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Panclog #38: The Egg & I

 Drinking to the Dregs at The Egg & I
3/15/18 7:00 AM
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Your faithful Pancloggers recently corrected a major oversight in planning a Panclog adventure to “The Egg and I”. The Egg and I is a restaurant we visit somewhat frequently, and, to be honest, I am surprised we haven’t clogged this fair establishment yet. Well, that oversight gets corrected today.

The Egg & I is a nationwide chain that is within in the First Watch network.  There are two locations in the Kansas City area. Lee’s Summit and South Overland Park at 135th Street and 69 Highway. We visited the latter.

Location/Environment: The Egg & I location we visited is prime real estate. Right off the highway and next to a HOME DEPOT!  Nothing can be better. The environment was clean and understated.  There are no real accent pieces in the dining area.  Some may bring the word bland up when discussing the esthetic of this restaurant. Find a location near if you if you would like.

Service: Service at The Egg & I is above average compared to many other chain restaurants. Our server went out of her way to compare and contrast two menu items to ensure that our pancloggers get the correct menu option. Coffee pots were placed on the table.  If you have read any past Panclog entries, you would know this is an easy way into the panclog pal’s hearts.

Wait for food: 10 minutes

Menu/Selection: The menu is everything you have come to expect at chain brunch spots.  Many variety and plenty of options that are tailored to the growing health-conscious diners.  The Egg & I prides themselves with sections on the menu for “Healthy Side” and Gluten Free options.  Check out this menu on their website. Here is what the dudes chose:

Blueberry Lemon Pancake Breakfast (Brentles)

The restaurant is pleasant, quiet, and bland. The Egg and I seems to be attempting to find a balance between Perkins and First Watch. There is nothing necessarily wrong with this goal, but it does not leave one with an impactful experience in décor. However, there was one small detail that did catch my attention. Behind the cash register counter was a book set on display titled, “The Egg and I.” Any restaurant named after a book is certainly a positive element to me. Surprisingly this book was actually made into a movie in 1947.  I guess I am going to have to add this tome to my reading list.

On this fair morning I ordered one of their specials – a lemon curd, blueberry, wheat pancake. The special came with sausage and scrambled eggs. The sausage and eggs were satisfactory, but not special in any real way.

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The single pancake was quite large. If you refer to a prior Panclog, you will see that I prefer pancakes smaller in diameter and multiple in count. For whatever reason I find a stack of hotcakes more satisfying than a single one.

The presentation of the specialty pancake was nice, a few dollops of lemon curd arranged in a simple design on top and fresh blueberries scattered everywhere else. The downside to this is that it precludes the ability to spread a fresh coat of butter on the confection. The restaurant probably understood this as they did not serve any butter with the pancake. While the overall flavor of pancake was good, butter on a pancake is absolutely critical.

I did enjoy the tartness of the lemon curd. It did taste store-bought and processed, kind of like the filling of a cheap donut. This is not what I would hope for of course, but it was not terrible either. The pancake itself had a decent flavor although it was a bit dry given the lack of butter and the thickness of the lemon curd.

The Egg and I is a solid option for breakfast. As noted before, it is a restaurant on the semi-regular rotation for the breakfast buddies, unfortunately, the lemon blueberry pancake was not quite worth the visit. I would like to keep it on the regular rotation, but just not at the top of the list.

The Egg & I has potential, they just need to step up their game a little.

Breakfast Burrito (Jared)

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The Egg & I has been a Breakfast Buddies repeat destination since the beginning of time.  Brent and I visit this location with somewhat regularity.  It has somehow been forgotten about when it comes to the Panclog front.  I am certainly ecstatic that this has now been rectified. My mother lives near this location and therefore, we visit it whenever my mother chooses to fulfill my obsession with breakfast.

One of my favorite dining memories of The Egg & I was with one of my favorite comedians and a man I get to call friend.  His name is Jeremiah Watkins and I am here to introduce him to you.  He has a lovely podcast called Jeremiah Wonders. He also made up one of my favorite characters, Gustav. Give him a follow on twitter and support him with all of your laughs.

I chose the breakfast burrito due to the sad lack of its critique in Panclogs of the past.  I have been developing a good bit of taste for Mexican-inspired breakfast dishes since I visited Austin and the best darned breakfast tacos that I have had.  Read about it in an old edition of this fine internet publication.

I would say that this burrito does not hold a candle to those breakfast tacos.  The biggest gripe I have with the burrito is that it did not seem to be wrapped in a burrito fashion.  It seemed like it was cooked burrito innards that was tucked in for a night’s rest with a tortilla.  This does not change the taste of the meal. It only hurts the tortilla to innards ratio. After one fork tug the tortilla seems to slip and lose all resemblance of a burrito.

The sauces were a pork green chili and a standard salsa.  I had the choice of either. I asked for both and fished my wish.  The pork green chili sauce was the clear winner of the day. It had little bits of pulled pork floating in it.  Which I have a clear and hearty “Yes Please.” to say about that. More sauces should be meat forward.  Can you imagine BBQ with some sauce that also has meat in it? Game.Changer.

I enjoy this restaurant.  But I would not say it is in my top 5.  I wouldn’t say, “You have to try this place.” to anyone from out of town.

Overall: The Egg & I is a solid choice for breakfast, but it will not blow you away. A few small shifts around will bring The Egg & I into the next level of bruncheries.

Grade:
Brent: C+
Jared: C

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #37: Downtown Diner

 Dining at a Diner in a Downtown
2/26/18 7:00 AM
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Downtown Diner is right down the road from another Panclog spot, Mom’s Kitchen! Downtown Diner is located at 409 E Santa Fe St., Olathe, KS 66061. They are open Sun-Tues 6A-2:30P and all the other days 6A-9P. Downtown Diner does not have a website.

Location/Environment: Downtown Diner is right next to the Olathe courthouse.  Courthouses are almost always surrounded by a certain type of business. That business is bail bondsman.  Downtown Diner shares a parking lot with Shane’s Bail Bonds.  The environment is one of an old Chinese restaurant. The building once belonged to Ping’s Chinese Restaurant. The dining room is divided into 2 sections and a bar with seating area.

Service: Service at the restaurant was interesting although it was rather slow.  Our server spent a good portion of the morning chattering away with family in China over skype. It seems her mother or mother-in-law was facing surgery and she called to help provide some cheer and comfort. We hope everything turned out well for her family. The gregarious server did interact with us in a fun and open way throughout the morning. She even impelled Brent to sign up online at the DMV so that he would not have to wait too long once there.

Menu/Selection: Downtown Diner has a pretty standard diner menu.  They boast a menu with 16 different omelet varieties, 8 egg benedict varieties, and a burger called “Heart Stopper.” The heart stopper is 2 grilled cheese sandwiches as buns, double burger patties, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and of course bacon.  So i’d say they have a bit of variety, wouldn’t you? Let’s stop talking about what we didn’t get and dive in to what we did:

Banana Caramel French Toast (Jared!)

My panclog pals, I do not know if you know this about me, but I am a big big fan of disc golf. I have been playing regularly for 3ish years now.  I have a good pal at work, Matthew, who invited me to play randomly once and we have been playing at least once a week since. Rain, snow, or shine we get to playing sometime.  Why am I telling you about this lovely hobby of mine? It’s because if it weren’t for disc golf, I would not know about Downtown Diner. We were playing the Lakeside Hills course in Olathe and our coworker at the time, Karla,  said we should grab breakfast after the round.  She questioned if any of us had tried Downtown Diner. None of the group had. She said we have to go. I never object to breakfast. A Peanut Butter & Jelly French toast later and I knew there had to be a panclog review on this fine establishment.

Let’s chat about the toast from France.  I tend to not choose french toast over the other breakfast breads.  I think I would rank the hierarchy of breakfast breads as followed:     1. Pancakes. 2. French Toast. 3. Waffles

I think I shy away from French toast because I find pancakes more filling and I have been scorned by very egg-y toast before.  I must say the french toast in the picture below are quite delicious. I mean, just look at them.

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First I will say that this french toast did not need the bananas nor caramel to be some of the best french toast that I’ve ever had.  This toast does not seem to be cooked on a griddle or flat top. I may be wrong, but I believe they are shallow fried.  I’m sure that’s a thing. The banana and caramel did not enhance the meal above and beyond.  It was simply some nice fluff.  Next time I will not be choosing these add-ons.  I did not need any syrup for the french toast. The caramel and whipped cream added enough moisture to start that critical breaking down of the structure of the french toast.  Bacon is always a great pairing with a sweet breakfast treat. The crispy, peppery flavors of bacon reminds your mouth not to go all-in on the sugary goodness of the french toast.  Sometimes you just have to put your taste buds in their place.

I will absolutely be having a meal at Downtown Diner again.  I sure hope it is busier next visit.  This place deserves business.

I got coffee, bacon, and the caramel banana french toast with tip for $16.79.

I’d like to recommend you listen to Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al.” It is just a beautiful upbeat song.  Plus it is a nice mystery. Why is Paul wanting to be called Al?  If you find out please let me know.

French Toast Platter (Brent)

Stepping into the Downtown Diner in Olathe, KS is quite a striking experience. The initial impression the establishment provides is one of a gritty, old, experienced diner. From the inside out you feel diner’s age as it permeates every aspect of the restaurant. I expected to see a couple truck drivers sitting at the counter swapping stories and lies about the road with a loud cook in the back slinging hash.

Upon closer inspection though, you notice the accouterments of a Chinese restaurant. The tables are stamped with various logograms that I assume are hanzi. The diner also displays other artistic elements of East Asian stylistic origin. This diner forces a fusion of cultures that is absolutely delightful. Common ground can be found between art, décor, and, most importantly, breakfast.

