Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome
The last Stampede pancake griddle has been cleaned and put away for the year, and it'll be another 365 days before we can enjoy a week and a half of free breakfasts again. How did you score? I did better than average this year—which is not saying much, considering my average is 0—and I can proudly say that I even went on a "Pancake Crawl" on Wednesday, wherein my friend and I hit three Stampede breakfasts downtown. (FYI - Fluor dropped too much money on location, and Gulf Canada Square does one of the heartiest breakfasts out there... and people know it!)
For those who are worried about going through flapjack withdrawal, there's a charming little restaurant in the SW just off of Crowchild where people can get their pancake fix. The Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus specializes in Dutch pancakes, however, so if you're craving fluffy buttermilk pancakes covered in Aunt Jemima's, then you should probably look elsewhere. But if after 10 days of Stampeding you're ready for something a little different, then you should definitely give this place a visit.
Dutch pancakes, or pannenkoeks, are basically large crepes (in this case they are 12" in diameter) that are topped with your choice of a variety of savoury and sweet toppings. If you're dining with others, the staff are more than happy to split the crepes for you (or at least provide the tools to do so), as long as you let them know beforehand. Ray, my dining companion (whom you may remember from such fun times as Han's), suggested that we order one savoury and one sweet pannenkoek and have them divided in half. The staff were also great about serving us the savoury pannenkoek first, before giving us the sweet one "for dessert".
Knowing what an indecisive person I am, Ray gave me the "challenge" of choosing what we were going to eat. The task was a little daunting, given that just amongst the savoury pannenkoeks the choices ranged from a simple onion ($6.95) to an almost-intimidating potato, onion, bacon and cheese ($11.95). The sweet pannenkoeks were priced similarly, but was a bit of an easier decision to make as I eliminated all the choices that had whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or ice cream (Helloooo, we're talking about breakfast here!), which was a bit of a pity because the "feature of the month" was fresh strawberries, but you couldn't get them alone.
For our savoury pannenkoek, I settled on the potato, onion and cheese ($9.95) as I do have a soft spot for potato pancakes and was wondering what a Dutch take on them would be like. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the potatoes and onion had been integrated right into the crepe and that instead of being covered in gooey, melted cheese, there was only a thin, crisp layer of it at the top. So although the crepe itself was very filling, it tasted very light, especially with little dabs of cold sour cream.
For presentation purposes, our sweet pannenkoek, warm saskatoon berries ($7.95), was served whole, but with a spatula so we could dole out our own portions. I chose saskatoon berries because I'd never had them (though I've had them in pies and as juice), and was hoping this would bring me a little closer to the real thing. The topping was like a pie filling, with the warmed saskatoon berries swimming in a syrup created from their own juices and was surprisingly sweet. I've heard that their taste is usually described as a cross between a blueberry and a blackberry, so I was hoping that there would've been just a bit more tartness.
Still, I enjoyed the pannenkoek very much and liked how unmessy it was to eat, despite the fact that unlike the savory pannekoek, the berries were not integrated into the batter itself. Of course, because it was already so sweet, there was no need for any stroop, the Dutch syrup that is available at each table.
The restaurant looks like a hole-in-the-wall inside and out, and the friendly staff help maintain the family-run atmosphere. Despite its appearance, it is quite well-known around the city and if you go on the weekend around brunch time, you should expect a long wait that often goes out the door. Ray and I went about an hour after it opened on a Friday and the place was still packed (though there was no wait), but it might've been because it was the weekend before Canada Day and many people had the Friday off. Wait or no wait, Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus is well worth the visit, what with its great service and wide selection (including vegetarian options!) of awesome food.
Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus
2439 54 Ave SW
Calgary AB T3E 1M4
Open Wed-Fri 10 AM-8 PM; Sat 8 AM-8PM, Sun 8AM-3PM. Closed Mon & Tues. Expect a long wait on weekends.