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Best Pancakes in Sonoma County

Author: | posted 03/4/09 | Print This Post Print This Post |
Sonoma's Big 3 Diner lemon pancakes

Sonoma's Big 3 Diner's Lemon Pancakes | Heather Irwin

From Santa Rosa’s greasy spoons to divine diners, there’s not shortage of hotcake flippers in Wine Country. BiteClub susses out some of the best pancakes around…

Weekday mornings are a blur of sack lunches, misplaced gym clothes and races against the school bell. By definition, they’re Cheerios and frozen waffle days, with an occasional overly ambitious egg sandwich tucked into a backpack. Anything involving a recipe or frying pans is, frankly, out of the question.

The jig’s up on Saturday. Tiny, slippered feet pad into my bedroom at 8am with uncanny predictability and two small voices demand what’s been denied for five unbearable days — pancakes. Resistance is futile.
And more often than not, I can be strong-armed into pulling out the flour, sugar and milk to whip up a batch from scratch. Mother’s guilt.

Even better, though, when someone else stands behind the grill and washes up afterwards.

Lemon love: Sonoma’s Big 3 Diner elevates low-brow diner classics to spa-set grandeur. Ritzy Fairmont guests and locals jostle for weekend tables and the restaurant’s signature Lemon Cottage Cheese Pancakes topped with creme fraiche. 18140 Highway 12, Sonoma, (707) 939-2410. Recipe

Totally corny: Hallie’s is where Petalumans line up for breakie standards with a Latin twist. Homemade corncakes are polenta-soft inside and get a kick from a side of Cajun sausage. 125 Keller St., Petaluma,
(707) 773-1143.

The standard: There’s a reason Hank’s Creekside always has a crowd at the door — the pancakes. Made from scratch (many breakfast spots use a pre-made mix), they’re steamier than a romance novel (and way more satisfying). 2800 4th St., Santa Rosa, (707) 575-8839.

More pancake spots to check out:
Dierk’s Parkside Cafe: 404 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, 707-573-5955
Garden Court Cafe: 13647 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, (707) 935-1565
Cookhouse: 327 S. A St., Santa Rosa, (707) 526-2689
Carlos’ Country Kitchen: 90 W College Ave, Santa Rosa
Sam’s For Play: 2630 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa
East West Cafe: 128 N Main St, Sebastopol and 557 Summerfield Rd., Santa Rosa

BIG 3 DINER’S LEMON-COTTAGE CHEESE PANCAKES
Serving size: 8
Preparation time: 20 minutes

5 lemons — zest and juice
6 whole eggs, separated
1 cup powered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour (approximately)
1 pint low-fat cottage cheese
½ pound clarified butterMix lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks, cottage cheese and powdered sugar.
Mix in flour.
Add clarified butter.
Whip egg whites to soft / medium peaks. Fold whites into batter.
Cook pancakes on a greased griddle to desired firmness.
Serve garnished with crème fraîche, a thinly sliced lemon twist and powdered sugar.

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18 Responses

  1. Makeda Sewald August 1, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    It’s easy to make your own healthy and downlike homemade Denny’s pancakes with this easy-to-follow Denny’s pancake recipe with healthy ingredients, such as Graham and Canola, served with a dollop of cream cheese and staring maple syrup or dearest , or create your own healthy battercake toppings.

  2. LosingPebbles May 19, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    Will never eat at Pat’s again after getting a good look at their kitchen when looking at purchasing it. It’s amazing the health department doesn’t move in there ….

  3. Good Food on my Fork. April 13, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Best pancakes in Petaluma. Maybe county. Tea Room Cafe.
    Inside is thick with fluffy aromatic airy vanilla and floral.
    Outside is like the world’s thinest demi-glaze of Apple-y, sugary, buttery goodness. Yes, real maple. Needed or not.
    O.J. has real oranges in it. Coffee’s are euro-good. Prices better than expected. Kid’s welcome. All menu great.
    But, here’s the deal. Everyone is there for the FOOD. Simple artsy, ambience.. Self-seating, ALWATS CROWDED.
    Service staff is aloof but efficient. WHO CARES!
    Get your cakes, say thanks and squirrel them anywhere you can, if you have to. And eat them, hot!
    What am I doing? Sharing this. Please don’t go…

  4. BOBBI March 31, 2009 at 4:56 pm #

    KEEP ‘EM HONEST GEORGE… good job

  5. Alec March 15, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE East West Cafe’s pancakes. This restaurant in downtown Sebastopol and has such delicious homemade pancakes. I always get the raspberry ones and they are filled with REAL organic raspberries. My brothers get the blueberry ones and my parents get the banana and wheat germ filled ones. they have real fruit, not some artificially flavored syrupy ones. I love these! They are so moderately priced and the best part is that THEY ARE SERVED ALL DAY LONG! Thank you East West Cafe for never failing us and always being so on POINT with these amazing pancakes. Oh and did I mention they are served with REAL maple syrup?