We entered the Downtown Diner to a space devoid of customers. This concerned me a little thinking that there is something that others know that I do not know about this place. Sitting there for a bit, Jared wondered if we would complete the entire breakfast buddies experience without another customer entering the building. We came awfully close to seeing this happen, as we made it all the way through eating our meal before another soul showed up.

The menu options offered are all pretty standard. As we perused the menu our first cup of coffee was delivered. Their coffee was fine. Nothing special. Nothing earth shattering. It simply tasted like a cup of Folgers. This isn’t a bad thing, just not an exciting thing.

I ordered French toast for breakfast, which caused our server to emphatically say, “Our French toast is the best!”

“Bold words,” I thought to myself as I squinted back at her with a steely glare. Bold words indeed.

An order of French toast comes with a few side options: eggs (scrambled of course), choice of meat (I went with sausage), and choice of potato (hash browns). The eggs and sausage were pretty nondescript. I would not go so far as to say flavorless, but the word bland comes strongly to mind.

I had high hopes for the hash browns though. Getting hash browns at a seedy diner is one of my favorite things, because they are usually fried crisp with a hint of onion, and a fair amount of black pepper. These came out slightly crispy but I could not taste much in the way of seasoning. To make matters worse, the hash browns were slightly undercooked and soft in my opinion. I did share them with Jared – I wonder if his opinion differs.

The French toast was excellent. This tasty treat lived up to exactly what our host said it was. Downtown Diner makes amazing French toast. The French toast had a distinct sweetness to it with a hint of cinnamon. The toast actually had a streusel like crust to it. Not an overwhelming amount of streusel but enough to add an interesting texture. Speaking of texture, the toast had a pleasant crunch on the outside and a soft tender center. It is usually necessary to add something sweet to French toast like syrup or a fruit compote, but Downtown Diner’s does not require it. All that is necessary is a little butter and you can experience a quick trip to joy.

Overall: We would be happy to add the Downtown Diner to the regular rotation. The overall experience was interesting and fun. Of course every breakfast buddies is interesting and fun.

Grade:
Brent: B
Jared: B-

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #36: Village Inn

Villages may vary in visceral reactions
1/26/18 7:00 AM
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Happy 2018, Panclog Pals. I bet you were wondering when you would receive a new edition of your favorite breakfast-themed blog.  My excuse for the absence happens to be the best one you can have. In fact, I have 2. TWINS!!37-Sova-47

My babies are nothing short of enablers of my breakfast addiction.  Almost every day we bind over breakfast. A bottle, a bowl of cereal, and a comfy chair are the ingredients for a lovely breakfast.

Village Inn is a nearly nationwide upscale-diner chain  that has over 200 locations.  The Panclogsters went to the Village Inn in Mission, KS at Johnson Drive and Metcalf.  They are open from 6 AM to 10 PM everyday. Check out their website to find a local locale.

Location/Environment: This Village Inn is located in a growing area or perhaps a better word would be refurbishing area. There are construction sites all around this clearly aging building.  Some would say that this building will “slowly disappear” if not updated in the coming years.  The first thing you see when walking in is the always tempting display case of fresh pies.

Service: The service was standard. Coffee was filled when needed. No recommendations of meals was made. But no recommendations were needed.  A manager checked the Panclogsters out and made sure our trip was a successful one.

Wait time for food: 7 minutes

Menu/Selection: The menu is very similar to a past panclog establishment, Perkin’s.  It has breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They both also feature their house-made pies.  Check out their menu if you don’t believe us. They do have a nice feature called Inn-credible V.I.B.  Thisis a feature similar to a u-pick 2.  But it is actually pick 4!  So that is a nice wrinkle in the morning.  Create your own combo. Let’s dive into our selections:

Belgian Waffle Combo (Brent)

6 am comes early. But, if you want to successfully experience Breakfast Buddies that is often the time you need to get up; the event starts promptly at 7 am. There is no need to worry if you are late though, we will still hug you, we will still share our coffee, we will still share our excess carbs, but, you just might miss solving the crossword with us. Let’s face it folks, your faithful Pancloggers have become senior adults. Someone fire up dinner and have it ready by 4:30 pm, papa is headed for bed about 8.

Our premature aging was evidenced quite clearly at our chosen establishment this fine morning. As it seems our restaurant of choice today was well populated with an older generation. I have always felt that I would make an excellent senior adult, especially considering how quickly I am approaching it. It is a given that my wife and children would suggest that I have already achieved senior adult status.

On this fine morning we found ourselves at the Village Inn, a restaurant that my wife and I used to live right next too. However, I believe this is the first time I have frequented the establishment. The Village Inn is pretty simple to describe: it is a restaurant in the same vein as Perkins. The Village Inn offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they have a lovely display case of pies and other baked items, and they offer a diner like atmosphere.

Speaking of the restaurant’s atmosphere the Village Inn location we visited is clearly showing its age. This is not a problem per se, but unfortunately, the surrounding area is undergoing a bit of a renewal. There are many brand new shops and restaurants being added, and several older ones are getting a brand new facade. My concern is that if the  Village Inn does not have a plan to refurbish its look, it will slowly disappear. For those unaware, many are beginning to believe that there is a Panclog curse. It seems that your fair and easy on the eyes Pancloggers have caused the unfortunate closing of several restaurants. Will the Village Inn be next? I do not know, but I suggest you get out there as soon as possible, in case it does close.

Did you notice that I said they have a lovely display case of pies? I am still dreaming of the White Chocolate Cherry Dream pie, the Key Lime pie, Lemon Meringue, French Silk, and Country Apple. I am overloaded with a desire to experience a full on sugar coma driven by an overconsumption of various pies. Looking at the website you will see an amazing offer, one free piece of pie with any other purchase on Wednesdays. The website even has a handy dandy countdown clock for the momentous event. Sadly, we did not get to participate in this promotion because we showed up on a Friday. With a little bit of research we could have left extra happy, but now I am just overly disappointed. I feel that Jared owes me a return trip for a Wednesday lunch.

Now we must turn ourselves to breakfast. I ordered my current go to breakfast of a Belgian waffle, sausage links, and scrambled eggs.

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The waffle was slightly overdone but came with a more than sufficient amount of margarine. While I prefer butter over margarine, with enough of either, it can ease the crispiness of an overdone waffle. The waffle lacked a touch of sweetness, like powdered sugar or a fruit compote. Some would point me to syrup, but I am currently working on learning to like it, thus I think syrup spoils a tasty treat. Village Inn’s waffle also had a strong malt flavor. I am not a fan of a lot of malt flavoring as it makes a food item taste dusty. I get that may sound odd, but too much malt causes a dust storm in my mouth. It is this reason that I prefer a straight up milkshake over a frozen malt.

The sausage was, fine. Nothing special. Nothing spectacular. Nothing earth shattering. The sausage was just fine. One hopes when biting into any type of sausage, be it a bratwurst, hot dog, or any other type of sausage is a nice clean snap on the casing. Followed quickly by an explosion of juice that fills the palate with flavor. This sausage, while it tasted fine, did not meet any of these qualities.

The menu said the dish came with one egg cooked however you like it. It seems that they did not say what type of egg was being offered. My guess is that they had a case of Quail eggs or Robin eggs, because this was certainly not a grade A, large egg. I can sum up my feelings about Village Inn’s eggs with one word: pitiful.

Like my assessment of the sausage, the breakfast offered by Village Inn was fine. I would not add them to the regular breakfast location rotation. In fact, I would be fine with never going back again. Village Inn is not bad, but it is not good either. If someone offered to take me there I would be fine with it, but I would not suggest it as a location to experience again. So it is up to Jared to take me to lunch on a Wednesday so that I can get a free piece of pie.

  Strawberry Blintzes and Coffee (jared)

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Let’s start this like any research paper that a sub-par student.  A definition and a bunch of blabbering that will help out with the word count requirement.  Oh, no one else did that? Just me? Alrighty Then!
What is a “Blintz?” The Free Dictionary website defines it as: A thin pancake, usually wrapped around a cheese filling, sauteed or baked, and topped with sour cream, fruit, or powdered sugar.

I discovered blintzes while working at the DoubleTree Hotel.  The chef made it for special events such as holiday brunches or fancy employee functions.  Therefore I equate this treat as a delicacy.  This is the first time I have seen this special pancake dish on a chain restaurant’s menu.  Village Inn was offering it with either a strawberry or blueberry topping.  I chose the former.

Village Inn has had a soft spot in my mind for about 18 years. My childhood best friend, Cameron, invited me on a little road trip where his mother had some business to do.  We were in a town that I had no idea existed.  At 10, my life circle was very small.  Cameron and I in the backseat talking about nothing but everything to a child’s brain.  When Cameron’s mom asked if we were hungry, our preteen stomachs screamed, “Absolutely!”

We stopped at a place that Cameron’s mom experienced when she was a child.  That place was Village Inn.  What made this trip even more special than just being on a road trip, was the fact that we were allowed to order off the “big” menu.  No kid’s menu for me.  I was a grown-up if only for a meal.  It was a freeing experience.  I got pancakes.  They were fine but special none the less.

I had not been back to a Village Inn until this meeting of the Breakfast Buddies.

My Blintzes were delicious. A beautiful pairing of Ricotta and cream cheese.  The texture was light and fluffy. The sour cream on top melted into a good counterbalance to the sweetness of the strawberry topping. I was disappointed in the strawberry topping.  It was simply a strawberry compote.  Has a compote ever tasted “fresh” at a diner?  I don’t believe so.  But I’d love to find one.  I was also underwhelmed with the price of the blintzes.  $8.99 felt too much for 3 blintzes and no sides.

Coffee is also known as delicious dirty water.  This makes me feel like it should not be over $2.  At Village Inn, coffee is $2.19.  Yes, I am happy that it is a bottomless cup, but the price point reminds me of when my amazing mother took me and my siblings to a all-you-can-eat buffet, she would state to all of us “eat your worth.”  While that made those trips more worthwhile.  It does not make for a happy stomach when it comes to coffee.

