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Kalihi Eats: The Original Pancake House

DC Ohana was in town this past week and wanted to have breakfast at The Old Pancake House, being Diner MDCC’s college classmate’s mom owns this place. Which to note, Diner MDCC is a medical doctor practicing on the west coast, where her college classmate and son of this location’s owner also owns his own The Original Pancake House up in the mainland. Pretty cool! Apparently being a restaurateur was more appealing than his pursuit of becoming a lawyer and judge. Hey man, follow your passion!

Like most eateries in Kalihi, a.k.a. “The Center of Hawaii’s Food Universe” (it truly is!), The Original Pancake House appears totally unassuming from the outside. That would be around midway between other businesses that make up Waiakamilo Shopping Center. You otherwise can’t miss it, with McDonald’s right at the front corner of the center on the corner of Waiakamilo Road and Dillingham Boulevard in the Palama area of Kalihi. 

Yet once you enter the hallowed walls of The Original Pancake House, you’re transported back in time to an old school 60’s style All-American diner style coffee shop ambiance, filled with lots of folks getting their breakfast on, at what appears to be their go-to neighborhood favorite spot for that. It’s the total package. From “aunties” dressed in floral pattern uniforms and aprons, to the wonderful combined aroma of fresh coffee, bacon and hot cakes in the air. I LOVE THAT!

The cozy dining room on our morning visit was brisk with conversation and positive energy, a further testament to the enchanting effect of the scent of fresh-brewed coffee and pipin’ hot ‘n fresh pancakes!

The wall at the entrance features a couple of news media awards, as well as their specials of the day, which upon looking at Yelpers photo of this, it’s pretty much the same every day.

Without further ado, the menu:

Sorry about the glare at the top of the Pancakes section of the menu. The top three items are:

Wheat Germ Pancakes: Good for vim and vigor. $8.50
Hawaiian Pancakes: with Pineapple and Tropical Syrup. $8.50
Bits ‘o Bacon: Buttermilk Pancakes with Bacon Bits. $8.50

Within about 10 minutes of placing it, our order already began arriving!

Our lovely server was Auntie Kona… she is such a sweetheart!!!

Boom, there it is, the house specialty Buttermilk Pancakes, included with many of the breakfast items as a “side dish”, however as you can tell this “short” 3-stack can be a meal in itself!

Perfectly cooked, perfectly round, perfectly whipped butter-topped Buttermilk Pancakes. A thing of beauty!

Before continuing, note the Pancake Syrup available by default at each table is corn syrup based, not real Maple Syrup. Which personally I’m OK with. I like Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth! Certain pancakes and other specialties are served with special syrups, such as Coconut, and ooh! Lilikoi Butter!

Moving along, accompanying the Buttermilk Pancakes it’s served with, Diner K decided to try their house-made Corned Beef Hash, featuring Kosher Corned Beef, along with some scrambled eggs.

Diner EDC also wanted to try the Corned Beef Hash along with two over-easy eggs, while, instead of Pancakes, since others on our table already ordered that, being the true Kauai local boy he is, he opted for rice as his starch instead. Gotta’ stay get!

Diner BDC went for the Portuguese Sausage Omelet, which must be noted from the menu, that the Portuguese Sausage used in it is made in Kalihi. Wow! Also note she immediately hit it with Tobasco. Again, true local Kauai girl, used to her Hawaiian Chili Peppah Wattah…. shoots! Her order also came with a 3-stack of Buttermilk Pancakes.

Pharm.D. Diner MDC went for the French Toast, also served with the made in Kalihi Portuguese Sausage, and wonderful bowl of their house-made Lilikoi Butter. OMG!

Dude, Lili *beeping” koi *beeping* butter! How you gonna’ ack!!! S’-WEET!

Last but never least, Yours Truly went for the Dutch Baby, described on the menu simply as an Oven-baked German Pancake. And man, is this thing HUGE!

So huge, it needs its own Kalihi “sub zip code”. lol 

The Dutch Baby is served with a side of whipped butter, confectioners sugar and lemon wedges. Interesting “twist” with the lemons!

