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We woke early this morning, a regular weekday habit that doesn’t go away on holidays. With just our immediate family expected for Thanksgiving dinner this year, and not until early evening, we decided to go out for breakfast. M. and I donned our warm winter jackets, hopped into our car and drove west toward Bath, PA and the Town & Country Restaurant.
My decision over what to order was made before I stepped from the car. The large sign announced “Pumpkin Hotcakes.” What better choice could there be for a Thanksgiving Day breakfast?
With its homey country decor, the restaurant felt warm and inviting. The smiling hostess immediately showed us to a bright booth off to the left. We asked for coffee and water then settled in to study the extensive breakfast menu. Lots of standard breakfast fare but we also saw a few surprises. The Godfather Omelet was topped with marinara sauce. The chili egg dish looked perfect for a cold winter day. But I couldn’t get those Pumpkin Hotcakes out of my mind.
A friendly waitress took our order then disappeared into the kitchen. We skimmed through sections of the morning paper. Stores will open earlier than ever for Black Friday sales, some as early as 3 AM. (Why go to bed ?) A few department stores are offering Black Friday specials on Thanksgiving Day — online orders only but with free shipping. Amazing. Many retailers vying for fewer dollars.
M. had ordered his latest favorite — poached eggs, bacon, wheat toast. His large eggs were hot, the bacon crisp, and the toast nicely browned. I’d ordered only two pumpkin pancakes; I could have been satisfied with one. They were huge, hot, and delicious. The pumpkin flavor was subtle with the cakes moist and filled with flavor. The waitress had offered me a choice of syrups — regular, lite, and sugar free. I used the lite syrup sparingly. Truly wonderful.
Our bill for breakfast — his two eggs, three slices of bacon, wheat toast, and my two large pancakes, plus our two cups of coffee — came to just over $10 (not including tip). A reasonable price. With its warm, inviting atmosphere, friendly and efficient service, and good home-cooked food, the Town & Country in Bath is well worth a visit.
The Town & Country Restaurant is located at 350 S. Walnut Street (Hwy. 512) in Bath, PA. 610-837-7220. They are open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and also provide take-out orders. Today they are serving a special Thanksgiving Day Buffet from 11 AM to 7 PM.
P. S. This evening we will gather with those closest to us. We’ll dine on roast turkey and stuffing, on sweet potatoes, cranberries, and green beans. After the table is cleared, if there’s still room in our bellies, we’ll fork in some pumpkin or cherry pie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream We’ll talk, and laugh, and take joy in our time together. Family, friends, food — reasons aplenty to be grateful. May you and yours find happiness together this Thanksgiving Day! Blessings and a warm thank you to all.
The winter of 2010 seemed endless. Life grew more complicated when illness struck. Weeks flew by. I wondered when things would return to normal. But then the snows started to melt. Seasonal rains and warming temperatures coaxed leaf buds and flowers into bloom. Spring arrived, in all its glorious beauty.
This morning M. announced that it had been too long since we’d been on one of our diner dates. My improved health was reason to celebrate. He asked where I wanted to go. I pulled out my wish list of Lehigh Valley Restaurants. “You choose,” I said. He glanced at the list then said “the Queen City Diner.” We’d first heard of it from a friend who raves over their warm service and yummy pancakes. Just the ticket on this drizzling spring morn.
Queen City Diner is about a half hour drive from our home. Highway 78 to Exit 57 then north on Lehigh Street. Strangely, I felt almost giddy on our drive. Nothing like a lingering illness to make one appreciate the little things in life. The diner sits across the road from a CVS Pharmacy, just north of the Queen City Airport. We took one of the last parking spots near the back of the building. Inside, the restaurant was packed but our wait was short. Our cordial hostess quickly showed us to a booth next to the front window. The staff bustled through the crowded dining room, taking orders, serving food, clearing tables and counter.