I’d like to recommend not one but 2 songs that have been on repeat in my head. First is Kendrick Lamar’s LOVE. Ft. Zacari.  The second is The Avett Brothers with Murder in The City. If you don’t enjoy either of those, you have bad taste. Don’t @ me.

Overall: Village Inn is a chain diner that is hit-or-miss.  It isn’t outstanding for breakfast nor is it terrible.  It won’t be added to our regular rotation for breakfast.  But it should not be shunned all together.  Middle of the road.

Grade: Brent: C-
Jared: C+

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #35: Cereal Special

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Your intrepid Pancloggers have a wide variety of interests, from exploring faith, film, science, literature, and love, to passion, humor, life, breakfast, and fantasy sports. While some of these endeavors are more consuming than others, we have deep seated interest in all.

Fantasy sports is the interest that led to this edition of the Panclog. More specifically, fantasy baseball. We cut our teeth on fantasy football of course, football being the simpler sport to understand. Having played fantasy football a few years, we felt ready to start the inaugural season of “Captain Planet’s Bae’s Ball” league. A fantasy sports league that tracks the most noble of sports, Baseball.

I am pleased to report, that at the conclusion of our first season, I earned second place. Aside from some initial disappointment, I really hoped for first, I ended up quite pleased with the result. When assembling a team, I try to focus pretty intently on the statistics of each player, without looking at their names or the teams they play for. If I paid any attention to those names or teams, I would only end up with Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds players. Which of course would be a truly magnificent team.

This discussion of fantasy sports leads to the purpose of this Panclog. You see, my fellow Panclogger, and true friend, Jared, likes to place a side bet here and there during the season. I am not sure if he does this with other folks regularly, but I assume he does. In this particular case, Jared and I wagered that the winner of our particular head-to-head matchup would get to pick the loser’s new favorite cereal and said loser would have to write a Panclog for his new favorite cereal. What follows is a Panclog entry describing a transcendent experience with Kellogg’s Krave Double Chocolate cereal. Had Jared lost, he would have had to espouse how much he loved Grape Nuts.

Every cereal, to be described as truly great, must excel in flavor and composition in its dry state, as well as, in its milk state. Few, if any, cereals surpass Post’s Honeycomb in its dry state. Honeycomb eaten raw from the box is eminently snackable. Many a long night I have sat back, watching a nonsense film, throwing back handfuls of Honeycomb cereal. Honeycomb also serves as one of the best road trip teats. There is nothing simpler than using dry cereal as a snack for those long drives across the country.

How a cereal holds up in milk is of equal importance. My favorite cereal to eat with milk is Frosted Flakes. At least until Jared told me that Krave was my favorite. For a cereal to excel in milk, each kernel or flake must withstand milk’s deep seated desire to turn a crispy dream into a soggy nightmare. Milk always wins of course. However, with knowledge and experience, a breakfaster can time his or her meal properly so that the primal milk force can be kept at bay. In the case of Frosted Flakes, one has about 5 minutes before the bowl starts to turn.

As noted earlier, due to a loss in fantasy baseball Krave became my new favorite cereal. I actually tried it for the first time a week ago. I can honestly say the experience was sublime. At least if you think the word sublime means what it sounds like rather than what it actually means.
Krave

The first step in the realizing how magnificent Krave Double Chocolate is, is to try it as a dry cereal. Does Krave hold up as a simple snack? I can dishonestly say that it crushes any other cereal as a dry snack. Each bite of Krave provided an odd experience that I don’t think is possible to get used to. Krave Double Chocolate, as it comes straight out of the box, is as dry as can be. It is, as if, the cereal itself wants to remove the humidity from the air, or anything handling it, just like those don’t eat packets that you find in shoe boxes. Holding a kernel of Krave, or whatever you call one piece of cereal, you can feel the moisture leaving your fingertips at an alarming right. This may cause some trepidation in your heart and mind before you consume the treat, but that feeling is unfounded. You will feel the moisture escape your fingertips at an alarming rate, but if you just chug a gallon of water per kernel of cereal you will remain properly hydrated.

What is truly fascinating about Krave eaten dry is that the cereal instantly disintegrates before your teeth completely close on the treat. At the first sign of pressure from the bite a bitter dust ball of chocolate explodes in your mouth, coating every surface it can find. You will wind up brushing your teeth for an hour afterward to get it all cleaned out. Kellogg’s is in favor of good dental hygiene, and Krave helps deliver on that belief. One would think that excess saliva would help alleviate that dusty experience but it does not. This would lead one to believe that such an experience would be unpleasant and one would be right. However, if you have a nice tall glass of milk you can turn it to chocolate milk instantly. This can be done delicately by taking a long sip and swishing it around your gums. Or, it can be done indelicately by just exhaling over the brim of the glass. Exhale gently, otherwise you are libel to coat your breakfast buddies in a thin cloud of cocoa powder.

I look forward to adding Krave to the normal selection of snacks for any given road trip. It is of the utmost importance to plan ahead points of contention, frustration, and outright anger for any long car ride. Such experiences are necessary to ensure a successful vacation. My new favorite cereal could quite possibly deliver on these necessary experiences more than any other snack item in existence.

We have only covered half of the story though. The other half will have paste eating kindergartners celebrating for years.

KRAV

Now doesn’t that look appetizing? I would suggest what I think it looks like, but we are in polite company.

This is actually bowl number two. On the first bowl I let it sit too long, just over 30 seconds, while I prepped my phone camera to take a picture. That first bowl lost all structural integrity and quickly turned into a smooth, brown ooze before I could snap a picture.

Look closely at the picture and take note. The milk fills about a quarter inch above the bottom of the bowl. Using such little milk increases the cereals life expectancy to a full two minutes. This is the amount of time you have to consume every tasty bite before it turns into the aforementioned kindergartner’s dream, chocolate flavored paste.

Often times it is difficult to describe exactly what a food tastes like through the written word. In this case however, I can describe its flavor perfectly. Hop on over to the grocery store and grab a sleeve of Hydrox cookies, the knock off Oreos. Separate the wafers from the cream filling and roughly crumble the wafers into a bowl. Get your favorite brand of whole milk, I recommend the Shatto Milk Company, and pour it over the top of the crumbled wafers. Now, the crucial step, let the concoction sit for at least four minutes. You may be wondering that the wafers will lose their crispiness, their bite, and I will say that is exactly right. It is highly unlikely that you will experience a crisp bite with Krave, so a crisp cookie bath will give you a false idea of what the cereal is like. Once the four minutes have expired, grab your favorite soup spoon and start shoveling. This is exactly what the milk covered Krave taste and texture is like.

Per the rules of the bet, I declare that Krave is my new favorite cereal. I wish to thank Jared for introducing me to Krave. I have requested to my beloved bride that we move Krave to the top of our shopping list. Sadly, Krave has 23g Total Carbohydrates, of which, 11g come directly from sugar. This breaks a family rule for carb and sugar content. So, unfortunately, I will wander the cereal aisle from now to perpetuity wishing and hoping I can purchase Krave, but cannot. It is my personal burden to bear, but do not let that stop you from experiencing Krave in all of its wonder.

 

Oh you are having a party, I’ll bring the cereal!

Jared Sova here.  Gonna spit some wisdom at you all about the easiest and most varital meal.  CEREAL, SON! Oh you wanna question my cereal expertise. Let’s take this outside.  Here is a picture of my current cereal shelf(ves):

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Are you not satisfied? I also have 3 boxes that are in the cupboard.  Come at me.

If you won’t take my word of my cereal fanatic status. Take Panclog Co-founder, Stephen Shaffer’s word for it.  He took my cereal status to elite levels by procuring me not one, BUT TWO SIGNED CEREAL BOXES!!!

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LUCKY THE LEPRECHAUN & THE CAP’N signed these cereal boxes.  Isn’t it super cool that Cap’n made a Captain Phillips joke?  You know that dude keeps up on his Tom Hanks films.

Now that you understand that I have the knowledge to preach about cereal life to you, let’s chat about my favorite cereals. I will be focusing most intensely on Kellogg’s Honey Smacks later on, but that is not my only love.  Bowls of Kix have been known to go missing around my house. (Shh don’t tell anyone, they go missing into my tummy.  I just tell my wonderful wife that they are missing to get more 😉 Did you like how i used the end of that parenthesis into a little winky face? Hit me up later and I can teach you how to do that.  But for real, do not believe the rumors that Kix is the Styrofoam of cereal. Honey Kix are dope too.

Let’s talk about Life.  Not the board game. Not the thing you are living. But the delicious cereal.  Mikey likes it!  So do I! I most prefer the nearly perfect Cinnamon Life.  I believe that Cinnamon Life perfected the ratio of cinnamon to cereal. In my opinion, I have noticed that other cinnamon cereals are a little to heavy handed when it comes to the cinnamon. Be that Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cinnamon Frosted Flakes, or the short-lived Cinnamon Pebbles all missed the mark.  Cinnamon Life is simply delightful.

How do I prefer my cereal prepared?  Let’s break it down.  I need a large bowl.  ‘Cause I’m a large man-child.  I like to fill the bowl 80% of the way up with my favorite cereal. Then I fill it up with milk until the cereal raises about a 1/4 of an inch.  I prefer almond milk now a days. But you can use any of the dairy-ful or dairy-ish products you want.  Let’s see what my cereal looks like when milked up and prepped in the bowl.

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Now doesn’t that look delightful?  Also there is a spotting of Rookie dog in the background. You are welcome.

