Comfort Food: My Second Home

By Mariko on 30 June, 2008


Franco’s Note: Small change this month. The Three will be writing about comfort food we love–where we go or what we make when we need the soothing fix that our favorite foods can provide. Enjoy.

I was trying to figure out which Pancake House memory to write about. Should it be about A) the time I used to order the three-piece Panchicken whenever I dined there? (This was over a decade ago, when my waist was, oh, a good three or four inches bigger. Growing up with older brothers who had voracious appetites kind of messed up my eating habits a bit…) Or B) the time some former co-workers and I were sitting around a table, talking about which resto we could eat at every single day of our lives. (When N declared, “Pancake House!” we all nodded in agreement.) Or C) all the times my best friend and I had brunch there to celebrate her birthday or mine. (It’s tradition.) Or D) the time the waiter at my usual Pancake House branch tried to guess what I would order. (I was in a chocolate-chip pancake phase. I’m predictable that way.) Or E) the times I would take a late lunch break, just to avoid the crowds and to spend some quality “me” time. (I’d whip out a magazine or a laptop and enjoy the solitude.) 

Obviously, I settled on “all of the above.”

With Pancake House, it’s not just about that one experience, or that one dish that comforts me. It’s about years of memories, time spent with people that mattered, lunch breaks used to catch my breath. Pancake House isn’t just about comfort food–the place itself is comfort. It’s my refuge, my reward, my routine, my happy place!

That said, there are a few things that are on rotation in my “to order” list:

The House Specials Set (pictured above). This includes their three bestsellers: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, The Best Tacos in Town, and one-piece Panchicken. A slice of garlic bread is thrown in for good measure. When I have different types of food on my plate, I normally like ending my meal with my favorite item–a save-the-best-for-last kind of thing. But whenever I order this set, I can’t seem to decide what deserves that last bite. (Today, it was the Panchicken.)

Chocolate Marble Waffle. This is a classic golden-brown waffle with some chocolate syrup mixed into the batter, and with peanut butter on the side. When the best friend and I have brunch, we normally order a two-piece Panchicken and a Chocolate Marble Waffle, then split the two dishes. We throw in mashed potatoes as well.

Mashed Potatoes. I remember someone telling me that Pancake House mashed potatoes come from a box, so they’re not made from real potatoes. I have no idea if this is true, and, frankly, I don’t really give a hoot. They could be made of civet droppings for all I care, and I’d still be convinced that they’re the best mashed potatoes ever. Especially with that gravy. Gracious, that gravy. I actually like that it’s ever-so-slightly lumpy.

Fiesta Taco Salad. When I feel like I need veggies, I order this. I could fool myself into thinking that it’s good for me. (Never mind that it’s got Chippy and a mound of cheese.) The dressing also has an asim factor that I really like. This is the only salad that leaves me full after I eat it.

Chocolate-chip Pancakes. With a heap of chocolate chips mixed into the batter, a bit of butter cream on the side, and loads of maple syrup, this little beauty probably has a day-and-a-half’s worth of calories in one serving. But I manage to delude myself into thinking that it’s breakfast food, so it must be good for me. Right?

Sigh. Pancake House. I could live there.

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  • JULY 1, 2008 12:32 AM

    solraya said...

    The Pancake House I knew as a child was the one at the Magallanes Theatre (seems that was the only one back then). Then as an adult, I'd go to where they moved that Magallanes store, somewhere behind the Honda and near their existing spot now.

    Good you reminded me about those bestsellers. I now find myself ordering the Taco Fiesta Salad :)

  • JULY 1, 2008 1:59 AM

    mtan said...

    I order adobo sulipan (chicken and pork bits with full pieces of garlic), and when I need a pancake fix, I order the 2 pc classic with a side of bacon. Or the bacon waffle!

  • JULY 1, 2008 2:11 AM

    shella said...

    love pancake house. when you don't know where to eat...pancake house it is. you could never go wrong.

  • JULY 1, 2008 10:33 AM

    Katrina said...

    I bet nearly everyone has a Pancake House memory, and I'm sure the number of people who name it as their favorite comfort food resto would astound even the owners. I like to order something different each time, but my favorites remain the Choc. Chip Pancakes (with extra butter, plus peanut butter and blueberry syrup, please), Choc. Marble Waffle, and the Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich (this last is pure nostalgia, as I wouldn't normally crave sliced American cheese now). A new favorite, as mentioned above, is the Adobong Sulipan. My boyfriend orders this EACH AND EVERY TIME we're there.

  • JULY 1, 2008 5:02 PM

    Sakai said...

    well, i am one of the few i guess who think that Pancake house should be sticking on their specialties.. Pancakes... add a little other stuff like friend chicken, tacos, country sausages.. but to venture to Lechon kawali... steaks... a lot of pasta dishes.. i think its a mistake... well, thats my opinion....
    look at In and Out.. more than 30 yrs of burgers and still the same menu.. Do things Great and be the best at it and u dont have to add to it....

  • JULY 1, 2008 6:03 PM

    Mariko said...

    Hmmm it seems that, although Pancake House doesn't really specialize in Pinoy food, it's really part of Pinoy food culture. I don't really agree with the whole stick-to-pancakes thing. Whatever it is they're doing seems to be working. They can keep adding to their menu as long as the quality remains consistent. But hey, to each his own.:)

  • JULY 1, 2008 10:35 PM

    Lori said...

    What a charming piece! I also have numerous Pancake House memories and it's also my "favoritest" restaurant in the world. Now that I have a 5- year old daughter, Pancake House has become one of her faves as well and she always insists on ordering the chocolate-peanut butter waffle for dessert, just like her dad. Me, I prefer a milkshake, extra thick, please.

  • JULY 2, 2008 1:47 AM

    Franco said...

    I was really hoping you would write about Pancake House. Thanks.:) Sometimes for me, it really is a toss up between North Park and this place. I'm really thankful that with all the changes they've been through, Pancake House is still the great place I remember going to as a child.

  • JULY 2, 2008 1:43 PM

    ScroochChronicles said...

    I remember going to Pancake House as a kid. We would go there after going to the once-a-year carnival in Makati.

    Now, its still a favorite. I love their Pan Chicken. And their Clubhouse is still a fave takeout item. Also the adobo sulipan but I don't like it with hard boiled egg. I usually order an extra sunny side up :)

  • JULY 2, 2008 4:14 PM

    wysgal said...

    My family used to eat in Pancake House so often (Robinson's Galleria branch) that the waiter would give us 10% off our bill just because ...

    Of course friends that read my blog know I love the place so much. Some suspect I may even be a secret shareholder because I can't stop raving about them. =)

  • JULY 3, 2008 2:53 AM

    Mariko said...

    I've never had that adobo but it's sure got me curious now. There are so many great things on the menu but I seem to keep sticking to my favorites. Guess I'll just have to eat there more often to try everything...

  • JULY 7, 2008 8:02 AM

    chinkee said...

    Judging by the number of comments, it seems that almost everyone has a Pancake House memory to share;-) Mine were from way back when we used to frequent their Rizal Theater branch in Makati. My sister and I went crazy over their spaghetti! Now, its got to be the MMC #2- taco, spaghetti and fried chicken combo. Filling, and it fulfills all of my Pancake House cravings all at one go.

  • JULY 7, 2008 11:13 AM

    Mariko said...

    Hi Chinkee! MMC #2, pictured here, is now known as the "House Specials Set.":) They changed their menu and kinda raised their prices a bit...

  • JULY 8, 2008 4:09 AM

    chinkee said...

    Oh ok! Was wondering how it was different from what I usually order. Hehe. Thanks for the info, Mariko!;-)