Let’s Eat a Dutch Baby … Shall We?

by Jay Hood on December 4, 2012


(Westward Ho – Episode I)

P7160875Monday morning. Temperatures already sweltering. Second marathon day of driving is behind us. The bill paid at one of the finest hotels Sioux Falls had to offer. A Days Inn. Or maybe it was a Holiday Inn. Or a Days Holiday. Some random assortment of words meant to convey we had a decent night’s stay.

Now we’re ready to tackle the long haul between the east side of South Dakota and the west. In between are 350 miles filled with billboards advertising Wall Drugs, “authentic” homesteads, dinosaur parks and caves filled with “wonderment”. Anything to give parents an excuse to let the kids out of the car to run around. Anything to draw the mindless traveler in to spend a buck on a cheap souvenir commemorating the Corn Palace or any of the other fine stops along the way.

Any discussion of the Corn Palace will have to wait though, because our first stop is going to be a highlight.

Before hitting the road, we stop at the Original Pancake House. It is a long drive and we need all the carbs we can pack in.

Located in a generic strip mall along a generic highway passing through a generic part of town, one might not expect this to be one of the stops we are most looking forward to this day.  But the siren call of the Dutch Baby draws us to this strip mall and we can’t resist.

Upon entering the Original Pancake House, we sit at a booth and are presented with over-sized menus listing every imaginable combination of breakfast item.

Totally unnecessary. We know what we want. Dutch Babies.

Our friendly server tells us that the wait might be about 30 minutes since Dutch Babies are baked in an oven and not just heated on a griddle.

Time well spent. The place is an eavesdropper’s goldmine.

A couple at the table across from us sitting with a real estate agent sadly comes to the realization that their home wasn’t worth nearly as much as they thought. Wait staff whisper about the crazy guy in the Orioles hat taking photos. Oh, that’s me. I have to get the camera out in preparation. The half an hour is almost up and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into a Dutch Baby.

And then it is on the table. Gloriously presented.

The finest pancake possible baked to perfection. Light. Airy. Buttery. Bliss! I spin it around a few times to determine exactly how to tackle the Dutch Baby.

It is important to make sure the proper lemon filling to baked goodness ratio is maintained throughout the meal.

The first few bites confirm everything I have been dreaming about for months. I love Dutch Babies.

It is like the best of funnel cake and the best of a pancake rolled into one. Crispy edges to be torn off and dredged through the lemon filling. Powdered sugar to mark my shirt for the remainder of the day.  A badge of honor for ordering this breakfast gem.

Sadly, there is only room on a plate for one Dutch Baby.  And sadly, Dutch Babies don’t last very long. Their tempting sweetness is not conducive to lingering and savoring. Instead, they call out to be devoured as quickly as possible.

Pure heaven!

And then it is gone.

Jay Hood (Section Chief Shea Garage/Contributing Editor)

Jay Hood has lived in Baltimore, Maryland for the past 25 years.  He likes to travel and is an avid photographer.  His photography has been featured in several obscure and unassuming locations, such as John Ball Zoological Gardens.  He does not eat vegetables and is learning to enjoy seafood.  He strives to keep his DVR no more than 40% full.  Comfort is paramount and he is not above a little slacking.

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