Our waitress delivered a carafe of coffee with two cups, and glasses of water. She gave special instructions on using the carafe. We browsed through the extensive breakfast menu and specials. Assorted omelets and other egg dishes, stuffed waffles and French Toast and, of course, pancakes. So much to choose from, and all of it looked GOOD! I almost ordered the sweet potato pancakes, our friend’s favorite, but decided the blueberry pancakes had more appeal this morning. M. chose a bowl of oatmeal, followed by eggs, bacon, and hash browns.
As we sipped on our coffee, we glanced around the 50′s style diner decorated in the traditional diner colors of dark pink and turquoisy-green. The roomy booths each held a small table top juke box. We resisted the urge to plop in some coins for music; the aisles weren’t big enough to dance. The room was filled with patrons of all ages. Families and couples sat comfortably enjoying their morning out. The delicious aroma of fresh cooked breakfasts drifted from the kitchen.
Our friendly waitress delivered M.’s oatmeal first, as he’d requested. It was a large bowl, hot and steaming. He poured on a little milk and began to eat. Soon the rest of our food arrived. My short stack of blueberry pancakes looked very good, and tasted even better. While the blueberries were only faintly apparent from the top, when I cut into them I found they were each packed with delectable juicy blue. Perfect!
M.’s hash brown patties were browned and crisp. The picture seems to show only one hash brown, but two patties were stacked — thick, and delicious. His poached eggs were slightly over cooked for his taste, but the inside yolk was still runny and a rich yellow. I pinched an end from his bacon and found it wonderfully crisp and salty.
Our total bill (excluding tip) came to just over $11 for a short stack of blueberry pancakes, a large bowl of oatmeal, two eggs, two hash brown patties, three large pieces of bacon, two slices of toast, and two cups of coffee with carafe. All prices on the menu were most reasonable, among the best we’ve seen in the Valley. Service was cordial and efficient. Definitely a place to visit again, and again!
The Queen City Diner is located at 1801 Lehigh Street, Allentown, PA 18103. Telephone 610-791-0240. They are open 24 hours a day. Propietors are Ody & George Draklellis. I hope you’ll try them soon!
Pancakes make me smile. Maybe it’s because I remember the many happy Sunday mornings when my children were young and we made pancakes for breakfast. Big or little, thick or thin, pancakes with chocolate chips, blueberries or bits of bacon. Or just plain. My kids loved it when I poured the batter to make special shapes. Fish or birds were easier to make than tigers but they ate them all. So good when spread with real butter and drizzled with maple syrup.
According to the Pancake Appreciation Society, pancakes first appeared in a cookbook around 1439, but they are probably much older, dating back to Roman Times or before. Using various recipes and methods, known by various names, they are eaten worldwide.
In the Lehigh Valley we celebrate Fastnacht Day on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. But it’s also known as Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday – the last feast day before Lent. It began in medieval times as a chance to use up eggs and fats before the 40 days of Lenten fasting.
IHOP, International House of Pancakes, has built an empire based on the simple pancake. With over 1,300 restaurants across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, they now serve over 700 million pancakes a year. When we were dating, my husband and I sometimes met at IHOP for pancakes and waffles. A few years later, we took our children there for special meals. Happy times.
Pancakes are a simple food. I once read a poignant story about a poor farmer whose wife had died. There was little in the house for him to cook for his hungry family so, they made pancakes. Their troubles were real but they found comfort by just mixing a bit of flour, milk, and eggs, and cooking it on a griddle. Funny how that scene stays with me.
Here’s a delicious old family recipe. It’s not exact but that’s how old family recipes are.
- 1 cup flour
- milk (about 3/4 cup, but don’t add all at once)
- 1 tablespoon oil or melted butter
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 or 2 eggs (depending on size)
Add some milk gradually. The more milk, the thinner the batter. Beat in eggs. There may be some small lumps in the batter. Don’t worry about them. Make sure the skillet is always well greased and hot.
Recently I found this fun video on You Tube. Click the screen to watch it…then go mix up some pancake batter of your own.
Do you have a favorite pancake recipe, or restaurant that serves them? Please share your story by clicking comments at the top of the article.