Give that Dutch Baby a twist of lemon, a good dusting of powdered sugar, plus mo’ buttah, mo’ bettah!

I also hit it with some Maple Syrup.

And? The Dutch Baby comes across to me as being sort of a hybrid of a pancake and a custard pie. It’s fluffy, yet dense, all at the same time, while the “meat” of it is sort of gelatinous, and well, like custard. It even taste sort of like custard, yet it sort of taste like a pancake. I didn’t even ask how its made, nor did I Google it. I’m just giving you my impression straight off the top of my head.  I definitely liked the toasty raised crust at the edge. I really should have ordered a side of breakfast meat to go along with this, as it really needs something salty and savory with it. Like pancakes, you can’t just eat the Dutch Baby alone. 

Since Diner Pharm.D. MDCC doesn’t like eggs, she gave me hers from her French Toast dish, however eating that with the Dutch Baby was kinda’ like eating ham with bacon. Kinda’ one in the same, no? lol

I tried a bite of Diner K’s Corned Beef Hash, and it was just “a’aight”. Nothing to write home about. Kinda’ dry, actually. She didn’t finish it, which speaks for itself.

Now, The Original Pancake House’ house specialty Buttermilk Pancakes were pretty much “Bomb Dot Com”. As great as pancakes can get. Fluffy ‘n light, yet rich and full-bodied in flavor, with a silky, almost pillow-like mouthfeel. Combined with the whipped butter and maple syrup, total “money”. Dang it, why am I starting to quote Guy Fieri so much?

While I hardly ever drink coffee now, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, and you must have a cup ‘o joe with pancakes drenched in butter and maple syrup, right? Right!

Summing it up, between a consensus from the 5 of us, The Original House of Pancakes gets 3 SPAM Musubi, meaning “Very good!”.

Diner BDC enjoyed her Portuguese Sausage Omelet, yet ironically questioned the flavor of the sausage itself, as not tasting, well, like Portuguese Sausage, at least in what we’re all familiar with. She really enjoyed her Buttermilk Pancakes, as did everyone else. Excellent, excellent pancakes! Pharm.D. Diner MDCC gave a thumbs-up for her French Toast, while I give two thumbs-up for that AWESOME Lilikoi Butter it was served with! Liquid Gold! Diner EDC and Diner K’s Corned Beef Hash was probably the least praised over, being overall “a’aight”. My Dutch Baby was very good and a very interesting dish — not to mention HUGE! However I wouldn’t order it again, opting in a next visit to try their Coconut Pancakes, which lots of Yelpers rave about.

Service by our awesome server Auntie Kona was super-duper excellent, while our food arrived quickly and hot, coffee and water kept topped ,and parking a breeze right by the front door.

The Original House of Pancakes
Waiakamilo Shopping Center
1414 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817

Tel. (808) 847-1496
www.OriginalPancakeHouse.com

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good.

Related links:
The Original Pancake House (Kalihi location) – Yelp user reviews
The Original Pancake House (Ala Moana location) – Yelp user reviews
The Original Pancake House (Metro Washington DC area) / Yelp user reviews

15 thoughts on “Kalihi Eats: The Original Pancake House

  • March 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm
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    I absolutely LOVE the Original Pancake House. Our menu here is slightly different… well, just expanded, and without the tropical fruit or luncheon meat. They have a spinach, mushroom and cheddar crepe topped with hollandaise, and comes with 4 potato pancakes, for like $9. After eating half, I can’t eat for the rest of the day and have 2 meals with leftovers! It is SO good. Pancakes are one of my favorite foods (just butter, no syrup), so you know the crepe is good if I forego the pancakes! (I never skip on the fresh OJ, though).

    I love the Dutch Baby as well (though yours looks oddly flaccid). Again, just butter. No sugar or stuff. In case you’re curious, it’s made with a special pan. One of my cousins make it sometimes when I go over there for lunch. She often makes a savory one, which is also good. Anyway, you might be able to get away with making it in a skillet as well. I find that it’s very similar to yorkshire pudding, and you can probably make your own just using a yorkshire pudding recipe and a cake pan.

