By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
Each year for over a decade now, we have embarked on a dyspepsia-inducing quest in search of the finest flapjacks in town. S & S Diner won the first annual Flip-Off in 2001 and was duly handed the prestigious Mrs. Beeton Trophy (Mrs. B. being our patron saint for her prescient in-print assertion 102 years ago that pancakes "must be regarded as somewhat beyond the capabilities of average digestive organs"). Victors since have been the Biltmore Hotel, Deli Lane Café, Miramar Diner, the Rascal House Deli, Green Street Café, Bagels & Company, the Original Pancake House, Eos at the Viceroy, and Sky Grille in the Bank of America Tower.
Let skeptics who scoff about the meaninglessness of a Mrs. Beeton award note that in the context of an exceedingly challenging restaurant business, all but one of our former Flip-Off winners is still profitably flipping cakes.
The game remains the same: Appraisals are heavily skewed toward flavor, fluffiness, and value. Quality of butter, maple syrup, coffee, and service likewise come into play, as can background music, style of flatware, cleanliness of rest rooms, and whether or not my lower back pain is acting up. Even in this high-tech world, judging pancakes remains an inexact science.
130 NE 40th St.
Miami, FL 33137
Region: Central Dade
333 Himmarshee St.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Region: Fort Lauderdale
First & First Southern Baking Company, 109 NE First Ave., Miami. Call 305-577-6446.
Jackson Soul Food, 950 NW Third Ave., Miami. Call 305-374-7661.
Jerry's Famous Deli, 1450 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-534-3244, or click here.
Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, 130 NE 40th St., Miami. Call 305-573-5550.
Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House, 333 Himmarshee St., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-530-7520.
Sweet Point Bakery & Café, 3252 NE First Ave., Miami. Call 786-477-6235, or click here.
Tudor House Restaurant, 1111 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-673-4747, or click here.
This year's eight unwitting contestants are Jerry's Famous Deli, Tudor House Restaurant in the Dream Hotel, Jackson Soul Food, First & First Southern Baking Company, Sweet Point Bakery & Cafe, City Hall Restaurant, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, and Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House.
Without further adieu, our sponsor Log Cabin (motto: "The syrup, not those crazy gay Republicans!") is proud to present the Official Mrs. Beeton 11th Annual Flapjack Flip-Off:
The Last & Last Award goes to First & First Southern Baking Company. Our cornmeal-blueberry pancakes arrived as a pair of seemingly regular white flour pancakes with blueberries. Our waitress took them back to the kitchen to be prepped with cornmeal (I later noticed the menu description saying "with a hint of corn meal," but I didn't see or taste that hint). The resultant duo of corn-based jacks was dry, mealy, and crumbly. Worse, one of the two was blackened on top. Points were accrued for friendly service, a potent cup of joe, and authentic-tasting maple syrup. Ironically, we tasted the regular pancakes before they were swapped for the all-cornmeal version and found them to be very soft and fluffy. Barriers to the Beeton, however, were raw interiors and the difficulty of ordering them a la carte: The pancakes come only as part of a lumberjack breakfast along with two eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, sausage, and a fruit cup for $9.45. You can get the pancakes alone... but they will still cost you $9.45! Cornmeal-blueberry cakes, with two strips of bacon: $7.25. Coffee: $2.15. Total: $9.40.
The Pancakes Without Soul Award is presented to Jackson Soul Food for its no frills/no thrills presentation: Three pale, fluffy, flavorless flapjacks on a white plate. Artificial maple syrup and foil packets of some butter-tasting spread were served on the side. Staff hospitality and being served a thermos of piping hot coffee made breakfast a pleasant experience, but these griddlecakes were not great. Pancakes: $3.95. Coffee: $2. Total: $5.95.
Winner of The Not Famous for Its Pancakes Award is Jerry's Famous Deli. Our efficient if no-nonsense waitress brought a short stack (2) that wasn't steamy hot, but warm enough to absorb butter from tin packets. These pancakes possessed so uniform a medium brown color that they almost looked spray-painted. While thicker than most others, they were not especially puffy. All in all, it's a solid rendition, but certainly not Beeton worthy. Alongside: maple-flavored syrup and hot, decent coffee. Pancakes: $7.95. Coffee: $2.95. Total: $10.90.
Sweet Point Bakery & Cafe takes The Sweet And Pointedly Thin Award. A surprisingly strong showing for this quirky Midtown Miami café: Three skinny, flaky, steamy hot pancakes were sprinkled with powdered sugar and imbued with a sweetly alluring taste. On the other hand, like the rest of this year's competitors, they lacked the lushness of great pancakes; baking powder has apparently fallen from favor. Two crisp strips of bacon are served alongside, as are foil packets of butter and a carafe of artificial maple syrup (also available with berries blended in). Service came with a smile; the strong, hot Colonial-brand coffee came with little plastic containers of half & half. Pancakes: $7.50. Coffee: $2.50. Total: $10.
The Genuinely Cold Award goes to Michael's Genuine Food & Drink: The "baked 9-grain" entry, shaped more like puck than pancake, was moist, flavorful, and bursting with the mild crunch of grains and seeds. Organic maple syrup was peerless, as was fresh creamery butter — except the butter wouldn't melt because the pancake was downright chilly and served on an equally chilled plate. It arrived just a couple of minutes after we ordered it, which led to speculation that it had been a "mistake" from another table that was returned to the kitchen. In any event, this gratifying dome of cooked grains is just too un-pancake-like to be a Flip-Off champion. Coffee, on the other hand, was the best brew we encountered: Lobster Butter Love, an ultra-smooth espresso blend from RoosRoast Organic Free Speech Coffee. This breakfast is available only during Sunday brunch. Pancake: $7. Coffee: $3. Total: $10.
Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House. You're joking. I think they use Uniqueso corn "griddles". You buy them at Walmart. How do they plan to sneak them in as their own. Having said that, it's a pancake. How hard is that. Lol
so... the "Broward Palm Beach" version of the New Times reviews six pancake joints in Miami and...one in Fort Lauderdale. What am I missing here???
Yep, we took a foray largely down south for this one, Cotter1963, but you'll find almost all of our food reviews are based up here. But I'd say it's OK to venture down to Dade occasionally, even though I'd argue our dining scene is better these days.