It doesn’t matter if I have been to a restaurant one hundred times, I will pine over the menu until everyone else has ordered and the waiter is (un)patiently waiting for me to make a decision. Menus overwhelm me and my love for food makes me indecisive because, for better or worse, I want to eat everything.
I did not use to be so indecisive. Caesar salad and baked potatoes, were my favorite things to eat and I could have cared less about what other dishes graced menus.
Breakfast was a no-brainer as well: sweet not savory. Hate is a strong word, but I can honestly say that was the emotion that eggs evoked in me as a bad little foodie. My biggest nightmare was going for a sleepover and being rudely awakened by scrambled eggs in the morning. I couldn’t even tolerate French toast after a horrific combination of doughy white bread and too many eggs landed in front of me one morning after one such sleepover. Sad.
Luckily my dad kept me well-nourished with pancakes, waffles, and eventually even some proper French toast. Equally as lucky for me, as well as any future hosts, I now enjoy eggs (but people, please, learn how to make French toast).
I blame my expanding palate and loving all things edible (chicharones en salsa verde excluded) on my growing indecisiveness. Now that I embrace eggs, this conundrum has spread to breakfast as well. Geez. I mean, how am I supposed to decide between pancakes dressed in maple syrup or bacon and eggs. I can’t.
Now I have a confession: I adore the show Man vs. Food on the Travel Channel. As a matter-of-fact, I adore all Travel Channel food shows. Yes, it is a little disturbing to watch Adam Richman stuff his face with unacceptably large amounts of fatty food, but I think he visits interesting places, embraces local favorites, and before gorging himself, highlights unique foods that feel strangely “American”.
I was recently watching as the show visited Boulder, Colorado and featured a restaurant called The Buff. The Buff has one of those menus that would overwhelm me (and hopefully someday it will if I pass through Boulder), because everything sounds great, especially all the breakfast dishes. But one has solved my savory vs. sweet breakfast dilemma, and that is: Saddlebags.
Typically found on the sides of a horse, a motorcycle, or more commonly on our thighs, saddlebags can be several things. The only thing these saddlebags have in common with any of those, however, is that they may give you saddlebags. But put that fear aside, because saddlebags are genius! At The Buff, ginormous (like platter sized) pancakes are grilled with bacon or breakfast sausage right in the batter and then served with maple syrup and two eggs on top. Who doesn’t secretly love when syrup runs off pancakes and “accidentally” gets on the bacon?! Now you don’t have to hide this secret obsession, just make some saddlebags. Sweet. Savory. There you go. Brilliant.
I knew I had to create my own version (on a smaller scale of course) and now that I have, it is quite possible that I may never make regular pancakes again.
How can you decide between pancakes dressed in maple syrup or bacon and eggs? You don’t have to and at least in terms of breakfast, I am indecisive no more.
“Momma, I want a pancake!”
A few notes about the recipe: You can use either breakfast sausage or bacon in this recipe. I have made these with both and both were excellent, however, I particularly enjoyed the spice from the sausage. You can top the pancaked with a fried egg like they do at The Buff or not, its up to you. Again, I have done both wit equally good results. Finally, I added my own twist, by folding in some grated sharp cheddar cheese. This adds saltiness that I crave when I eat sweet foods and further helps to form a nice crunch on the outside of the pancakes. I got this idea while staying at a great B&B in Newport Beach, Oregon.
Inspired by The Buff restaurant Boulder, Colorado
Makes 16 4-inch pancakes
1/2 pound loose breakfast sausage or bacon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
vegetable oil for brushing the pan (don’t skip this it helps to brown the pancakes and make them crunchy!)
Fried eggs (optional)
Preheat oven to 200°F. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and place in the oven.
Over medium-high heat, brown sausage or bacon. Reserve on a paper towel lined plate. Remove grease from pan and return to heat medium heat.
While meat is cooking, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, an salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, and egg. Pour wet ingredients over dry and gently whisk together until just incorporated. Gently fold in prepared meat and cheese.
Brush the pan lightly with oil. Using 1/4 cup of batter per pancake, add the batter to the skillet and cook until large bubble being to appear, 2-3 minutes. Flip the pancakes and continue to cook until golden brown. Transfer pancakes to wire rack in oven and repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with fried eggs (optional) and pure maple syrup! Enjoy being in breakfast lover’s heaven.