We generally steer clear of made up food holidays—National Granola Bar Day? STFU—but today's National Pancake Day reminded us there are some pretty inspired pancake creations out there, from sweet breakfast options to the kind of meal you'd be happy to eat any time of the day. If you don't get to try these doughy delights today, be sure to keep them on your radar for your next hangover.
EGGS BENEDICTOWITZ FROM SONS OF ESSEX: Eggs Benedict and potato pancakes are great on their own but when the two join forces they become greater than the sum of their parts. Sons of Essex's food philosophy combines all the different immigrants who've called the LES home over the decades. This gut-busting brunch dish uses thick potato pancakes in lieu of a flimsy English Muffin and tops them with fresh smoked salmon, a poached egg and tops it off with plenty of lemony hollandaise. Make time for a post-meal nap.
Sons of Essex is located at 133 Essex Street on the Lower East Side (212-674-7100, sonsofessexnyc.com)
PUMPKIN PANCAKES FROM CAFE ORLIN: They're not the most out-there wacky pancakes on our list but it's fall, damnit, and we'll take any excuse to talk about gourd-flavored food stuffs. This stalwart East Village brunch destination has been drawing crowds for ages to nosh on a menu of breakfast classics flecked with Middle Eastern flair. A staple of their brunch/breakfast menu is their delicious Pumpkin Pancakes dish ($11), which arrives at your table with a generous pour of cinnamon yogurt on top and a side of maple syrup because decadence. It's spicy, it's pumpkin'y and it's downright delectable.
Cafe Orlin is located at 41 St Marks Place in the East Village (212-777-1447, cafeorlin.com)
MAC'N CHEESE PANCAKES FROM SHOPSINS: It takes a heart of steel to brave Kenny Shopsin's infamous diner/turned Essex Street Market stall, but if you can handle being berated by the curmudgeonly cook and his mean little helpers, you better get your hands on those mac'n cheese pancakes. The heavenly little cakes boast the same consistency and sweetness as a regular pancake, but are chock full of little macaroni noodles and savory, crusted cheese. Sprinkle them with a little maple syrup - your waiter will give you your own bottle, as long as you don't insult him - and dig in; you can either order the pancakes as a standalone ($17) or pair them with one of the menu's one million other breakfast items. (Rebecca Fishbein)
Shopsins General Store is located in Essex Street Market, 120 Essex Street on the Lower East Side (212-924-5160, shopsins.com)
THE HUGE STACK FROM THE STRAND SMOKEHOUSE: This Queens BBQ joint refuses to let pulled pork languish on a bun or sit unaccompanied on a plate when it could be stacked on top of pancakes. For porky pancake lovers with an appetite, the Huge Stack sees four fluffy pancakes with a big 'ole mess of pulled pork on top. Not different enough for you? Make sure to add the blueberries, which add a great burst of freshness, for an extra buck. Pro tip: ask for some of the pepper maple glaze for the side. Do it.
The Strand Smokehouse is located at 2527 Broadway at Crescent Street in Astoria, (718-545-2120, thestrandsmokehouse.com)
PASTRAMI SALMON PANCAKES FROM DAVID BURKE KITCHEN: Chef Burke's addictive version of pastrami ditches the beef in favor of buttery salmon, a perfect riff on the classic smoked salmon for breakfast. Between each pancake the chef layers a couple of slices of the addictive pastrami salmon then tops it with a mustard seed glaze. On the side, tart pickled onions and a dollop of horseradish cream. It's upscale pancake heaven that's worth the $18 price tag.
David Burke Kitchen is located at 23 Grand Street in SoHo (212-201-9119, davidburkekitchen.com)