I wanted to take a good picture for you beautiful people.  Honey Smacks is one of my absolute favorite cereals. Post’s Golden Crisp is essentially the same cereal, but I will side with Honey Smacks all day.  I truly enjoy the honey- forward taste in the malty goodness.  I would say it does not pass Brent’s dry snacking test.  It is a little too sticky feeling when eating with one’s hands. But when in milk it keeps a slight crunchy texture throughout dining.  And it creates the 3rd best cereal milk in the game.  I hope you know that Cocoa Puffs and Pebbles edge them out for the top 3.  Oh the mascot is crazy cool too.  Dig’Em is easily the most overlooked cereal mascot.  Why are people hating on a cereal-loving, hat-wearing, super-lovable frog?

How much should you spend on cereal?  Great question, Panclog Pal.  I have discovered through extensive and relentless research that off brand cereals rarely are of less quality.  So I will tell you my budget per box is less that or equal to $2.50.  Please stop spending up to get a name brand box.  Also local grocery stores hold cereal sales nearly every week.  Stock up.

Thank you so much for tuning into this cereal special of Panclog! What would you like us to write about next?

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #34: Tacos in Austin

Vicki Vallencourt loves Veracruz!

5/29/17 8:54 AM

This is a long time coming. I hope you will forgive me only due to the fact that summer is for relaxing.

In May I went to my soon to be brother-in-law’s bachelor party weekend. We met at his home in Dallas, TX. We then drove to New Braunfels to have a blast of a time with people that will one day soon be in my family.  I was completely honored to be invited to this weekend. Here is a nice picture of Chris with my sisters and I.

 

During this dude trip, we drank plenty of beers and smiled at a lot of people.  I even bowled a 181 in one of the fanciest bowling alleys in New Braunfels.  But let’s get to the heart of the matter, during this trip I discovered the wonderful and mysterious place that is Buc-ee’s.  Buc-ee’s is an incredible convenience store/ gas station in Texas.  They have their own mascot. How many convenience stores do you know that have a mascot!?! Honestly if you know of any, please let me know here.  Wanna see a picture of me and a new friend with a statue of sir Buc-ee?  Too late you are already looking at it.

I am sure you came here to learn about breakfast and not hear about me having a grand ole’ time with some fun people.  So let’s chat about Veracruz All Natural.

Veracruz All Natural started in 2008 as a sno-cone and smoothie trailer.  They then transitioned into a food truck shortly after.  Veracruz then blossomed into a king in the breakfast taco game.  They now have 3 different locations all around Austin.  I will tell you all about it now!

Location/Environment: Veracruz All Natural was and is a food truck.  At their original location (the one we went to) is on E Cesar Chavez. At that location there is a food truck with a fence around it that creates an outdoor seating area.  It was quite quaint with the limited amount of seating that was available. It was a beautiful morning to be dining outside. There were about 7 tables out in this seating area. Each table had a umbrella to shield dining customers from the dangerous rays of the sun.

Service: Veracruz All Natural has the typical food truck ordering system.  Stand in line. Order. Wait for food. Stuff that food into your mouth. Savor! This ordering system can sometimes be an annoyance if you are in a long line of hungry, hungry diners. These soon to be diners tend to create a pressure to know your order before you get to the front of the line.  But Veracruz makes life easy by having their menu on their website and also at the front of the line.

Wait time for food: 7 Minutes.

Menu/Selection: First things first. Check out this taco menu. I am sadly going to neglect the non-breakfast items on this menu.  But if I am ever back in the Austin area, I solemnly swear that I will have more tacos.

The menu was something to be in awe over.  It was simple and elegant all while giving you all of the information you may need when making a decision.  Veracruz also put nice recommendations with a small blurb like “One of the top 5 tacos in America. – Food Network” and “Called a ‘Minimal Masterpiece’ by Rolling Stone.”  These blurbs can easily point you in a direction that you will most definitely find delicious. There are many vegetarian options for those people who don’t deal with meat.

Let’s talk about what I ate!

The delicious taco trio of Migas, La Reyna, and Al Pastor

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I am the type of guy that enjoys a great trio of tacos. I went 3 different tacos to sample the menu and also to taste the rainbow. I chose La Reyna, Al Pastor, and Migas. Let’s start with La Reyna.

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The La Reyna taco is described as egg whites, spinach, avocado, carrots, mushrooms, red bell pepper, pico de gallo, and Monterey jack cheese. If any of you know me, you may be surprised that I chose this taco. For those of you that are not in the know, I have over and over voted against the use of mushrooms in any dish.  But this fine meal was at the end of a heavy beer-drinking weekend, so when I had the chance to get some vegetables that my darling wife begs me to have when I am away, I grab that chance.  This was a beautifully seasoned medley of grilled vegetables all on a soft yet firm flour tortilla.  There is only one negative aspect about La Reyna is that it is built out of many small ingredients.  This creates a bit of a mess. This certainly doesn’t ruin the meal. It only creates the opportunity to use a fork.

Next is Al Pastor:
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Let me tell you a little love story: A young man of about 23 years of age was telling a friend about his love for tacos.  The friend asked the young man if he actually liked tacos or only taco bell. The young man stated a taco is a taco and that he liked them all. The kind friend promptly took this young man to the most magical taco joint that he has ever been to. That place was Bonito Michoacán.

Tacos are $1 on Tuesdays and Fridays at Bonito Michoacán. So that faithful Friday, that young man ate 7 different tacos from tripe to beef tongue and carne asada to chicken. After all that the young man decided that Al Pastor was best. And that young man grew up to be me, Jared Scot Sova!

Great story, right?  Al Pastor is pork that is marinated in pineapple juice and chile guajillo. This stuff is some of the tastiest meat that you can ever have. The pairing with queso fresco and avocado that Veracruz All Natural did was something special.  After dining on this taco I wrote one simple note. “Beautifully Done.”

Onto the Migas taco
IMG_0090First I’d like to say sorry about this picture. It was the first taco I had.  I ate this taco and then instantly learned how to take a better portrait of a taco. But I first must say how fantastic migas is.  Migas is a staple in the tex-mex breakfast game.  Migas is made up of eggs, tortilla chips, avocado and pico de gallo.  Because the tortilla chips are added to the eggs while they are being cooked, they soak up some of the flavor while also slightly softening.  The key to good migas is to have the tortilla chips retain some of their crunchiness. This gives the dish the extra credit of differing textures that many dishes lack.

I would have to say that this taco was my absolute favorite of the three I tried.  I do enthrall you to try as many as you can.

La Reyna – $3.50
Al Pastor – $3.00
Migas – $3.50

Overall: If you are anywhere near the Austin, Texas area, Veracruz All Natural is an absolute must.  If you do not like the outdoor seating, Veracruz has a traditional restaurant location.  The prices are a bit high per taco. But I must say that they are worth it.

Grade: I must give it an A+.  I want more.  Someone should bring me tacos.

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #33: Floridian Panclog Tour

Actin’ a fool in Florida

4/12/2017 & 4/15/2017
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Note from Jared: My wife and I crashed the Morgan’s vacation. Because it was Brent’s vacation, I will let you enjoy his amazing narrating skills.

Your intrepid Pancloggers, on a whim, decided to experience the breakfast foods of the great state of Florida. Well it was not exactly on a whim, much planning was involved. Do not doubt the adventurous nature of your Cloggers though because we chose to bring along our wives. Not only that, we brought four teenagers. Yes, Jared and I are not only brave,and handsome, we are willing to accept any challenge regardless of its danger. Within reason of course. We would not necessarily shop for the most sought after Christmas gift, but we would certainly brave a light sprinkling rain. Only if we had a raincoat, slickers, and permission from our moms.
You might be saying, I understand taking the spouses, who could handle that much trouble if you left them behind, but why would you drag four teenagers along. Especially considering that one teenager is excessive enough. To that, we must ask, would you leave four teenagers home alone to destroy all of your personal property. No, we had to accept the lesser evil and bring them along with us. We may have regretted this at times, but it is better than coming home and discovering your house burnt to the ground.

With our wives and my children in tow we headed out to Florida, specifically Seacrest Beach, FL. Seacrest Beach is adjacent to Rosemary Beach, and the two areas blend into what feels like one larger neighborhood. The community feels wholly separate from the other areas of the panhandle, especially its closest neighbor, Panama City Beach. The community is quaint, friendly, clean, and endearing. It seems that when the planners developed this resort city they had their eye squarely on the well to do family. I am truly surprised they let us in.

The area shuts down about 10 pm every night, and there is not much nightlife available. Cool with me because I was looking for relaxing vacation with an opportunity to just enjoy an easygoing week. There are many activities planned for the residents that are fun and free. For instance, a family scavenger hunt helped you discover all that Rosemary had to offer. They also had a movie night on the green where they played Star Wars: Rogue One. It was an outdoor showing in the cool night air.

The white sandy beaches on the Florida panhandle are the most beautiful beaches in the US in my opinion. The Outer Banks in North Carolina are a close second. The beaches in this particular area are private and require special access. In our case, they gave us wristbands to show that we were renting a place. I highly recommend going to the beach late on a clear night. The stars come out in great numbers then.

It is a great place to just sit back and leave the technology behind.

There is one aspect of Florida that is quite odd: spoons are a rare commodity. We did not think much of it at the first time we noticed it, but the house we rented only had two normal sized spoons. We would soon discover upon dining out at a few places, that Florida is stingy with their spoons. Spoons were not part of the silverware pack left on any of the tables and only delivered when the food in question required it. I believe a million dollar business idea is up for grabs here in solving Florida’s spoon shortage.

I digress.

Let us return to the subject that everyone is most interested in, Breakfast. With Jared’s stated goal of finding a place that is so good that he buys the shirt, we had high expectations. Couple that with a population that skews to senior adults, you would expect Florida has it going on in the breakfast department.

Our first eatery was a popular placed called The Donut Hole. With a name like that, one would expect empty plates. Terrible joke. I am sorry. I would like to say it will not happen again, but I cannot guarantee it. Low hanging fruit must be picked.
Hole

The Donut Hole is a nice looking restaurant built like a refurbished barn. The ceilings are vaulted very high making for a huge and spacious feel. The floor plan is wide open with tables that are well spaced and easy to move around in. The atmosphere in The Donut Hole is quite appealing. There is one downside to this; sound echoes quite a bit making it difficult to hear. At least for me.