    Reply
    • March 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm
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      h,

      We have two The Original Pancake House locations on Oahu, here in Kalihi, and also near Ala Moana on Kapiolani Avenue. Each having different owners (interestingly both Korean). Both of which you could drive right past if you blink, yet are very popular. Excellent Yelp ratings!

      Speaking of Hollandaise, I was kinda’ bummed they didn’t have Eggs Benedict on the menu, which they have in the past. Come on now, Eggs Benedict is MUST at a breakfast joint!

      Regarding the Dutch Baby, I forgot to mention that our server Kona noted ordering that will require a 20 minute cooking time. And sure enough, almost exactly 20 minutes after the order was put in, I received it, which came about 10 minutes after everyone else’s order. No biggie, as I had some Buttermilk Pancakes to enjoy from Diner K’s order while waiting for it. Probably because I was already eating pancakes, the Dutch Baby was kinda’ overkill at that point.

      As for the Dutch Baby toppings, the maple syrup, butter (along with especially the Lilikoi Butter!) and powdered sugar certainly helped, but I don’t know about the lemon. The acidity wasn’t really working for me with it. Surprising, being I love a twist of lemon with just about anything I eat or drink.

      Have you ever tried their Forty Niner Flap Jacks? Yelpers describe it as a cross between a pancake and a crepe, being it’s very thin, yet still kinda’ fluffy.

      Reply
      • March 3, 2017 at 8:38 pm
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        I’ve never had them, never even considered it. I don’t know why. They look good, and I do love sourdough things. I’d say I’d consider trying it next time I go there, but I know I won’t. The call of the spinach crepe or plain pancakes is always too strong. I only get there about twice a year, if that. Last time I was there, they had a granola pancake, which was tempting. But the crepe won out. The ones up here (and in Miami) have eggs benedict. Several kinds, actually. Eggs Royale seems like a style you’d like (smoked salmon instead of ham). Here’s the menu for the ones in this area. I think you’ll find it’s very different from yours: http://www.ophrestaurants.com/

        Reply
        • March 4, 2017 at 12:18 pm
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          h,

          There’s a bunch of crepe shops here in Honolulu that shape them in a cone and fill them and top them with pretty much anything you can think of, from savory to sweet.

          Looking at The Original Pancake House menu in the metro Washington DC area where you are, these are the ones that stood out most for me! (calories, and all lol)…

          *Waffles Benedict (1151 cal)

          Two(2) poached eggs.Two(2) strips of bacon on a half waffle, topped with hollandaise sauce and finished off with a dusting of Paprika. Served with shredded hash browns. 12.85

          *EggsMichael (908cal)

          A toasted English Muffin topped with sausage patties, Two(2) poached eggs, and our Hollandaise sauce,sprinkled with Spanish paprika and served with shredded hash browns. 12.85

          *EggsFlorentine (749cal)

          A toasted English Muffin topped with sautéed fresh spinach, Two(2) poached eggs and topped with our homemade Hollandaise sauce then sprinkled with Spanish paprika and served with shredded hash browns. 11.50

          *EggsBenedict (748cal)

          A toasted English Muffin topped with Canadian Bacon, Two(2) poached eggs and our homemade Hollandaise sauce, sprinkled with Spanish paprika and served with shredded hash browns. 12.85

          *EggsRoyale (960 cal)

          A toasted English Muffin topped with smoked salmon, Two poached eggs, and our Hollandaise sauce, sprinkled with spanish paprika and served with shredded hash browns. 12.85

          The Eggs Royale with the smoked salmon and Spanish paprika especially for the win! ;-)

          Reply
  • March 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm
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    There are crepe places here, too. The funny thing is that I typically don’t even really like crepes. I attribute that to living off crepes as a poor student in Paris. The crepe man on the corner had a 1 savory, 1 sweet combo for 5 francs (yes, I am old, this was pre-euro), and that’s pretty much all I ate the whole time I was there. Well, there was also a department store near me with a food hall, and they had the best tomatoes and interesting varieties of laughing cow cheese (like mushroom flavored). Anyway, I overdid it with the crepes there.

