Pile on the Pancakes, Please!
Happy Sunday, Ono addicts! Wow, what a week it’s been! As editor of Dining Out, I give my heart, soul and stomach to this publication. It’s a pleasure each week to bring you some of the best eats the island has to offer, while also sharing my experiences with you — which, this week, means taking on a crazy challenge (all will be revealed soon enough).
Fueled by my passion for food, I set out on a serious pursuit of pancakes. Ah yes, all I yearned for were fluffy flapjacks fresh off the griddle. And boy, did the following OYK (Ono, You Know) hot spots provide. I put my eating abilities to the test and took on MAC 24/7’s MAC-Daddy Pancake Challenge (that was fun!), had dessert for breakfast at Big City Diner (Apple pie and chocolate chips in pancake form, anyone?) and relished the classics at Kenny’s Restaurant.
Go ahead, read on … this is something you won’t wanna miss!
MAC 24/7 Bar & Restaurant
“Go Big or go home!” That would be my mantra for the next 82 minutes as I laid it all on the line to take on MAC 24/7’s famed “MAC-Daddy Pancake Challenge.” Attempted by many, conquered by few, the challenge before me was to eat three 14-inch pancakes topped with “Hot and Wild” blueberries smothered in vanilla glaze in 90 minutes or less without leaving my seat. It was me against the world … OK, not exactly, but a giant mound of pancakes — a whopping 5 pounds, to be exact!
“Executive chef James Aptakin revamped the original pancake recipe by sprucing it up with special European ingredients, butter being one of them. After experimenting with close to 30 recipe styles, we were left with the perfect pancake,” says Mark Nelsen, director of restaurants for Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel.
While I was trying not to psych myself out, Nelsen started the clock. My strategy? All hands, baby! A fork and knife would just get in the way.
I wolfed down the first pancake in a little less than 10 minutes. If I kept up this pace, I’d finish the dish in no time. Rolling the second pancake into burrito form, it was “bite, chew, sip on water” from here on out. Occasionally, I’d scoop up a mouthful of blueberries to break up the starchy monotony, and 40 minutes later it was demolished. I was obviously slowing down, but that didn’t deter me. The pancakes were amazing, and I had one pancake to go with 30 minutes left on the clock. “I’ve got this,” I told myself.
Now, the challenge turned grueling. I needed an intervention besides water, so I busted out my headphones and music and blasted the volume to pump me up and get my adrenaline going. It worked. My plate was almost empty, but each bite was a feat. I was stuffed, yet I had come so far and giving up definitely wasn’t an option. Three more bites to go.
I won’t tell you what happened next because it wasn’t a pretty sight… but I did walk away with an official winner shirt!
Let’s just say that for a girl of my size Man v. Food‘s Adam Richman would be proud. MAC-Daddy Pancakes costs $22 for two people and an extra $2.50 per person beyond that. For the champs, the pancakes are on the house.
MAC 24/7, known for its enormous portions of gourmet comfort food, also offers Red Velvet Pancakes, Mac-Attack and Shortstack (gluten-free) for all pancake lovers.
MAC 24/7 Bar & Restaurant
Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel
2500 Kuhio Ave.
Big City Diner
By now you’d think I’d have my fill of pancakes, right? Wrong! Big City Diner was next on my list of pure pancake indulgence. Revered for its classic local favorites and all-American comfort food, BCD can feed an army with its heaping portions of onolicious kanack-attack fare. The restaurant opened for business back in 1998 in Kaimuki. It’s since expanded to Ward, Kailua, Waipio and Pearlridge.
When famished, pancakes are a cure-all first thing in the morning. Hot from the griddle, BCD features Old Fashioned Pancakes (short stack $4.49, big stack $4.99) with whipped butter and maple syrup — an original that stands the test of time. Our Big Pancake Sandwich ($8.99) is just that — the ultimate breakfast sandwich that presents a sublime feast of farm-fresh eggs, savory strips of bacon, link sausage and two “BIG” pancakes.
Dessert for breakfast? Yup, that’s how. Roasted Macadamia Nut Pancakes with Haupia Creme Sauce ($7.99 big stack, $6.99 “not so big”) is a prized pick, as is Guava Haupia Pancakes with toasted Coconut Flakes ($7.99), a former restaurant special. Yet, I’m torn between Murphy’s Famous Apple Pancakes ($9.99) and BIG Daddy Chipper ($5.99 big stack, $5.49 “not so big”). Murphy’s Famous Apple Pancakes is apple pie for breakfast. Whole, chilled Granny Smith apples are cored, peeled, sliced, and placed atop three grilled golden-brown pancakes drizzled with warm cinnamon sauce and a load of whipped cream. Man, oh man, now that’s my kind of breakfast. And who are you calling “big daddy”? Obviously, BIG Daddy Chipper, a chocoholic’s eternal love defined by Hershey’s chocolate chip pancakes piled high with a legit helping of whipped cream.
Big City Diner
98-211 Pali Momi St. #900
Lastly, Kenny’s Restaurant in Kamehameha Shopping Center joins the pancake frenzy with hotcakes of its own. Patrons receive a full stack for $5.99 or a short stack for $4.99. The pancakes are ono as is and don’t require a lot of fancy toppings. According to Kenny’s president and owner John Fujieki Jr., the restaurant’s special pancake mix is robust in flavor, and when put on the griddle creates the perfect consistency of fluffiness. For $2 more, have your choice of toppings, be it fresh strawberries, blueberries or bananas.
Then, build your very own Pancake Sandwich ($7.99) with one egg (any style), two hotcakes and choice of bacon or ham (additional eggs and breakfast meat can be added at an additional cost).
“The Pancake Sandwich actually is one of our best-sellers,” confirms Fujieki Jr. “Kenny’s has been catering to generations of families, and that’s very rewarding.”
Serving kamaaina since 1966, Kenny’s holds the recipe for success.
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St.