Perhaps the most intriguing item on the menu is a bit of local cuisine called Tomato Gravy. To this good Midwestern boy the words Tomato and Gravy sound like two concepts that should not be mixed. It sounds straight up weird causing my head to do the quizzical dog head tilt. One of our brave number actually tried the Tomato Gravy with biscuits. Her view was that it tastes like a thick, floury, tomato soup. While I did not try it, it feels unappetizing.

(Megan) {Hello Humans of Panclog!  Wifey here. I am the adventurous soul that ordered the ill-advised Biscuits and Tomato Gravy.  First of all, I ordered the half order, which consisted of one biscuit and a 8oz-ish bowl of tomato gravy.  The size of the order was enough to solidify that I never want to order that again.  When I travel, it brings me much joy to try the local “flavor” and the waitress stressed that tomato gravy is very Floridean, so I tried it.  I won’t disparage other people’s life choices, but tomato gravy is not for me.  It tasted like tomato soup blended with country gravy, which I found distasteful.  The biscuit, however, was moist and fluffy.  Wifey out}

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I ordered the facetiously named “Diet Plate”. The dish was very similar to the Country Benedict at Big Biscuit. The plate begins with a very large biscuit split and stacked with a mess of scrambled eggs and two sausage patties. They are sure to cover everything in sausage gravy. On the side is a pile of hash browns.
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The side of hash browns were quite tasty. I am a huge fan. There was not a need to add any additional seasoning and their flavor came across as quite peppery. Having not to add additional seasoning to the side potatoes on a breakfast plate is pleasing. I appreciate the chef who does it just right.

Unfortunately, the “Diet Plate” was not any better than what Big Biscuit produces. It was not bad by any stretch of the imagination, it just did not shine overtop of any other breakfast place. If I lived in Florida, The Donut Hole would enter the regular rotation of breakfast places that I would visit. I enjoyed the meal but I did not want to buy the shirt.

Sadly, neither did Jared.

Now for a bit of total honesty. We went to a restaurant called The Donut Hole, and yet we did not purchase a donut. I do feel a little ashamed about this turn of events.

(Vesta) Hey there Panclog fans!! This is the other blushing bride. The Donut Hole was a clean, bright, and airy establishment with the donut shop and a restuarant area. There were several seating options for large and small groups. It was apparent it is a popular choice for visitors in the area (not sure about the locals.)

For my selection at the Donut Hole, I chose the Gulf Coast Crabmeat Benedict, and coffee. The coffee was pretty good, and the waitress was frequently back for refills. My meal consisted of poached eggs with two crab cakes atop a lightly toasted split English muffin and toppped with Hollandaise sauce, served with a side of hashbrowns seasoned with garlic and onion. The hashbrowns were seasoned and cooked well. There was a pleasing amount of crab meat in the crabcakes and they had a good flavor, but they were a bit too moist for my liking. I think a bit more crunchy texture would have been good.  Over all, I would definitely eat here again given the chance.  I did get the chance to recommend the Donut Hole to some friends who also visited the Gulf Coast area. They were pleased with the donut selection.

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(Jared) I grew up not loving Florida.  All I knew about Florida was negative things that I learned from the hilariously sad Florida Man meme.  Brent wanted to make Florida better for me.  I feel incredibly honored to be invited on this lovely vacation.

Due to the weekly breakfast obsession that Brent and I have developed it was not terribly difficult to talk the Morgan’s into going out for breakfast at least once during the trip.  Thankfully I was blessed with not one but two breakfast stops.  Once you have everyone on the trip trained to spot and announce possible breakfast spots, you will have a much happier life.  The wives went to grab groceries and not only came back with food for the week but also a strong contender for a Panclog spot.

That spot turned out to be The Donut Hole. The Donut Hole was at the end of 30A, the scenic highway that connects the beach peninsula to the regular old panhandle highways. We decided to walk to breakfast. It was about a 20ish minute walk. This was such a lovely walk in the morning. It was not too hot, nor too cold.  This walk allowed me to make the mistake that I have made countless times. Which mistake? The one where I say that since I “exercised” I can eat everyone’s leftovers.  Someone once wrote “Never Change” in my yearbook.  I won’t change, Vaughn! No Worries!

The Donut Hole was an adorable vacationers get-away.  They had all of the fun things that families can do while waiting for a table to open up. They had cornhole and an outdoor ping-pong table.  I will say because we went on a Wednesday before 9 AM there was no wait. When walking in, you are allowed to order donuts and pies and leave or you are invited to sit and order from a full-order kitchen. We chose the latter.  They had a pretty standard menu for a breakfast joint but with a couple regional specialties, of course.

I got the Texas Sweet Potato Pancakes and coffee.

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The Sweet Potato Pancakes came with a pecan-molasses-brown sugar sauce. You would think that these pancakes would come out more orange-y.  I thought that too.  These cakes seemed to only have the sub-flavor of sweet potatoes.  This was somewhat a let down.  I expected something with a fuller darker flavor.  The sauce was a good accent to the pancake symphony.   The sauce was neither too sweet nor rich.  It was a good median.  It was a good substitute to syrup.  The cakes were $7.95.  This is good pricing for a tourism town that tends to steal money with the traditional Disney World pricing.

Grades:
Brent: Overall, The Donut Hole earns 3.5 stars out of five.
Jared: I would give this shop a C++! Pretty cool, right, my coders?
The second eatery we singled out for breakfast caught us both out of the corner of our eye. We were headed back to the rental and passed by a strip mall. Proudly situated in the middle of that strip mall sat an aptly named restaurant called, The Pancakery. Plans to try this place immediately occurred upon its discovery.

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It is probably painfully obvious given the name, but in case you missed it, this place specializes in pancakes. The menu is loaded with many different kinds of cakes, toppings, syrups, jellies, and anything else you can imagine placing on a pancake. In my case, I elected to go with The Big Apple Pancakes.

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The picture does not quite do it justice, but the pancakes are huge. Which inspires the following dialog:
DINER: How big are your pancakes?
SERVER: Umm, if you look at the table over there you will get an idea.
DINER: Good grief, those are bigger than the tires on my Camry. If you finish the cake, do you win a contest?
SERVER: Would you prefer the contest flapjack? It is the size of a tablecloth; but if you finish it in ten minutes, the meal is free.
DINER: I think I will pass.
This may be sacrilegious to some of our readers, but I believe that the size of pancakes is getting out of hand. Is it truly necessary to have a pancake so large that you could paper a wall with it? Gone are the days of a 3 to 4 stack of 6-inch diameter flapjacks. A stack of cakes requires more skill and closer involvement with your breakfast to ensure even butter distribution along with the pancakes’ other accouterments. Finishing a stack, leads to greater satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment. I implore breakfast eateries to pursue a vertical presentation rather than a horizontal one.
Another consequence of oversized pancakes is that to serve a normal breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon or sausage, requires a multitude of plates. It seems that most breakfast places want to serve each individual item on its own plate. “I’m feeling a bit peckish today, so I will have the 9-plate special.” I tend to lose sight of my breakfast buddies behind a mountain of dishes when the meal is served.
The pancakes at The Pancakery are quite tasty; however, they feel a bit dense. The flapjacks could use some additional leavening agents to pump some air in them. My preference is to have a cake that is lighter and fluffier, one that bonds with the butter and toppings better. It might be my imagination but I thought I caught a slight hint of vanilla in the batter, which added a nice dimension to the dish.
As noted before I had the Big Apple Pancakes, which came with apples on top. It normally comes with whipped cream as well, but I opted to forego that this time. Sadly, the apple topping was a disappointment, as it tasted like prepackaged apple pie filling. Which I like, but I was hoping it would have been fresh apples sautéed in butter with cinnamon and sugar. I would certainly order this item again but I will feel slightly wanting.
Like The Donut Hole, The Pancakery easily enters the regular rotation of eateries if it happened to be closer to home. My next time I am driving along highway 30A I will be sure to stop by.

(Jared) The Pancakery is one of many well named breakfast spots that I have had come across on my various vacations.  The first being The Pancake Man in Cape Cod, MA, Wildberry Pancakes in Chicago, IL, International House of Pancakes in everywhere, USA, and the most recent being The Pancakery. I think a clever name is one of the most important parts of having a successful breakfast destination. The Pancakery first opened in Destin, FL and then heard that the Morgan-Sova clan was visiting Florida.  This caused them to hurry up and open a Pancakery closer to where we were staying.  The Panama City Beach location was open less than 2 months when we visited.

Check out their breakfast menu and feel the special part of your stomach that was built for breakfast start to growl.  I decided to enjoy The Destinite.  This pancake platter was declared as their favorite combination of strawberries, bananas, and chocolate.  They also advertised that it was cooked into the cakes.  I think that last statement is the most important in terms of wow-ing or disappointing me.
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Check those cakes out.  Oh you are distracted by me? Sorry let me fix that.
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Look at that messy yet artful meal.  After my first bite, I realized that the menu was not lying. The Pancakery took the small but vital step of tossing some of the toppings into the batter when cooking these flapjacks up.  It is so impressive when a breakfast spot doesn’t simply throw a some blueberries on the top of pancakes and calls them “Blueberry Pancakes.” Sorry that isn’t a blueberry pancake. That would be a pancake with blueberries.  Yeah I take my pancakes and the naming of their dishes very serious.

I would agree with my fellow pancloggers that these cakes are very thick.  It was pretty interesting that butter was not brought out for any of the cakes on the table, it was only offered.  Not complaining, only noting. I will also say that I am not the biggest chocolate fan.  I still ate well more of the cakes than I should have. But the chocolate chips overwhelm the strawberries and bananas.

