House is a chain, with more than 100 locations across the country. That puts some people off. Fine. That means more for the rest of us.

Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

The motto at Snooze, just a few blocks north and east of Coors Field, is displayed on a planter in the waiting area. “Peace, love, pancakes.” Peace and love have their place, I suppose, but I don’t think they were behind the 25-minute wait for a party of two at 11 a.m. on a Monday. There is some real creative mojo on the griddle here. Pineapple upside down pancakes feature the caramelized pineapple chunks, of course, but the toppings of vanilla crème anglais and cinnamon butter had my taste buds wondering what hit them. That’s not to slight the sweet potato pancakes topped with homemade caramel, pecans and ginger butter. The eye-popper is the “coffee and donuts” pancakes. Start with a pancake with a hole cut out of the middle. Then glaze that “donut” with maple icing and spread crushed pecans across the top. But wait, there’s more! Put a small cup of espresso cream on the side for dipping. Can’t decide? You can order a “pancake flight” that gets you one of each. Try it, and that “peace, love, pancakes” stuff will suddenly attain the authority of unassailable wisdom.

Wade’s Café

After even such limited exposure to the dazzling light of hot cake haut cuisine, I was ready for something that went even further. I knew it was dangerous, but I was no longer in control. I wanted, okay I needed, something even more unorthodox, more unpredictable, more unexpected.  I wasn’t sure it existed, but if it did, I had to find it. I hopped in the car and pointed it south on I-25. The wheels stopped at Wade’s Café. I desperately scanned the menu … and there it was! To me the words looked like illuminated script from some ancient, long buried scroll. “Buttermilk pancakes.” Wow. Talk about revolutionary! There were no surprise ingredients lurking beneath the top layer of batter, nothing sweet or salty, chunky or runny to make my palate go, “What the…?” This elegant simplicity would talk me down from the dizzying ledge of pancake panoply. Still, there were those 11 different toppings the menu listed. One called out in an irresistible siren song from my youth, evoking the imagination and independence of my little brother. When an 8-year-old puts peanut butter on pancakes while the rest of the family uses maple syrup, you can count on a little rebellion later on. With the conditioning toward the exotic that I’d been under, eating a “plain” pancake that was just plain good had me feeling a little rebellious myself. And a side of bacon made it even better.

My own search isn’t over just yet, and it may never be over. I still haven’t seen a menu with either celery pancakes or popcorn pancakes. But maybe you will.

Pat Woodard (pygmyowlpictures.comis a writer, broadcaster and producer whose work has won numerous Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards. He recently finished work on the PBS documentaryV-Day, 11.11.11, which examines what it means to serve in the military during peacetime and in war.

Readers respond

Steve Meadors in Denver emailed us: “If anybody is on a road trip in the mountains, they need to stop at Moose Cafe in Kremmling. “Moose Cakes,” served each day till 11 a.m., come out the size of the plate that they are served on. They do take some time to cook due to the size and the elevation, so just sit back and relax. They do not have anything crazy in them but they are fluffy and great and will fill you up.” Moose Café, 115 W. Park Ave., Kremmling, phone 970-724-9987.


Tom Damon in Colorado Springs emailed: “Our favorite pancake stop is the Hungry Bear in Woodland Park, exactly halfway between our house in the Springs and our cabin near Cripple Creek. We usually select the 2x2x2—two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two meats. The restaurant is filled, literally, with stuffed bears, photos of bears, stories and poems of bears, and other beary memorabilia—something to look at while you wait for your food (which usually isn’t very long even when the place is crowded.) Hungry Bear Restaurant, 111 E. Midland Ave., Woodland Park, phone 719-687-5912.


Deb Grymkoski in Beulah emailed: “Tucked away down a back alley in Crested Butte is a very colorful but tiny place called Izzy’s. Their pancake (yes, singular, as I don’t know anyone who could actually eat more than one of these things) is so huge it hangs off the edge of the plate. You could share it with several people and there would still be enough to go around. Izzy’s, 218 Maroon Ave., Crested Butte, phone 970-349-5630


Vickie Morgan in Salida emailed: “Patio Pancake Place in Salida makes delicious cheesecake pancakes, and best of all for me, they can make them gluten free. Just add strawberry or raspberry syrup and they’re sinfully wonderful.” The Patio Pancake Place, 640 E. Rainbow Blvd., Salida, phone 719-539-9905.


Rich and Cheryl Burns in Rifle emailed: “The BEST pancakes ever can be found at the Village Smithy in Carbondale. They are the Santa Fe Cakes—three cornmeal pancakes baked with bacon, green chilies and cheddar cheese. We prefer them doused with the Smithy’s homemade salsa instead of syrup. YUMMY!” Village Smithy, 6 S. 3rd Street, Carbondale, 970-963-9990.


Adrienne Alyn in Colorado Springs emailed: “I got such a chuckle out of reading about your pancake search and restaurant recommendations.  I consider myself to be a true pancake maven and I have a suggestion. Hot Cakes on 18th and Humboldt in Denver is a great local stop, a big variety of plate size pancakes and all delicious. Hot Cakes Diner, 1400 E. 18th Ave., Denver, 303-832-4351.


Hal in Colorado Springs emailed: “Try the ricotta pancakes at Root Down. Great.” Root Down, 1600 W. 33rd Ave., Denver, 303-993-4200.