    The OPH crepe is different though. I guess less authentic. It’s not crispy, and I’ll eat basically anything if it’s filled with spinach. Their Hollandaise is really good, too. And I’m picky about Hollandaise (I never had anything besides homemade till I left home). It’s an interesting texture… almost like mayo (but does not taste or smell like mayo… I hate mayo) in that it’s not runny at all.

    Usually the crepe calls to me because the few times I’m around there is usually after a long dr. appointment for which I fast (bloodwork) and am starving by the time I get there.

    Hmm, I just had a thought. I wonder if I could order the dutch baby with hollandaise instead of sugar? They’d probably think I was crazy!

    Reply
    • March 4, 2017 at 2:09 pm
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      h,

      Honestly I’m not a crepe fan, mostly because I find it doesn’t have the substance I desire. As you said, it’s like “poor man’s food”.  And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, but purely in a “foodie” sense. I’d much rather have a tortilla as my “shell” than a crepe, if you know what I mean.

      I’ll top you on that Dutch Baby idea. How about OPH’s Dutch Baby, covered with salted ‘n smoked salmon sliced very thin, plus capers and onions, then drizzled delicately with Hollandaise Sauce! Oh yeah, baby!

      I did not know you lived in Paris as a college student. Very interesting and cool! No wonder you’re so worldly in knowledge. The only French words I”m familiar with are “Merci Beaucoup” (thank you) and “C’est si bon” (it’s so good!).

      Now if I can only learn some Portuguese language from my native homeland (along with Hawaii, England and Germany). Portuguese really is a strange sounding language, compared to the rest of the latin-based European languages. Seems many words end with “SH”.

      Reply
  • March 4, 2017 at 3:24 pm
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    I love Portuguese, it’s a beautiful-sounding language. I studied in Paris, and in London. But I don’t speak much French at all. The only languages I’ve excelled at have been Spanish and Latin (for all the good that does me). I’ve been using duolingo to try to learn German, a bucket list type goal of mine. I also can read hebrew, but damned if I know what I’m saying. 4.5 years of going 2x a week for 3 hours at a time, and all I learned was how to read it, and a smattering of words.

    You should consider duolingo for Portugese (or some of the similar apps).

    Your version of the dutch baby sounds good. Capers make everything better.

     

    Reply
    • March 4, 2017 at 4:29 pm
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      h,

      Well, Portugal is on my bucket list of places to travel before I’m gone. I’ve been there when I was a little boy, but don’t remember it at all. I want to go back to seek and meet my family of Sousa from my dad’s side in the Azores Islands. I have a cousin (a doctor) who has our entire genealogy mapped out from there, so I won’t be doing it blindly.

      Ditto for going back and visiting my German side (Von Arnswaldt) in Hanover, Germany (my grandfather was half Hawaiian, half German). Not really interested in visiting my English roots (Purdy and Lindsey) in the UK (my grandmother was half Hawaiian, half English, and could speak FLUENT Hawaiian, plus English of course), however I guess it would be worth some good Fish ‘n Chips… and I’ll bring da’ Poi! lol

      Hebrew (Jewish) kind of reminds me of Portuguese, also having that “SH” sound to it. What I don’t get, is that Jewish consider themselves a “race”. Isn’t Jewish a religion, not race? I believe many Jews are actually Germanic in root heritage. Whatever the case, I LOVE Jewish culture and food! Even attended a Jewish wedding. So unique and (in Miami speak) super cool!

      Reply
      • March 5, 2017 at 11:54 am
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        Many Jews are of Eastern European background (my maternal grandmother was from Estonia, and my maternal grandfather was from Russia). I would guess that former soviet bloc countries are more common than German backgrounds, but that’s just a guess. We call those from Eastern European backgrounds Ashkenazim. Yiddish is an Ashkenazi language (or patois, really). Jews also come from other parts of the world, including the iberian peninsula,  Spain, Portugal,  Italy, Turkey and some parts of Northern Africa. We call these jews Sephardi. My paternal grandfather was Egyptian and Tunisian. Jews from other parts of Northern Africa, Asia and the Mid-East are often called Mizrahi, but really, Sephardi is more common to lump together then non-Ashkenazi. I’m not really sure what latin american jews are categorized as, though more are probably eastern european transplants… In miami, the Jewish Cubans were called Jewbans :-D