These cakes were delicious. I would recommend bringing a friend and splitting this pancake platter.  Oh my goodness. How great of a first date idea is this? Answer: Perfect date plan.  Bring a pretty person and share some delicious pancakes with them.  If they don’t like pancakes, just walk out.

We enjoyed The Pancakery on our way out of town.  I may not suggest eating huge pancakes before driving 8 hours. But, I would absolutely try all of The Pancakery’s pancake varieties if I lived near either location.

(Vesta) This is Brent’s wife again…As you have been told by now, the second restaurant we visited was the Pancakery. This was a new establishment, which opened March 2nd of this year.  Pancakes were certainly the focus of this place, with many options for toppings or inclusions. Omelettes were on the menu if pancakes aren’t you thing.

I ordered the Healthy Choice pancakes. These were whole grain cakes with fresh strawberries and blueberries cooked in the cakes and fresh berries served on top. They were tasty, but VERY large. They did have a variety of sizes of pancakes, but all were large–the order of sand dollar pancakes included 6 cakes about 7″ in diameter. You should not be hungry when you leave this place. The coffee was so-so, and the wait staff
could have done a better job of stopping by for refills, but all in all, it was a decent place.

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An interesting observation we made while visiting, you’ll probably need to ask for a spoon.

One thing you should note–the Pancakery is across the street from David’s sno-ball (New Orleans style sno-balls) I recommend going here if you have the chance and ordering a stuffed sno-ball. These are like the traditional snow cones, but they have your choice of soft serve ice cream inside, a tasty adaptation.

Grades:
Brent: The Pancakery – 3.25 stars out of five. Like The Donut Hole, we did not feel compelled to get the shirt.
Jared: I am giving The Pancakery a grade of B.  Not amazing, but definitely in the rotation when in the panhandle of Florida.

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #32: Perkins Restaurant & Bakery

Palin’ Around at Perkins

3/14/2017

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This is the March-iest Panclog since our fantastic and controversial review of John’s Space Age Donuts.  It was pretty epic.  I assure you that this edition is going to be tasteful and elegant.  If you don’t think so, the Panclog Pals recommend you watch a  couple episodes of Masha & The Bear in its original Russian.  This will calm you down and make you happy. Enjoy today’s Panclog review of Perkin’s Restaurant & Bakery.

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery is a chain restaurant that specializes in tasty pies and greasy (in a good way) food.  We went to the Perkins at 87th Street and I-35 in Overland Park, KS.  This location is open 6 AM – 12 AM Sunday through Thursday and open all 24 hours on Friday and Saturday. Check out their website to find a location near you.

Location/Environment: The environment is cultivated, like many other chains, in a style that promotes continuity between locations.  The first thing you see when walking in is a tantalizing baked goods section. This comes into play later. Keep your eyes peeled. The environment is one that is warm with wood – paneling, booths and checkout counter all be-decked in a light stained oak.  The location of this Perkins is perfect for people getting together.  It is right off the highway and has ample parking.

Service: The service at this Perkins is everything you want from a chain restaurant.  Our server not only gave us recommendations, but also kept our coffee full at all times.  Coffee being full is the key to being an awesome server.

Wait time for food: 5 minutes

Menu/Selection: Perkins specializes in American cuisine.  They are known for their baked goods that they hawk at the front counter.  The Peanut Butter Silk pie is something that every  human deserves.  Buy one for your favorite Panclog writer.  The menu offered by the restaurant is quite large with many options, with breakfast getting a couple of dedicated pages. The devotion to breakfast is much appreciated. The breakfast choices are typical, including various styles of pancakes, French toast, eggs, and assorted breakfast meats. Perkins does have a wide assortment of muffins served warm and tasty.  Perkins is in the midst of a push to get late night diners. Check out these specials.

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Check that out! All you can eat pancakes! Half priced pie! Perkins knows what those late night diners want. You can always find something you will want to put in your mouth. Read their extensive menu here.

Food:

Big Country Smasher (Jared)

 

Breakfast is not just for when you wake up.

My mother, the saintly Shari, once told me of the mythical “California Menu.”  This means that whatever is on the menu is available all day.  I believe this is the reason why famous people and fancy technological people (techies) live in California.  If you can get breakfast at any restaurant then you are 83% more likely to live a happy and successful life.*

*I made this statistic up.  But try to disprove it!

This dreamy California menu brings me to restaurants that serve breakfast all day long: IHOP, Denny’s, Steak & Shake and Perkins. Ask me what I want for dinner and I’ll tell you it’s gonna be BRINNER!  Breakfast for dinner is the king of meals. It feels wrong but I assure you it is so right.

Song obsession of this clog: Beacon Hill by Damien Jurado. Enjoy.

I would have to say that Perkins has not done themselves proud in the marketing department, as that I don’t believe they have definitively declared themselves as a breakfast-focused restaurant.  And without this clear focus, many diners may perceive Perkins as a place of ill-repute.  Not all chains are bad. Not all Mom & Pop shops are amazing.  I give you a recommendation to make your life better.  Try all the breakfast places and then decide which ones are bad.  The bad ones you don’t have to go anymore.  But here is an even better recommendations, if you hear about a breakfast spot that you don’t know is good or not. Send it on over to us on twitter. We will give you the sweet hookup on whether or not its worth your time.

Let’s get a good look at my meal that is interestingly named The Big Country Smasher.
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Looks interesting, am I right? Let’s break down what is inside this dish. The crust is smashed up tater tots (I have a hunch that this gives it its name.) These tots are the salty greasy foundation of a well-balanced breakfast.  Next we have not 1, not 2, but 3,  the holy trinity of breakfast meats, ham, sausage, and bacon. Can you go wrong with throwing all of the breakfast meats into a breakfast dish?  That is a rhetorical question. On top of that meat, an egg that is cooked to your liking.  I chose over-easy because I love making a mess.  Then we add the warm comforter that is sausage gravy. Then garnish with some freshly shredded cheddar cheese.  Yep all of that in a bowl.  It is something to take in.  I’ll admit that, though this dish isn’t the prettiest, it hits the spot.

If you didn’t know, Perkins is known for their baked goods. If you go to a restaurant and they say that they are known for something, a good plan is to always try that something. Brent and I tried the blueberry muffin at the behest of our server.  Here is a picture!

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Yep, it was that good.  It was so good that Brent thought about eating the wrapper.  I would say this muffin was more cake-y than other muffins I have had. Some people butter their muffins.  This muffin was so fluffy and flavorful, the butter was unnecessary. Even better about this muffin is that it was a cheaper add-on because I had one of the Perkins specials.

Perkins is a good breakfast spot.  I would not say it is great, but it definitely should be added to everyone’s rotation.  If you don’t have a rotation of breakfast spots, hit me up and we will start getting that morning grub on.

Coffee: $2.29
Big Country Smasher: $9.29
Blueberry Muffin: $0.99


French Toast Breakfast (Brent)

 

A Perkins Panclog makes for a nice alliteration. It is not often when we get to play games with language while celebrating one of the few joys in life, breakfast. I recall mentioning that we were going to Panclog Perkins to my spouse and her response was incredulous, “Really, that place?” I am not sure my darling wife feels that Perkins is Panclog worthy. Sure, it is a national chain, and sure, it is not at the top of our list of restaurants, but we at the Panclog are equal opportunity breakfasters.

Perkins is exactly what you would expect it to be. A restaurant in the same vein as Shoney’s, Bob Evans, and, to some degree, Crackle Barrel. On long road trips, I like to stop at these types of restaurants to stretch my legs and grab a decent meal. Usually these establishments are clean and pleasant with staff who are kind and friendly. The Perkins that Jared proposed we patronize is no different from what you would expect and is inviting and warm. Albeit the restaurant was relatively empty for its size when we arrived at seven in the morning. We have been to this particular Perkins a couple times and it has wanted for customers each time.

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Jared was kind enough to purchase a blueberry muffin as an appetizer for our breakfast and shared it with me. Rather than slice the pastry in half like untrusting acquaintances, we shared it in a fashion that was more akin to Lady and the Tramp. There is nothing awkward about two grown men sharing an unadorned cupcake in this fashion. Get out there with your best buddy and go for it.

On a side note, how brilliant is having an appetizer before your breakfast actually starts. The depth of wisdom shared by the Panclog team is remarkable. The Breakfast Buddies should begin getting dessert as well. I wonder what breakfast ice cream would be like. Perhaps just vanilla ice cream with some crispy rice cereal thrown on it. Maybe a maple-flavored cheesecake with a crust made of grape nuts. I could go for an apple pie filling pastry pocket (wait, isn’t that already a thing?). We often say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is time that we treated it as such, and make it a multicourse experience.

For this particular Panclog I opted for the French toast breakfast with a side of scrambled eggs and sausage links.

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Just a simple basic breakfast really, which was kind of what I was in the mood for anyway. The toast was cooked well with a satisfying crust on the edges and not too soggy in the middle. Sadly, there was not enough butter provided in my opinion. A breakfast place that brought out a butter-filled ramekin on the side would win me over in a heartbeat. Just to sound more fussy and entitled, a powdered sugar shaker placed on the side with be terrific too. That way you could get a nice pool of melted butter on the French toast and sprinkle enough powdered sugar on the top to make a nice glaze. This, my friends, pushes French toast to its highest heights.

The eggs and sausage were good, but nothing that would generate a lot of excitement. Overall, that is what you could probably say about Perkins in general. The restaurant is good and you will not leave disappointed, but I do not see it revving anyone’s engines. Some mornings that is exactly what you need. Thus, I would recommend going to Perkins and putting the establishment in the normal cycle, but I would not suggest that you choose it above some other places. If you had to choose between the Big Biscuit here in KC or Perkins, head on over to the Big B. However, if you are heading on a long trip out of town and you are looking for something that is consistent and friendly then pop on in to Perkins. Perkins will fulfill those expectations.

