“It’s a good thing.” My appetite is coming back.
True to our word, we returned to Sophia’s Place for breakfast this weekend – but our friend Josie wasn’t there. Since we had an important appointment at 10:00 a.m. (the Iowa vs. Minnesota football game was on), we pulled into the parking lot fifteen minutes before the 9:00 a.m. opening. A few minutes later, another car pulled in. And then another. And another. Soon we decided that we had better get in line. By the time 9:00 rolled around, there were ten of us in line – for a restaurant that seats about twenty. By 9:08, with those of us seated and those in line to order, the place was full.
A little history here. Sophia's Place is the creation of owner and Chef Dennis Apodaca and is named after Dennis' daughter Sophia. Mr. Apodaca has cooked in many restaurants in San Francisco and Santa Fe and was the Sous Chef at the upscale Santacafé in Santa Fe, NM. He has worked for such well-known chefs as Mark Miller of the Coyote Café in Santa Fe and for Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA.
I was still intrigued by the breakfast tacos, but we came for Chef Apodaca’s famous pancakes. Our choices were the blue corn pancakes and the mixed berry pancakes. Chuck ordered the former (the full stack), I the latter (the half stack). And, since I still regretted that half slice of bacon I gave him the other morning, we each ordered a side of the wonderful bacon.
My short stack was two six-inch diameter cakes that were no more than a quarter-inch thick. I give the chef credit for realizing that a good pancake doesn’t have to cover the entire surface of the plate and be a half inch thick. Nothing is worse than biting into raw pancake batter. With one caveat, these were exemplary pancakes. The cakes were light and flavorful without that sharp taste that too much baking powder imparts.
The caveat? When you advertise mixed berry pancakes and a short stack (not including the bacon) costs $6.00, I would like more berries than the few small nuggets I could discern. And these were topped with the same blackberries and strawberries (frozen and thawed) that topped my french toast the other morning.
But I do have to give the kitchen props for the homemade piñon butter that topped each of our stacks. I am not talking about grinding some pine nuts into commercial butter. I am talking about actually making the butter base. This was a good thing.
Chuck’s full stack was four cakes about the size of mine and had a mild but noticeable corn flavor. These were wonderful when drizzled with the real maple syrup and accompanied with the salty and lightly smoky bacon. So good that I am on a mission to find blue corn flour so that we can try this at home.
You will be glad to know that we made it home in time for kickoff and that Iowa defeated the dreaded Golden Gophers to retain custody of the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy (a seventy pound bronze pig trophy). It’s a Midwest thing.
I really liked both of our meals at Sophia’s Place, but there were some flaws; so I can’t award anything higher than 4.0 Addies.