Pancake Review at: Jonathan Club

Although I always review pancakes at restaurants that locals frequent, last Wednesday was an exception for more than one reason.

A couple of weeks ago I received a phone call, followed by a breakfast invitation, from the Director of Operations at the Jonathan Club, as he claimed the Club has the best pancakes in all of LA. While I was extremely flattered that the Director thought of Ma’amCakes for this invitation, the skeptic New Yorker in me surfaced before the words of gratitude could, and I somehow replied with, “That’s a pretty bold statement to tell a pancake reviewer!” A week later I found myself in Downtown LA, walking through the historic doors of the Jonathan Club, a private, members-only social club. The Jonathan Club, which also has a Beach Club location in Santa Monica, was established in 1894 as a political group, and at one point, even had Ronald Reagan as a member; needless to say, I had to put on my fancy-pancake-pants for this review! With one glance of the 50ft ceilings, sparkling chandeliers, and custom-carved wooden walls, I had to catch my breath for a second as I was suddenly powerfully aware of the Club’s prodigious history.



As I sat in the booth with the Director, I soon realized it was the first time I’ve reviewed pancakes for dinner! Before I could become any more astonished, a platter of three different types of pancakes was placed in front of me by the Chef himself, Jason McClain. For a moment there, I thought I was having a hotcake hallucination!


The first pancake, The Strawberry Rhubarb Pancake, tasted very similar to strawberry shortcake, and even had sweet cream on top. The tenderness of this pancake kept me wanting more, even after I’d already taken my last bite.


The second pancake, The Caramelized Banana Pancake, had a fiery crispness on the top, almost like that of creme brulee, and continued to warm my heart with every bite. The combination of the soft pancake with the banana, and sweet & crunchy caramel top, is a dish that still makes my mouth water when glancing at its photo.

Caramelized Banana

The third pancake, Robby’s Buttermilk Pancake, actually gets its name from Robby’s Pancake Mix– a trick I learned from Jason himself. Although the mix may technically belong to Robby, the twist put in the recipe to make a traditional buttermilk pancake taste so delicious, is a credit that Jason fully deserves.


And in case you were wondering, my favorite of the three pancakes was… The Caramelized Banana!

Overall, the pancakes at the Jonathan Club were certainly on par with the best pancakes in Los Angeles. The service I experienced definitely validated the exclusivity and standards of excellence in which the Jonathan Club prides itself.

I wish all you FanCakes could visit the restaurant, and taste the pancakes for yourselves; however, last week’s review wasn’t just about the pancakes, but it was also about some Food for Thought. As a blogger, particularly as a blogger with an additional full-time job, you constantly wish as much time could be devoted to your blog as that towards your career. As a result, it can get somewhat discouraging if, for example, your traffic isn’t always as high as you’d like it to be. While I have had some incredible experiences thus far in my Ma’amCakes journey, receiving that phone call from the Director of Operations at the Jonathan Club was one of the most rewarding. That call proved that whatever frustrations you have along the road of blogging, you never know who is viewing your project, and what can potentially come of it.

If I had to create a title for the plated pancake feast I had last Wednesday evening, I would call it: Grateful Glamorous Griddlecakes.

For information on how to become a baller – er, Member of the Jonathan Club, click here.

Aunt Jemima’s Idea of Bacon Ma’amCakes! Enjoy Some This Weekend!

photo courtesy of Flickr

Check Out This Great Blueberry & Banana Pancake Recipe from Food and Wine Magazine! Perhaps Breakfast in Bed for Mamma this Weekend??

So Glad Grub Enjoyed Their Review!

IN THE MIX: Pancake Review with Special Guest, Manager of Mike Posner and Capital Cities, Dan Weisman

Mar 14th, 2012

This weekend I was super fortunate to have Dan Weisman – Manager of Mike Posner and Capital Cities/Music Manager and Director of Music Marketing of SkullCandy – join me as a guest reviewer for In the Mix. Whew, that was as much of a mouthful as the pancakes!

Yes, I know what you’re thinking: I’ve already reviewed at Bea Bea’s! BUT, when Dan requested we go for pancakes with some gluten-free options, I knew a spot that had a lot of gluten-free options – and good ones, too.

As a reminder, below is a list of pancake-options from Bea Bea’s, ALL of which can become gluten-free for just $1 extra!

When viewing the menu, Dan’s initial reaction was “Wow, this is probably the most amount of gluten-free pancake-options I’ve seen in LA – and I’ve been to a lot of spots!” Dan then recommended Square OneBread and Porridge – both of which I’ve never heard of, but am adding to my list! – and John O’ Groats, which I’ve actually already reviewed.  “While I am more of a Waffle guy,” Dan admitted, “I wanted to try a new pancake place.” Well fortunately Dan, with Bea Bea’s, you’re in great hands.