French toast breakfast – $8.29

Coffee – $2.29

Overall: Perkins has earned the right to be visited on a regular basis.  Try it and tell us what you think.

Grade:

Brent – Perkins earns 3.25 stars out of five.

Jared – C++ or B– Both of these are now real grades.  Its better than average and worse than great.

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

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Panclog #31: Tortilla Ranch

Rockin’ at the Ranch
1/25/2017
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Good day to everyone who is laying eyes on this fine blog.   Also to those of you are lucky enough to have a pretty person reading this to you. Audio-book style. Thank that reader with a gift like a bouquet of dandelions.  But before you go out to look for sub-par foliage in the middle of winter, you should probably wait until you’ve finished reading about our breakfast adventures at Tortilla Ranch.

Tortilla Ranch is a Mexican restaurant located at College Blvd and Antioch Road. They are open from 7 AM to 9 PM. But on Friday and Saturday you get an extra hour to dine because they close at 10 PM!! Don’t try to go there on Sundays, as they are closed.   Be nice and check out their website.

Location/Environment: The environment in the restaurant is nice. The chairs are straightbacked and wooden, and as such, can grow uncomfortable after a bit of time. The breakfast buddies do tend to overstay their welcome at restaurants. The wooden motif creates a warm atmosphere in the restaurant.  Tortilla Ranch is also located less than 3 minutes away from Brent and Jared’s jobs, respectively.

Service: The service at Tortilla Ranch was standard for the order-first sit-later style that is becoming popular in fast-casual restaurants.  Our cashier was very friendly and happily gave us water cups when we forgot to ask for them.

ait time for food: 4 minutes.

Menu/Selection: Tortilla Ranch tried to be as authentic Mexican food as can be.  They have a fairly small menu.  Smaller menus usually show that the restaurant is very proud of these items and do not want to stretch too thin to make a product that does not live up to the other items.  We were able to witness the staff prepping all of the produce for lunch service.  This shows me that they use product that is fresh.  Much appreciated. The breakfast menu on the website does not include everything that they offer.

Food:

Breakfast Bowl (Brent)

Your intrepid cloggers have opted to venture off the beaten path of traditional breakfast places opting to breakfast at what I consider a good burrito lunch destination, Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill. I have been to this fine establishment a few times for lunch but never realized TR served breakfast. Needless to say I was surprised to hear this restaurant suggested for breakfast by Jared.

Meeting at our usual time of 7 am, we walked into the nicely decorated restaurant and perused the menu. Lunch type items with the addition of eggs filled the menu thus making them all the options,”breakfasty”. Not necessarily a bad thing. I ordered a breakfast bowl filled with chorizo, potatoes, eggs, cheese, pico, and avocado. There were some onions in there too I think.

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Looks lovely does it not.
This combination of flavors is quite good, but powerful. In all honesty, the dish was overwhelming as a breakfast option. I guess I prefer to ease slowly into my day. If I had this for lunch, I would have enjoyed it a great deal.

Nonetheless, the potatoes were tender but retained their texture; seasoned well if not a bit salty. The chorizo in the dish is also good. The remaining ingredients, like the pico, avocado, etc. are fresh, tasty, and well portioned. The downside, as noted earlier, is that there is a lot going on in this dish and it does not offer a place to relax. As each bite mounts, so does the intensity of the experiencing. The dish is not spicy hot; it just has many flavors that add up. To compensate, one must drink a copious amount of water or coffee to get the palate cleansed.

The coffee is good and inexpensive, just a dollar, if you buy a breakfast item.

While I would not recommend going to breakfast at Tortilla Ranch, I do highly recommend going there for lunch and/or dinner. The freshness of the ingredients, the care to which they prepare those ingredients, and the simple combinations assembled for their dishes is noteworthy. The next time someone wants to buy my lunch, an open invitation, I will be sure to steer them in that direction.

Breakfast Enchiladas (Jared)

Breakfast is the king of meals. Would you disagree? If you do, I am quite shocked that you are reading this fine award-winning blog.  My wife said this was a good blog.  That is an award. She has a BA in English! So, she can award people awards.  Because breakfast is king, restaurants have been trying to sneak other foods into the breakfast category.  Some are very successful. I.e. Pizza, Burritos, sandwiches. Some foods just don’t go over very well like porridge, soup, and perhaps even enchiladas.

If that doesn’t tell you what I tried at Tortilla Ranch, maybe a picture will help.
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Now that looks like a great picture.  I have been striving to become the Ansel Adams of food photography.  I prefer natural light and a subject that will be in my stomach soon after the photo is taken.

Take a journey with me through some of the people and things that tried to go outside of the box and did not succeed, Michael Jordan as a baseball player, Pop Tarts in Crush Orange Soda flavor, Watermelon Oreos, Vince McMahon as Owner of the XFL, and now enchiladas as a breakfast food.

I am not saying these enchiladas are not good.  I am simply pointing out that they were too strong for me to fully enjoy in the 7 o’clock hour. In fact, this enchilada would be incredible for lunch or dinner. Another thing I really enjoy but not at 7 AM:  beer.  Check out Brent and me in our other article series, Thirsty Thursday.  We talk about a famous person we want to have a beer with and then pair a beer that we think they would enjoy.  It is almost award winning.  Megan, please give us another award.  We work fairly hard.

Tortilla Ranch’s coffee is only $1 when you get a breakfast item.  I truly enjoy this incentive pricing.  I believe that more restaurants should do this.  As Brent calls it, “Coffee is just dirty water.” So come on down on the price.  If you can get away with it, please try adding horchata to your coffee as a fancy creamer.  It adds some lovely sweetness to your coffee time.

I will absolutely be visiting Tortilla Ranch for lunch or dinner for some authentic fresh Mexican food.  I suggest you do the same.

Breakfast Enchiladas: $6.95
Coffee: $1.00

Overall: Tortilla Ranch may be a pass for breakfast, but we both strongly suggest them for any other meal.  The fast-casual type of ordering will allow you to get some authentic Mexican cuisine for a quick lunch.

Grade:
Brent –
 Overall, I would give Tortilla Ranch Mexican Grill 1.5 stars out of five for breakfast, which bums me out. However, concerning lunch or dinner, let us make that 3.5 out of five stars.

Jared – D+ for breakfast. It would definitely be higher if I could get this breakfast enhcilada for lunch or dinner.

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

 

Panclog #30: McLain’s Market

Update 1/25/17: We recently visited McLain’s Market again, and we are proud to announce that the foul odor has disappeared.  We wholeheartedly recommend McLain’s.  Go on, child. Eat good food.

Munching at McLain’s
11/29/2016

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McLain’s Market is the sister store of McLain’s Bakery in Waldo. McLain’s Market is located on the Northeast corner of 435 and Roe Avenue. McLain’s Market is less than 2 months old.  They opened on October 11th, 2016. You can check out their website if you like. They are open for breakfast, lunch and light dinners.

Location/Environment: McLain’s is across the street from a Quiktrip where a Shell gas station once stood. McLain’s is very easy to get to thanks for them being right off the highway.  McLain’s is what you would call country-urban.  It is decorated in a chic but home-y fashion.

Service: McLain’s Market is a order-first sit-later establishment.  We had a small group of people in front of us, this provided the perfect duration of time to peruse the menu and make a decision.  The coffee was served from their espresso machine area.  This could cause a wait if the barista is busy making orders. All workers in the bakery area and cash registers had chipper attitudes.

Wait time for food: 7 minutes

Menu/Selection: McLain’s Market is not just a breakfast spot.  They are also open for lunch, and afternoon appetizers.  Did you also catch that this place is a bakery?  That means they have delicious sweets and desserts, too.  McLain’s also serves beer and wine. It looks like a wonderful place to get together with an old friend and share some pastries while sipping on some wine.  McLain’s has been kind enough to publish their menu on their website.

Food:

Market Bowl and Almond Croissant (Jared)

Mornings are simply better when you are able to share it with good people over good food.  Seriously is there anything better than coffee conversations? Well maybe a conversation over a nice beer. Oh that reminds me! Go read the interesting series of Thirsty Thursday posts.  Read them with a chilled pint of Milwaukee’s Best! Click here for beer reading material!

Walking into McLain’s Market feels great. Why you ask? Well I’ll tell you why, this place is aesthetically pleasing to both the eyes and both the nostrils.  They have some of the cutest décor that you will find west of the Mississippi.  You know those east-of-the-Mississippi people have some incredible decorating skills.  We can all agree on that. And that nostril thing?  It is not as gross as it sounds.  McLain’s is a bakery. That means they bake stuff. Baked goods smell incredible. I rest my aesthetically-pleasing case.

When waiting in line for the cash register, McLain’s brilliantly surrounds the customer with freshly baked goods.  This is my favorite type of entrapment.  They show you tasty things when you already hungry.  It worked.  I bought that almond croissant to prove to McLain’s that they have a good sales technique.

Let’s talk about this Market Bowl. When I read the description of chorizo verde, scrambled eggs, avocado, and potatoes.  I screamed, “TAKE MY MONEY!” They graciously accepted my payment. When I received my bowl of goodness, I was slightly confused.  For some reason, I was expecting an omelette or a scramble of sorts.  This was not a bad realization at all.  Just a surprise.  The layering of foods allowed me to choose the flavor combinations myself.  Bowls are hot right now.  Being able to hold your food and eat it makes people happier. That is a fact. I heard it on the radio.

The green chorizo was everything you want in chorizo.  It is sliced a little larger than I have seen it before.  The spice level of this chorizo was perfect.  Spicy enough to make you rethink all of your life’s decisions but not spicy enough to make you do anything different. I usually don’t like onions and peppers in my food, but when hidden inside this bowl, I guess they are fine.

