Sunday, January 24, 2016

Off the Map: Back and Not Quite Better Than Ever

Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes -- BLD, Los Angeles, CA

To say we've been a little lax on the Best Thing I Ever Ate front lately would be an understatement.  In fact, it was not until perusing our own blog (granted, probably the most traffic the site has gotten in ages) that we realized that it has been nearly a year and a half since we last put the Food Network stars to the test regarding the foods they have deemed to be the best.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Drunker
In our defense, the program itself stopped producing episodes years ago, so forgive us for going similarly defunct.
The Day We Run Out of Places to Eat Will Be a Tragic One for America
However, now, unlike the show itself, we are back and not quite better than ever.  Having plowed through nearly everything on the Manhattan food list, we have whisked ourselves off to Los Angeles, CA, to taste as many of the dishes in the second-most-prevalent BTIEA city as possible.
You Can Find Our Handprints Fossilized in a Local Bar
In our time away, Ginger has acquired a lick of digestive issues, which have been blamed on everything to shrimp (which she has given up) to dairy (which she sometimes gives up) to wine (which she will never, ever give up).  These bouts of uncomfortableness have left her with a rampant paranoia about what she places in her mouth, if (thankfully) not an actual refusal to eat anything.  
With Age Does NOT Come Wisdom
Speaking of stupidity, among our many reasons for taking years to venture to Los Angeles is our absolute refusal (some would say "inability") to drive.  We are thus being hauled around the city by a rotating cast of Uber and Lyft drivers, all given with the unfortunate task of putting up with us.  
Terror in Four-Lane Highway Form
After a brief sojourn to Disneyland, the first stop on our tour of LA finds us at BLD, home of Aida Mollenkamp's preferred Best Thing I Ever Ate WAKE UP CALL dish, the ricotta blueberry pancakes.
No Pressure, LA, But We're a Highly Judgmental Species
It is at this locale that we discover our first surprise about LA: the people are disarmingly nice.  We are greeted by a pleasant gentlemen who is not only the host, but also appears to be the waiter, bartender, busboy, and most likely our future Uber driver as well.  We assume we are going to be scoffed at when we ask for a single order of the desired pancakes, but he doesn't so much as raise an eyebrow at the fact that we're not, at the very least, even ordering a side dish.  
Have We Found a Land Where Frugality Is Appreciated?
Instead, he fetches two smaller plates so we can properly divide the pancakes between us, along with our coffee (Vodka) and latte (Ginger -- made with almond mild, due to the aforementioned dairy issues).
Whoever Thought Ginger Would Turn Out to be the More High-Maintenance of the Two of Us?
A few minutes later, two of the largest pancakes we've ever seen appear before us, with a small tub of butter and a vat of real Vermont maple syrup beside them.  While Ginger is instantly impressed with the fact that they're serving "real" maple syrup alongside their pancakes, Vodka is unclear of the difference.  ("Aunt Jemima's is corn syrup."  "And what's this?"  "...Maple.")
Why Vodka Would Never Survive in the Wilderness
We stab into the sides of the cakes, hauling slices onto our respective plates and dousing them with the appropriately soft butter and hot syrup.  Ginger tastes first, and when Vodka asks for an assessment, she answers simply, "It's a good pancake."

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why we shall never write food reviews for the New York Times.
Also Our Inability to Effectively Cut a Pancake
The pancakes are in fact quite tasty -- fluffy and soft, they are less sweet than many we have tasted, with only the scattered blueberries serving as a burst of sugar (along with, of course, the maple syrup).  In truth, we probably would have been well-off ordering a side of bacon, since the dish seems to call for a touch of salt on the side, but overall, we have no complaints about the pancakes themselves.   Other than the fact that we find them a tad on the large side (even between the two of us, we aren't capable of finishing the dish, and heaven knows we don't exactly eat like birds), we would certainly recommend them to anyone who generally enjoys a less savory breakfast.
Honey I Shrunk the Plate

And with that, we are back on the sidewalks of LA doing the unthinkable: walking to our next location, despite the otherwise barren sidewalks.  After all, you know what they say about taking the girls out of New York....  

BLD's Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes: 4 stars

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