Dan ordered a sausage and egg breakfast, and for our final decision on the pancakes: as Ma’amCakes was feeling a bit full from all the recent reviewing, Dan and I decided to split the Super Star – Gluten Free.

This red, white, and blue all-American breakfast was the perfect way to begin a beautiful March morning in Los Angeles – well in this case, Burbank.

The texture, savor, and fluffiness of this meal was simply: refreshing. As Lesley-Anne stated in my Hugo’s In the Mix review, gluten-free pancakes “don’t make you feel so bloated.” In the case of the Super Star Pancakes at Bea Bea’s, this was definitely the truth. For me, the best part about this pancake-option, besides the freshness of the fruit, was that it barely needed any syrup.

During breakfast as I was mid-story, Dan blurted out “Wow, these are really good!” Music to my ears from a guest reviewer. “You can almost taste a hint of a fruit-essence in the batter. And truthfully, the consistency is better than most gluten-free pancakes I’ve had.” Dan continued to say, “These are very moist, and not greasy at all.” When asking Dan if next time he’d prefer the fruit inside the batter, he immediately stated, “no, definitely prefer the fruit on top.”

This review was a bit challenging for Ma’amCakes, as it was the first time I’d received a gluten-free breakfast request. It’s important to note that Bea Bea’s caters to this necessity – as well as vegan – for all those who desire to enjoy pancakes like the rest of us, but don’t necessarily have the luxury.

You know it was a good breakfast when, as the server removed the egg & sausage plate, Dan and I both yelled “leave the pancakes!”

Thank you so much, Dan, for being a part of Saturday brunch with Ma’amCakes! And be sure to check out Justin Bieber’s new single “Boyfriend,” which Mike wrote and produced!

Well, Toast Enjoyed the In the Mix Review, AND Took Jessica and My Suggestion of Having the Option to Include Fruit Inside the Batter. Awesome, Toast!

Looks Like Toast is Excited for Ma’amCakes’ Review!

Pancake Review at: BEA BEA’S

Jan 8th, 2012

On Saturday I visited Bea Bea’s on Pass Ave between Oak St. and Alameda in Burbank, CA. The slogan on both their storefront and menu, “Breakfast is Everything,” is a perfect description of the class, creativity, and savor Bea Bea’s puts into their food. While I wasn’t quite in the mood to trek all the way to Burbank for breakfast, the drive was beyond worth it.

The menu above pretty much speaks for itself. For a pancake-lover to attempt to choose only one dish off Bea Bea’s menu, is like asking a child to select their favorite toy in FAO Schwarz. Our server mentioned their most popular pancake was in fact the Just For You Pumpkin; but while I was debating between the Super Star, S’mores, Pacific Island, and Banana PB Crunch, I ended up choosing the Summer’s Dream.

Although I was very much anticipating my pancakes, I also had a craving for eggs as well. Luckily Bea Bea’s, with its intensely diverse menu, gives you such option:

It was at this point I combined the Summer’s Dream with Pooh’s Surprise, a dish I’d like to coin the phrase for: Dream Pooh. Props to Bea Bea’s for this opportunity- not all restaurants allow you to combine a specialty pancake with an egg breakfast. If at all, you’ll typically find this option with plain-pancakes only.

Now for the review:

Summer’s Dream was pure decadence. Although I am a fan of Nutella (a topping typically more popular on the east coast) I’ve never had this with pancakes. The breakfast was a wonderful combination of flavor and texture.

The best part about this dish was that each item was just as amazing by itself, as it was together. The pancakes themselves may be the best pancakes I have ever had- and considering this is my second review, the bar has now been set pretty high. The pancakes are doughy, but not too filling, and cooked just right. As if they were just picked from a field and placed on my breakfast, the strawberries tasted incredibly fresh.  And the Nutella was the perfect topping to this specialty breakfast.

My only additional comment is that while I’d never before had mascarpone cream- this tastes like whipped cream combined with cream cheese- I’d say the dish needs way less than the scoop provided. When putting a small dabble on my bites of Summer’s Dream, I realized it was all I needed- if that, at all. The dish in itself is wonderful- and filling- enough, and I felt the addition of the mascarpone was in fact, too much.

All in all, Bea Bea’s may officially be my favorite pancake stop in Los Angeles. The staff is incredibly nice, and while there is usually a slight wait for a table, the food comes quickly enough. Also, the option for gluten-free and/or vegan, makes Bea Bea’s even more special; this is certainly an option that not many restaurants have.

The drive to Burbank is well worth it, and Bea Bea’s got it right: Breakfast IS everything.