Monday, June 11, 2007

The Swedes Make a Mean Pancake

Solvang is somewhat lacking in a wide array of places to eat breakfast. But what they lack in quantity they certainly make up for with quality at "Paula’s Pancake House." Seeing a crowd forming outside their front doors in the early morning hours is nothing unusual. The people come for their three page breakfast menu, where you can contemplate having the popular Danish pancake, traditional buttermilk, or even the equally appealing and tasty omelets and sausage.

I ordered the Danish pancakes with strawberries, which costs slightly more then having it plain with butter and whip cream. But to me adding fruit to pancakes is a must, especially when you get to choose between blueberries (which my girlfriend ordered) or cinnamon spiced apples. I should mention that if you do get the fruit option it will come sans pads of butter and whip cream, which for health conscious people like me is perfectly fine.

It took only minutes for two super sized and thin pancakes to be set before me. They consumed the entire plate, were powdered with sugar, had a mound of beautiful strawberries, and sitting on top was a small decanter of golden maple syrup.

Forking a piece of strawberry, a slice of pancake, and only a dab of syrup, they tasted great. It’s hard for me to distinguish between pancakes, saying one I’ve had is better then another. But if I did have a list this would certainly rank high. Warm, sweet, and moist, this was certainly an above average satisfying pancake. I even liked it more when I used some of my girlfriend’s blueberries which tasted incredibly sweet and fresh.

I would go back to Paula’s if I was in Solvang during breakfast hours. Heck I might even stop by for lunch when they’re still serving breakfast. It may be touristy and have a long wait, but this is one place where the tourists are actually right. This place is certainly worth the wait.
Paula's Pancake House
1531 Mission Dr.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-2867

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I Love Balls, Pancake Balls That Is

There are some people who go to Solvang for the windmills, cuckoo clocks, and wooden shoes, and then there are people like me who go for the aebleskiver. Popular in Solvang, stores sell the specially designed cast-iron pan so you can make your own, and more then one restaurant has it on their menu. Although believe me when I say every aelbeskiver is not alike. It was through some bad experiences that I found that the "Solvang Restaurant" is the only true place to get this warm golden brown beauty. They even go one step further in letting you watch them make the aebleskiver through an attached walk-up window, where you can quickly order and enjoy.

Served hot, drenched in raspberry jam, and sprinkled with powder sugar, for $3.75 you get three and it’s worth every penny. Eat it for breakfast, dessert, or an afternoon snack, an aebleskiver is good at any time during the day.
Solvang Restaurant
1672 Copenhagen Dr.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-4645

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Swedish Alternative

When eating lunch or dinner in the tourist part of Solvang your choices are pretty much limited to the Danish restaurants that dot the street. For the everyday tourist this is great for getting the full Denmark experience, but for someone like me who has been here more then once, I’ve gotten past the need to eat a cuisine heavy in fat, meat, and fish. Although if this was your first time and you wanted the full Solvang treatment, I’d recommend either "Bit O’ Denmark" or "Solvang Restaurant." Both places offer menu items that are as authentic without actually flying to Denmark.

For this visit I was in the mood for something lighter so I turned to "Panino’s," a sandwich shop I stumbled into over a year ago with the goal of finding something non-Danish and not Subway. Panino’s sandwiches are gourmet and far from being even remotely similar to a fast food chain.

Walking in their menu items are written out on a large chalkboard that lists 30 sandwiches, 9 of which are vegetarian. They even have around 10 salads you can choose from. The process is simple: choose a number, pick a bread (whole wheat, ciabatta, or baguette), and place your order. They carry the "Kettle Chip" line of potato chips, and soda and beer comes in cans and bottles. When you’re done take a seat on the outdoor patio, pull up a chair, and wait for your food to be brought out to you.

I ordered the "sliced chicken with roasted red peppers and fresh garden basil" (#11, $7.95) on whole wheat.

My girlfriend settled on the "prosciutto with fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers" (#13, $7.95) on a ciabatta role.

Everything that went into my sandwich looked and tasted fresh. The lettuce was crisp, the red onions crunchy, and the red peppers a vibrant crimson hue. As for the chicken it was sliced into fine moist strips, and I was given neither a stingy nor a ridiculous amount. The taste of basil came through strongly and the honey mustard, while overly sweet, did compliment it nicely. Although the sweetness did become too much to handle by the second half, to which I remedied by ditching a lettuce leaf doused in it.

Still overall this was a great tasting sandwich and fit exactly what I was looking for. When you’re in Solvang and want something fast and different from where all the tourists are going, you can do no better then "Panino’s."
475 1st St.
Solvang, CA 93463
(805) 688-0608