01 March 2010
Bad Pancakes Are Bad
My marketing professor in college sometimes talked about the late food critic, Doreen Fernandez. One day, he told our class about how all her reviews of local restaurants seemed to be positive. "Don't you ever eat at bad restaurants?", he once asked her. "Well yes,", she replied. "I just never write about them."
I guess that is the most upstanding thing to do, and I'm no food critic, but I guess someday I'll reach the wise old age of enlightened, let-bad-restaurants-die-out-on-their-own thinking. I've eaten in so many places since I began writing this blog, many of them good. But I often get the urge to write about only those off the street, or the bad ones. So this is a bad one, and it's about bad pancakes.
And it begins on the beach of Boracay, where I told myself, "tomorrow I'm having pancakes for breakfast". My most common encounter with them are in one hotel buffet or another, and I often bypass them, occasionally for their brother, the waffle, but often for something a bit more savory. This is because they are always less than stellar, and their "maple-flavored syrup" is too 80s (bad 80s).
But we had a pineapple-mint shake and a pot de crème at Lemoni Cafe the day before, and I spied "coconut pancake" or something, and I decided, I shall have that for breakfast, and maybe a bit of yogurt. Nothing will get in your way if you feel like this, you know?
So I got up a bit early, did some exercise, and went to Lemoni Cafe to order it. It tasted suspiciously like an egg with some flour in it. Did you cook this in a pan after making an omelette? I asked them. No, they wash all their pans after each use. Did you accidentally drop egg whites in it? No, no, that's really how we do it, one egg per pancake. Well, anyway.
Exhibit A: pancake itself.
And so I failed to finish my serving, which was very flat, quite tough, and very yellow, with no taste of coconut at all. As I try to form some kind of polite protest, a fly actually lands on my plate, walks onto the syrup, struggles a little, and just instantly dies in the sticky mess. The waitress stares at this and awkwardly finishes her sentence and leaves, pretending nothing happened. I stare bewildered at the fly and thought about how similar we were, lured by sweet-smelling pancake adjectives, in a similar manner, only he/she probably has bionic sensory things, and I'm just a schmuck who reads menus. The only thing was I felt good to be more than a thousand times larger than a fly, with legs and opposable thumbs and the will to go for what we all know is that second meal, the one you always have after a bad meal to feel a bit better and get the taste out of your mouth.
Table cover made with politico propaganda tarpaulin. The rubber stamp maker is a fixture in Manila streets. They are the unsung heroes o...
Everything extremely fresh: sautéed-yet-tender eggplant, a fried egg (the way I like it the few times I have it––devoid of runniness), wi...
Strange eating. On the road from El Nido to Puerto Princesa. The scenery is beautiful, but eight hours inside a suspension-less bus (on worn...
Palm leaves make for labor-intensive but free, beautiful, and 100% biodegradable packaging. The woman said it was pakaskas , a snack made in...
Arak ti basi (distilled basi ferment) and basi. It's an acquired taste. Though commonly called "sugarcane wine", I perceive...