        I don’t think I’ve ever heard Jews referred to as a race before (unless referring to the Beta Israel jews of Ethiopia, I guess). We are definitely an ethnic group, though. Without a doubt.  Actually I guess several, because culturally, ethnically (and even linguistically) Sephardic Jews are different from Ashkenazi Jews. The culture that most people are familiar with is Ashkenazi. Matzoball soup, latkes, “oy vey!” etc., are Ashkenazi.

        Jewish weddings are great… except very Orthodox ones, which are… unusual. Then again, any religion in extreme is odd to me.

        Reply
        • March 9, 2017 at 6:46 am
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          h,

          Wow, I knew I’d get a HEAP of information on Jewish culture from that question! And you delivered! Actually, IIRC, I asked this question from  you before, however I can’t remember what post.

          I see what you mean by clarifying not a race, being Jews can be either white, black or asian, however are still considered an ethnic group based on the various groups you mentioned. Like you also pointed out, while not a race, typically Jewish have Eastern European roots, which is white, however that’s not what they’re defined as.

          Still, say Buddhists, who are typically asian, with all the different sects of Buddhism, I don’t think any of them consider themselves as ethnically Buddhists. I’m Buddhist, yet don’t consider that my ethnicity. My ethnicity is my ethnic heritage, not based on any religious belief or origin.

          Never heard of Jewish Cubans called “Jewbans” before. Interesting. So would it be safe to say someone from Hawaii who is Jewish is “Jewaiian”? Sounds kinda’ cool, actually! We actually have a music genre here in Hawaii called “Jawaiian”, simply being a mixture of contemporary Hawaiian and Reggae music.

          I have a part-Hawaiian cousin who converted from Catholicism to Judaism in his later years in life. He was totally into  it, even wearing a Kippah regularly. He has since passed on.

          Anyway, I really enjoy these OT tangents we often go off on!

           

           

          Reply
          • March 11, 2017 at 9:53 am
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            Jews are a textbook example of an ethnic group (literally, it’s an example on the wikipedia entry for ethnic group). It transcends religion and ancestral geography. While I am culturally (ethnically) Jewish, it isn’t the religion I follow. I observe the holidays with family, but that’s more about tradition and continuing on the uniqueness of the Jewish experience than religion. I DO observe the two most religious holidays, the Jewish New Year, because I strongly believe in the idea of taking time to think about who you’ve been in the past year, to seek forgiveness for wrongdoings, etc. Obviously the holidays are more intricate than that, but that’s my own takeaway. Ethnically and culturally, I will never be anything other than Jewish. There’s a shared experience among Jewish people… it’s kind of funny because “Jewish Geography” is a little game jews play when meeting each other. Regardless of where they are from, people usually find SOME connection, either a person or place. My parents weren’t religious at all but they sent me to Jewish sleep away camp (for two years, till I refused to go back again) and saturday religious school and other things to learn about jewish peoplehood, not so much about prayers and things. So anyway, I will always be a Jewish person, regardless of my religion (which happens to be Unitarian Universalist).

            I can understand how you don’t equate your Buddhism with your ethnicity. However, I’m sure people who were raised Buddhist, especially the less… accessible (for lack of better term) denominations, would consider themselves ethnically Buddhist in addition to their geographical ethnicity. For example, I’m thinking about Won Buddhism, a Korean version… I pass their temple several times a week that’s the only reason they come to mind.

            One of the reasons that being Jewish supersedes the geographical ethnic identity is that, as a diaspora population, Jewish heritage came before geographical heritage. In most countries, Jews didn’t integrate into society, either by forced ghettoization and hostile sentiment (for instance, Jews were brought to ancient Rome as slaves), or just because of cultural norms.

            Religion doesn’t have to make up someone’s ethnicity, but when it’s part of a unique peoplehood, something that shapes most aspects of your life, then it does. Armenian Christians, for example, are an ethnic group.