  6. xtinaznap March 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    The Colibri Grill Cafe on Montgomery Drive (in the strip mall near Summerfield) has amazing pancakes. They make them from scratch and always have some that are unique. Last week we had these awesome blueberry apple pancakes…yum! They are big and fluffy…I think the maple syrup is real too (but not sure). I think Colibri has one of the best breakfast menus around, and great food and service. They have the best chilequiles too! Oh, and unlike many places, they make their hot chocolate with milk!

  7. Terry March 12, 2009 at 6:58 pm #

    I love Carlo’s Country Kitchen! Their pancakes are good, but I am IN LOVE with their waffles.

  8. Nate March 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    What about East West Cafe’s blue corn meal buttermilk pancakes? Options include various fresh fruit choices. They are the bomb!

  9. Terry Kelly March 11, 2009 at 10:07 am #

    Loved this article, pancakes are one my favorite food items! I remember the Pancakes from the old “Tropicana” pancake house on Santa Rosa Ave, light, fluffy, and golden brown like true Pancakes should be.The Coffee shop at the Best Western on HWY12, “The Hillsdie Cafe” also had great Pancakes and other breakfast items.Nothing like these places where I live now!Sonoma County is a food lovers heaven!

  10. laurel March 10, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    I really enjoy eating pancakes from the cowpoke cafe in Middletown. They also make very good cookie scrambles, which is a scramble of different breakfast foods. =]

  11. Matt March 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    I have to disagree with the original article on this one. My friends and I have tried Hank’s Creek side on several occasions over the last 5 years only to be very disappointed every time. First off, their customer service is terrible. The first two times I ate there my omlette was undercooked and I had to send it back. When it returned it was still runny. So we stayed away for years and then we saw this article. We thought to ourselves maybe things got better, maybe it’s the pancakes that are so good there. So we went back and tried them. No it can’t be the pancakes. They tasted like cardboard with high fructose corn syrup on top. They don’t even serve real maple syrup! We also got a side of scrambled eggs which came out brown and chewy. Sent them back and when they returned they were still slightly brown inside! Nasty! We will never eat there again…

  12. BiteClub March 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    Don’t feel too bad George, I’ve started hearing it enough that I realize I might need to make it a bit more clear.
    But thanks for wanting to know who I am! :)

  13. George Bright March 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    I stand corrected – thank you SoCoQT and thank you Heather Irwin for the delicious article!

  14. socoqt March 4, 2009 at 9:52 pm #

    It clearly states in the upper left hand corner (as it does every day) that Heather Irwin writes the blog. Chillax George Bright!

  15. George Bright March 4, 2009 at 9:38 pm #

    Call me a stick in the mud or just plain old-fashioned but I’ve got a real problem with the style decisions of “Bite Club” I’m an incorrigible byline reader and the author of this article writes in the first person but nowhere is the author mentioned. Who wrote this witty, first-hand account of preparing pancakes for their children? Who’s opinion am I reading when it comes to local flapjacks? I’m astounded the editors even tried to get away with this and appalled that the author(s) would let their work be published unattributed. But hey, that’s just me, I actually care about the people who write…
    And yes, that’s -my- name attached to this post because I care what I write and I hope you do as well!

  16. Tony Ponter March 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm #

    I am sorry but for years the Garden Court Cafe in Glen Ellen, has serve the biggest, lightest, fluffiest made-from-scratch pancake in the county…I see they get a mention…but should be a the top of the list! DELISH! Everythig is from scratch in this little sunny place. And talk about lines to get i!
    PS They also serve the best eggs benedict I have ever eaten ANYWHERE!

  17. Max March 4, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    Good call on the Cookhouse. Most people don’t know about that one.

  18. Mepstein60 March 4, 2009 at 6:51 am #

    Patrick’s in Guernville serves very tsty pancakes with delicious, light and fluffy homemade doughnuts to boot. A very friendly family breakfast joint with numerous fresh and tasy alternatives for the savory and sweet palate alike. Check it out

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