Name me one person who doesn't occasionally long to wake up, slowly, and amble out to the kitchen for a pancake. But not all of us are blessed with a significant other with serious pancake-making skills. Fortunately, you can find some stellar examples at restaurants around town that are ready to welcome sleepy heads. Add a good cup of coffee and it's not so bad waking up to the world. American comfort food at its best.
For Cooks County's weekend brunch, baker extraordinaire Roxana Jullapat makes a fantastic buttermilk pancake. Very plain, it's not much too look at, but boy does this one deliver. Baked to order in a cast iron skillet, it's, oh, 10 inches wide and a good inch thick, and light and fluffy. It's served with a dark fuchsia blueberry compote (like all Jullapat's desserts, notably not too sweet) and, if you like, bourbon-barrel maple syrup. And not to forget her exemplary basket of morning pastries, including a pecan sticky bun and ginger scone. Like her mentor, Nancy Silverton, Jullapat has the touch with doughs.
8009 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 653-8009. Baked pancake, $11.
Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections first won our hearts with her chocolate-dipped toffees. And now she's expanded with a cafe in downtown's Grand Central Market. Weekdays she serves breakfast and lunch, but on Saturdays, you can order her silver dollar pancakes. "They're a little homage to Sears Fine Food in San Francisco, and I always make little pancakes at home for our kids," says Gordon. They're adorable golden rounds, a dozen to an order, and served with a maple syrup compound butter. If pancakes aren't your thing, you can get old-fashioned cinnamon toast — or perhaps a salted caramel croissant or a crème fraiche scone.
317 Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 621-2781. Silver dollar pancakes, $8. Only on Saturdays.
Chef and owner Joanna Moore has been serving up hearty vegetable-centric fare at Axe on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice since 1999. And one of the big draws has been her giant nine-grain pancake — big enough for an entire table to share. The name may sound like hippie fare, but this pancake has heft and sophistication. And the beautiful thing is you can get a half-order, which is about as large as a small pizza: Spongy and dense with whole grains, the legendary pancake is altogether delicious with a little butter and some maple syrup. Nourishing to body and spirit.
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 664-9787. Nine-grain pancake, $12.