            As for Jewish Hawaiian music, sure Jewiian would work. Though Jews don’t really have a musical genre like, say, Christian rock. I mean we do have Mattisyahu… he might even fall into a quasi-Jawaiian category, come to think of it. There is an underground jewish music scene, they’re all basically like Mattisyahu, heavily influenced by Reggae, and used a lot of terminology typically associated with Rastafarians.

            Now I’m off to google Jawiian music. Would “Brother Iz” be considered Jawaiian?

            Oh, unrelated, but I’m too lazy to look up the post I should be commenting on – Lays has a new limited flavor that sounds like something you’d be interested in (given your German heritage): Beer and Brats. I (obviously) have not tried it. Let me know if you do.

  • March 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm
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    Pomai,

    I have the recipe for the Dutch Baby pancake. As a matter of fact, it is printed and photographed on pages 208, 209 of the cookbook “What Hawaii Likes to Eat” by Muriel Miura and Betty Shimabukuro.

    David Eyre, a vice president of Dole Foods in Hawaii and gained some fame when he made it for visiting guest renowned New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne. Claiborne printed the recipe., calling it “David Eyre Pancake”. A few years later, Claiborne told Barbara Walter’s on the “Today” show that the recipe was the most popular he’d ever printed.

    Trick is to use a 10 inch ovenproof skillet or 10 inches cast iron fry pan. Preheat oven 425F degrees and Preheat skillet or fry pan; add batter and bake 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

    You can also Google David Eyre’s name and you’ll get dozens of hits as the pancake has become legendary.

    Reply
    • March 9, 2017 at 6:15 am
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      Ken,

      Ha. Never would’ve thought a Dutch Baby recipe would be in a local cookbook. Then again, Hawaii surely has its share of culinary influence from German immigrants. Looking at the David Eyre Pancake on Wikipedia, the Hotel St. Francis version appears to be the one The Original Pancake House is doing.

       

      Reply
  • March 11, 2017 at 1:48 pm
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    h,

    Wow, you really know your stuff about all things Jewish! I’ll reply more in detail to all that later, however for now just to answer your question whether Braddah Iz’ music is considered Jawaiian, no. His music is either traditional Hawaiian, yet mostly contemporary (modern) Hawaiian in style. He’s done a couple songs here and there with a Jawaiian (reggae-ish) twist, but for the most part he’s contemporary Hawaiian. As you know he passed away a while ago from health complications due to his weight.

    As for Jawaiian (Hawaiian-Reggae) music, nobody can touch Braddah Waltah. To me he’s the “Bob Marley” of the genre. Another group to check out that plays lots of Jawaiian (and other styles) is Kapena.

    Oh, and thanks for the tip on the Beer & Brats Lay’s Chips! I totally wanna’ try it!

    Reply
  • April 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm
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    Long time reader first time poster here. I have read all of your blog entries and I feel like you are all `Ohana. Ken never stops amazing me with his knowledge of well. everything! I currently live between Baltimore and DC and I know the OHOP that H was talking about (it’s next to where I bought my wife’s engagement ring), although I haven’t been there because it’s a bit of a drive. Growing up in Madison WI we had an OHOP not too far from where I lived and I’d get a full order of chocolate chip pancakes (6 pancakes)  with a side of hashbrowns and coffee. Last time I went home to see my father I had the dutch baby pancakes like you ordered Pomai and they were fine but I preferred the chocolate chip ones.  I found the lemon wedges mixed with lots of powdered sugar had a good sweet and sour flavor to them but I didn’t expect the pancake to be as eggy as it was. Next time I may see if I can convince them to throw chocolate chips in the sourdough ones. Best pancakes I ever had was at Ko`a Kea red salt on Maui. The pineapple lemon souffle pancakes…with coconut syrup… *homer drool*.

    I love your posts and getting to learn so much about places to eat on O`ahu. I’ve been to O`ahu 4 times (1984, 2007, 2008, 2013), Hawai`i once (2008), Maui twice (1984, 2016), and Kaua`i (2013) once for a total of 5 trips.

    Reply

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