Friday, January 30, 2009

Flappy Jack's.

I think I appreciate being often near Route 66 more now than as a kid, when all I was concerned about was how confusing it was that this street had multiple names (Route 66 v. Alosta v. Foothill Blvd., etc). But now, all I care about here are the great food finds.

A prime example, well-known and well loved: The Donut Man, with its killer strawberry-stuffed donuts. And really, there's nothing else to say about this place that hasn't been said already. If you haven't yet visited The Donut Man, just get down there, pronto.

Today I want to share my foodventure at another Route 66 establishment that has become really popular among locals: Flappy Jack's Pancake House Restaurant.

In contrast to The Donut Man, which has a natural, authentic Route 66 charm (whatever the hell that means), Flappy Jack's is one of those places that tries super hard to give off the look and feel that it's been around forever. Inside its walls are adorned with cliché Americana decor, but I remember driving by this building when it used to be a Carrows.

No matter. As long as they can back it up with good food, who the eff cares, right?

Yes, it's very easy to forgive and forget once the waitress plops down in front of you a plateful of pancakes each larger than your face. (Those with small, dainty faces: pretend just for a moment that your face is large and rotund, like mine.)

These banana-nut pancakes -- with bananas and pecans throughout and on top -- were warm, fluffy and inviting. As if I could just snuggle between them and sleep and/or eat contentedly.

This quickly got to be a very rich breakfast, so I countered with a side of savory sausage links. Maple syrup and sausage is always a beautiful thing. I would say the sausage became the guling to my pancake bed, but that would be taking this metaphor just a little too far.

My cousin got the stuffed French toast -- logs of bread filled with sweet vanilla cottage cheese, and served with strawberry compote.

The next time we visit I must remember to ask them how they construct such a fine bread log of cottage cheesy goodness.

My boyfriend went with the country fried steak smothered in gravy and served with "home-style potatoes" aka hashbrowns, and a small stack of (normal-sized) buttermilk pancakes.

This regularly comes with eggs instead of fruit, but he does not like/eat eggs.

A dish I'm tempted to try next: bacon pancakes. After all, everything is better with bacon, as they always say.

* * *
Flappy Jack's Pancake House Restaurant
640 W. Route 66
Glendora 91740

Monday, January 19, 2009

Coco-pandan in cupcake form.

I made cupcake versions of pastry chef cousin Irene's coco-pandan cake the other day, and found my method so innovative, I had to share.

Actually, I lie. This is not innovation. It is a fluke.

Upon removal from the oven, I noticed the cakes started deflating rapidly. So much so that it had created quite a significant crater in the middle, in which I spooned the coconut-mochiko filling. Around the edges I piped vanilla whipped cream using a fluted tip.

Success! Yay.

Also, in the recipe for coco-pandan cake, I noted that it's not necessary to dissolve the mochiko in coconut juice. Correction: it is completely necessary, unless you want gritty filling.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Resolution #5: Eliminate use of plastic water bottles.

One of my first steps to being greener was using reusable canvas bags. This year, I'm trying more and more ways to step it up.

Which brings me to my New Year's Resolution #5: I'm going to attempt to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles. I've enlisted the help of these BPA-free canteens made by CamelBak:

I like these because they're sleek and pretty durable (I've banged mine up a few times without consequence), and they hold a decent amount of water (24 oz). And, I also like them because they're pretty handsome lookin' bottles. Because I always take it back to the cuteness/attractiveness factor.

But, honestly though, if I'm allowed to get my nerdy greenspeak on for a bit: Plastic water bottles are terrible for the environment -- even if you recycle -- because it's wasteful to just produce them.

Plus, by using a canteen and either using a water filter system at home or filling large 5-gallon jugs with water at the supermarket, you will save money. I mean, a lotta LOTTA money. (Think $1.25 to refill a 5-gallon jug versus $5+ for a pack of water bottles.)

These canteens are quite affordable: $9 at The Container Store. But you can find them just about anywhere nowadays.

So, will you make this resolution with me?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Resolution #23: Reinstate salad-eating regimen.

I made a pretty lengthy list of New Year's resolutions this year, and by golly, I'm going to try to keep them. Yes. I'm feeling super positive.

Two of my overall goals for this year, which I hope my resolutions will help accomplish:
1. Be healthier.
2. Be greener. (But more on this one later.)

I don't know about other food bloggers, but I personally have always had a challenging time eating healthy while satisfying my love of food. How does everyone else do it? It amazes me sometimes. Maybe I just have no willpower. See, when I cook, it's always gotta be "the real stuff," I say. I pass on the margarine and reach for butter, I opt for the full-fat cream cheese, and I could never, ever bring myself to substitute in Splenda for sugar.

I just can't do substitutes like that. I can't! Don't make me.

What I can do, however, is try to eat more of the "real stuff" I like that's actually somewhat good for me.

Which brings me to New Year's Resolution #23: Reinstate my salad-eating regimen.

A couple years ago, I used to make and eat salad for lunch at least 4 days a week. Not only that -- it was the SAME salad every day: roasted chicken breast, blue cheese, walnuts, cranberries, and granny smith apples over a mesclun lettuce blend with balsamic vinaigrette.

Man, I loved that salad. What am I talking about -- I still love it.

Anyway, I kept that up for several months and it was GREAT. I didn't get the least bit tired of it, until one day, when I forgot the apples. And all of a sudden, I didn't feel like eating that salad anymore. It was strange, and a little sad. It was almost like that scene in Forrest Gump when Forrest all of a sudden decides he wants to stop runnin'.

And I fell off my healthy lunch regimen and haven't seemed to pick it up again.

So, this year, I'm going to try to eat salad at least four times a week. And it's not going to be a burden. Nope. Because they're fun to create!

Asian Sesame Salad

Ok, I have a confession to make. I pretty much stole this salad from Panera Bread. It's roasted lemon herb chicken breast, sliced almonds, sugar snap peas, cilantro, green onion, sesame seeds, mandarin oranges (which I added later) over mesclun and romaine lettuce with Asian sesame dressing. And I topped it with noodle crisps I picked up from a local Chinese dive.

Cilantro Lime Salad

Baja chipotle chicken breast, diced tomato, corn, avocado, cilantro, green onion over mesclun and romaine lettuce with creamy cilantro dressing. I added tortilla strips (I have to put in a little carby crunch) and a squirt of lime juice. You could also add monterey jack or cojita cheese.

Both dressings I got from Fresh and Easy, but I know Trader Joe's also makes a really tasty cilantro lime dressing.

Kinda relevant: For more lunch ideas, LA Times just ran an article that has a ton. Well, 40. Compared to my measly two, that's a ton.