The almond croissant is flaky and gooey.  It will fit perfectly in your stomach where the sweets go.  I want more.  I believe I will be going back this week just to get more pastries.  I have a sweet tooth that needs to be satisfied by more goodies from McLain’s.

I must say when Brent and I visited this fine establishment, we were struck by the scent of natural gas.  I stated that it was something like “butt smell.”  I am at the assumption that this was a one time event. We will find out next time I check it out.

Large Coffee: $1.99
Market Bowl: $6.50
Almond Croissant: $3.00

Pepper Jack Burrito (Brent)

McLain’s Market is a newly opened bakery/breakfast place that the Panclog crew recently visited. Located on the corner of Roe and 107th St in Overland Park, KS, McLain’s repurposed an old gas station on the site to build out their restaurant. They recycled a building, and for that they are heroes.

The work that the McLain’s team has done to remodel the building is terrific. The outside and inside stylings complement each other quite well. There is a lot of exposed wood and steel throughout the décor, with some old west style accents (maybe?). I am not an interior decorator so my best guess for style is Urban Country. You would be better off checking it out for yourself at your nearest opportunity.

Let’s pause and look at a nice picture.
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Ordering is a simple process: check the overhead board, make some decisions, walk to the counter, place your order, pay some money, and you’re done. Back in the inner workings of McLain’s your breakfast is prepared and will be delivered to you. Or at least they will yell out your name so you can go grab it. If you bring a Jared, there is a good chance he will jump up and get your food for you. He’s nice like that.

I apologize for the momentary lapse in writing. I took a moment to look at the nice picture again. I should probably remove the picture as she is very distracting.

Back to McLain’s. The food appeared very fast. As I wasn’t feeling 100% that day I looked for something that would be relatively small, but I also wanted to find something that was representative of a full breakfast. Enter the breakfast burrito. Specifically, McClain’s Pepper Jack Burrito.
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As a brief aside. When I get creamed by a bus and go to heaven, I would like to meet the inventor of the burrito and give that person a hug. A hug so long that it is almost inappropriate and awkward. I would like the inventor, whomever she or he may be, to know that I truly appreciated their invention and look forward to burritos throughout eternity.
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The burrito is similar to most other breakfast burritos in that it contains eggs, another protein, cheese and seasonings. In this particular case, McLain’s includes sausage, eggs, pepper jack cheese, red potatoes, and serrano sauce. In my opinion, the eggs of a breakfast burrito are the most important part to get right. The eggs need to provide a firm base to support all of the other flavors, but should not be the main event. Runny or stiff eggs have a tendency to ruin the experience (if you would like to experience runny/stiff eggs I would send you to my office cafeteria). If you would like to experience eggs done properly, I would send you to McLain’s.

The potatoes in the burrito provide a very nice additional texture to the dish. The potatoes themselves are seasoned well and properly cooked. They are tender to the tooth but are not mushy or grainy. They help support the eggs in their job of providing a background for the more flavorful components.

The other ingredients provided quite a kick. I assume the sausage is regular pork sausage and it is quite good, although there could have been a little more. The pepper jack and the serrano sauce were also flavorful and added a bit of heat to the burrito. I would imagine that many folks might consider it extremely spicy, but I felt it had just enough heat. The spice made for an adventurous breakfast. Paired with hot coffee you will want to have another beverage at the ready. Something like orange juice and/or water, which is what I did.

I would be remiss though in not mentioning that the restaurant had a strange odor. To me it seemed like a residual fragrance from the gas station; Jared had a more colorful description for it (See butt smell above). The staff suggested that it was something odd about that morning, so we must head back sometime soon to check it out.

Pepper Jack Burrito – $6.60

Overall: McLain’s is an excellent place to grab a breakfast. The seating was a little uncomfortable for our long breakfast sessions, but that shouldn’t be an issue for most. Especially if you are in a rush. The staff is friendly and quick to help. McLain’s has the type of atmosphere that puts you in a good mood.  If the strange odor was a one time problem, McLain’s could become a mainstay in anybody’s breakfast rotation.

Grade:
Brent –
McLain’s has my hearty recommendation, 3 out of 5 stars. If the odor disappears on our next visit I will give them 3.5 to 4 stars

Jared – McLain’s has the stuff to be great. I will have to give it a C+ if the odor persists.  Possibly an A- if we went at a bad time.

Expect an update from us soon!

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

 

 

 

Panclog #29: Wooden Spoon

Spooning at the Spoon

October 21st, 2016

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The Wooden Spoon is a family-owned breakfast-lunch spot across the street from Johnson County Community College.  It does not have any website, but a simple Facebook page.

Location/Environment:  The Wooden Spoon is a quaint little restaurant on the corner of College Blvd. and Quivira in Overland Park, KS. When I say little, I mean it. The dining area is tightly packed with 8 or 9 different tables that makes it a bit of a challenge to maneuver around. The décor is nothing to get excited about either. What you can expect is good food and a delightful staff. The door opens promptly at 7.

Service:  Perhaps the best feature of The Wooden Spoon is how easy it is to sit back and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. A Panclog breakfast typically lasts a couple of hours and we can sometimes feel the desire of the staff to flip the table for a waiting customer. I can easily say the staff at the Spoon doesn’t seem to mind. The staff seems as interested as we are in having a leisurely morning and enjoying the time as it slowly ticks away.

Wait time for food: 15 minutes

Menu/Selection: The menu at The Wooden Spoon isn’t as extensive as many other places, but, what they do have they do well.  Prices are also quite reasonable.

Food: 

Egg Croissant Sandwich & Single Hash Brown Casserole (Brentley)

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I have recently settled on the Egg Croissant Sandwich the past few times we have been there. The sandwich comes with scrambled eggs, your choice of bacon or sausage, and cheddar cheese. I am sure you can order your egg cooked differently should you desire it. It may sound sacrilegious to order sausage over bacon, but that is what I prefer. I feel that the larger piece of sausage balances with the eggs better. To top it all off you get a toasted, buttery croissant to act as the bread for the sandwich.

I love croissants, they are one of my favorite pastries. The downside to a croissant is that they can be dusty, leaving crumbs everywhere.  When toasted, the outer layers become much more brittle increasing the crumb to shirt ratio.

Like I said, the sandwich is terrific, although I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that a couple of times the edges of the croissant have been burned. Not a big deal to me, but it is something to be aware of.

The Wooden Spoon also offers a Hash Brown Casserole that can be ordered as a side. The casserole is offered in two configurations: meat and vegetarian. I have not had the vegetarian so I cannot comment on what it is like. However, the meat version of the casserole has bits of bacon and sausage in it which significantly impacts the flavor of the dish. The casserole is always served steaming hot, so tread carefully when your food is delivered.

The coffee is simple and good, with a very large pot sitting next to the cash register. None of the employees seem to mind if you get up and refill your cup yourself. Which is just as nice as having a carafe of coffee at the table. Being able to have consistent access to coffee makes it much easier to sit back and relax with your breakfast buddies.

Egg Croissant Sandwich with Sausage and Cheddar – $4.99

Single Hash Brown Casserole with Meat – $3.99

Coffee – $1.99

Double Burrito and Single Hash Brown Casserole  (Jared)

 

A wooden spoon is something every kitchen should have. If your wooden spoon isn’t slightly burnt from leaving it in the mac & cheese pan, then you aren’t living right.

The Wooden Spoon is a place that you are almost guaranteed to see the same patrons every time you go. This is a great sign when searching for a family-style restaurant environment that makes you feel at home.  The owner/operators are a lovely couple that open the store every morning.  I have been able to enjoy many of the options on the menu, from the egg bacon panwich to the sometimes special french toast.

I am always shocked at how short the menu is.  I have been bombarded with novel-sized menus as of late.  Have you ever been to the Cheesecake Factory? That menu would take days to read if you are as slow at reading as I.

Breakfast burritos have recently been classified, by myself, as heavenly.  Which means  God has claimed the breakfast burrito as his own special breakfast item.  Is anything better than the lovely carb-laden tortilla wrapped around warm eggs, sausage, and pico de gallo? Sorry, the answer is a hearty no.  Wooden Spoon’s burritos come split in half. This simple cut brings these burritos into a special club of foods that come in pairs and need to be savored.  Oh who is in that club you ask? Maybe you have heard of a couple of them. Reese’s PB Cups? Yeah. Swiss Cake Rolls? Yep. Nutty Buddies? Oh yeah.  Oh wait, these are all sweets.  I mean of course they are sweets. Which means, um, that they need to be savored.  Yeah.  That is what I am saying about these burritos.  You should know that the breakfast burritos come dry and then you add the salsa of your choosing to give some moisture.  Very very tasty.

Let’s start talking about casseroles.  Casseroles sound like something your 84 year old grandmother is going to “slip into the oven for you kids.”  Yeah not too appetizing.  They also make me think of the name Cassie.  I knew a girl named Cassie once.  I am almost certain that her full name was Cassandra. But wouldn’t you like her more if her full name was Casserole? Maybe her parents fell in love over a casserole at their favorite granny-ran diner.  I think more people need to be named after their parents favorite food.  I am naming my third child Cereal Sova.  How amazing would that be?  That kid is going to be a great person.

The hash brown casserole at The Wooden Spoon is something that will attempt to change your perception of casseroles.  It is full of cheese, breadcrumbs, meat and hash browns.  The hash browns, although finished in an oven or salamander, still have the greasy taste of the griddle.  Although the casseroles may come out a little dry, a little salsa or hot sauce will bring the cassie to life.

Double Burrito: $5.49
Single Hash Brown Casserole: $3.49
Coffee: $1.49

Overall: All in all, I am happy that it is one of our regular haunts and look forward to dining there many times again. You all should come and join us there some time.

Grade: 

Jared: I do declare that The Wooden Spoon will receive a B- grade

Brent: I give The Wooden Spoon 4 out of 5 stars.

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can follow Jared and Brent on Twitter.

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