Stirring up Syrup for breakfast
August 21, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: January 17, 2013 | 1:51 pm)
When I was growing up, breakfast was a pretty ho-hum affair: the occasional bagel, a lackluster English muffin, a soggy bowl of Raisin Bran. It felt like an obligation.
Then along came Sundays. These were the days when my father would conjure sourdough starter from some deep corner of the refrigerator and mix together unknown grains, milk, and eggs to produce the finest pancakes the world has ever known. They almost didn’t need syrup. Almost.
But it has been too many years since I enjoyed Sunday pancake feeds – too many years since I have known the joy of eating the most important meal of the day.
Until, that is, I stumbled across the quaint little spot in Cherry Creek known simply as Syrup.
Syrup is as Syrup does – that is to say, part of their charm is a unique flight of syrups to go with a mounded stack of pancakes. Obsessed with trying new things, I’m always eager to indulge: fluffy, moist, tender cakes topped with traditional maple, berry-licious medleys and apple-cinnamon sweetness draw out the child in me. And while it’s not the same as mashing still-hot sourdough pancakes into my mouth on a weekend morning back home, it’s warmly reminiscent of those very same days.
Now, you may ask yourself why I’m not drooling over the pancake flights at Snooze or lusting after the biscuits at Lucile’s. Trust me, they have a special place in my heart. But Denver needs encouragement in the breakfast scene, a round of gustatory applause when newbies enter the scene and work to garner a following like the Snoozes and Lucile’s of the city. Which is why I tip my hat and lend my appetite to the new kid on the block.
No doubt the setting helps Syrup’s native charm – a quiet dining haven set below street level with wide-reaching, open windows and a bustling dining room. The décor is simple, clean and straightforward, but that’s by no means an oversight. Without too many accessorized distractions, the focus can be entirely on your pancakes – and, as needed, the company you’re enjoying them with.
The deliciousness of Syrup doesn’t stop with flap jacks, though. Breakfast options abound – from meaty waffles decked with macerated fruit of every kind, to croissant sandwiches as buttery and flaky as the sort you’d find on the streets of Paris. If you drop by closer to noon, there’s a wealth of lunch treats to savor as well. My picks: the Winston Maple Drive for its innovation – two slices of French toast stuffed with ham, Cheddar, tomato, and maple-pepper bacon, all topped with a maple-rubbed aioli – and Ava’s Smoked Chicken Salad, which recalls the roasted, earthy flavors of the Southwest.
Come the end of the meal, there’s always Cherry Creek shopping to enjoy, a cup of coffee at Peet’s or gelato on the scorching hot days. And while you might have waited hours for a seat at Snooze or Lucile’s, you’re almost sure to be nestled in at Syrup in under 15 minutes.
It leaves more time for pancake-lingering anyway. And that, as my father always told me, is a thing to be treasured.
(courtesy of The Food Network)
Makes a goodly amount
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten slightly
1 c milk (2-percent)
1 c sourdough starter
½ c melted butter
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil for
greasing the pan
1-1/4 c fresh blueberries
butter and syrup as desired
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda,
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, starter, melted butter, and vanilla until well blended. Add the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined, adding more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if necessary to bring the batter to the thickness of heavy cream. Be careful not to overmix, and don’t worry if batter is slightly lumpy.
Lightly grease a large, heavy griddle or skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake, allowing space for spreading. As the top sides start to bubble after about 1 minute, sprinkle blueberries into each pancake. When the undersides of the pancakes are golden and the blueberries are set, flip with a wide spatula. Cook until golden brown, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Serve immediately with fresh butter and syrup.