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by Kevin Sylvester / Buffalo Sabres
I love pancakes.  My mom made them every Saturday morning for breakfast.  Yes, every Saturday.  Sometimes, we would have pancakes for dinner.  Special occasions (birthdays and snow days) called for chocolate chip pancakes!  Life was good.  I have carried on that tradition in my house.  My kids love pancakes, especially for dinner.  Good thing too, because besides grilling, pancakes are what I make best.  

Since I had a deep affection for pancakes, I decided that I was going to try the pancakes in the cities that we travel to with the Sabres.  In most cases, I took the easy route and had the fluffy, delicious discs at the hotel restaurant.  I was not disappointed.  I took notes on each order and decided to rank them.   What follows is my review (by city instead of hotel) and rankings of 8 Pancakes of the NHL (it’s only eight due to budget and waistline constraints).

8. Philadelphia - I had high expectations for the City of Brotherly love given they came up with the cheese steak.  I have stated before that the chicken wing beats the cheese steak any day of the week, but cheese steaks are still quite good.  The pancakes I ordered were banana pancakes.  I used to hate these as a kid, but have grown to like them.  This version was accented with rosemary and real maple syrup.  I used a lot of syrup to hide the rosemary, which is better suited on potatoes.
7. Minnesota – Another order of banana pancakes here.   This order had no herb to
spice it up, which is why they rank ahead of the order in Philly.  These pancakes were buttermilk with bananas worked in.  Nothing flashy.   Again, this order came with real maple syrup and it was really good.  Aunt Jemima should be worried.

6. Denver – If size matters, then this is your city.  “Toast” is the only non-hotel
restaurant in my review, and it’s worth the visit.  The menu has several options on the flavor of cakes to order, some gourmet with flavors like crème brule and bananas foster.  I was just looking for a hearty helping of buttermilk with a side of scrambled eggs.  I didn’t need the eggs.  The regular stack of pancakes could have fed The Brady Bunch!  These pancakes were ridiculously huge.  They were as large as the plate, thick, and impossible to finish.  I tried my best, but kept asking for syrup refills to get through them.  Denver would have ranked higher, but the intimidation and waste pushed the city down.  
5. Tampa - I actually didn’t order pancakes here, but a close relative, french toast.  
But not just any french toast -- the crunchy grilled French toast.  It was wheat bread dipped in egg and then topped with corn flakes before grilling.  It’s then topped with berries, bananas, and syrup.  There is no doubt this was the healthiest selection on my tour.

4. Ft. Lauderdale –These pancakes were accompanied with walnuts and a great
view.  The walnuts were caramelized or something close to it, and surprisingly tasty.  The scenery set these apart as I consumed them on a patio overlooking Ft. Lauderdale beach.   No need to write anything more.

3. Edmonton - You had to figure a Canadian city would be high on the list given the
connection to the maple tree (yes, we make maple syrup right here in WNY, but the maple leaf is on the country’s flag!)   Edmonton is that city.  The chocolate chip pancakes are top notch.  The cakes were regular size, buttermilk, loaded with chips, and decorated with powdered sugar.  They were downright delicious. The only reason this breakfast delight is ranked 3rd is due to cost.  $20 for pancakes is too much, no matter how good.

2. Boston - I didn’t think there would be chocolate chip pancakes as good or better
than the ones in Edmonton, but Beantown has them beat (I’m glad there were no beans in the cakes; that would be awful).  These great cakes were slightly bigger than those in Edmonton, but similar in texture.  Light, thin, possessing just the right amount of chips.  There was just a trace of powdered sugar, which I liked.  It made me use less syrup, which brought out more of the chocolate flavor.  These are can’t miss, and cost less than the $20 batch in Edmonton.  
1. When it comes to the top city for pancakes in the NHL the winner surprised me.  There is no way I would have picked San Jose in the top 5 prior to my tour.  Silicon Valley is known for megabytes, not breakfast bites.  But the order I had in Shark territory was scrumptious bite after bite.  These cakes were banana pecan buckwheat.  I was planning on just having buttermilk pancakes, but the description was too intriguing.  I like buckwheat pancakes, and will order them here in Buffalo every now and then.  The cakes in San Jose had the bananas and pecans worked into the batter.   The stack of three came with syrup and a raspberry sauce on the side.  I am not really fan of raspberries, but I dipped a forkful lightly in the sauce and was awestruck how good it tasted!  The combination of buckwheat, bananas, pecans, maple syrup and raspberry sauce cannot be beat.  I still can’t believe how good they were.  Since the Sabres are not in the Pacific Division, the Sharks are my top choice for Stanley Cup Final opponent.  Yep, just for the pancakes.

There you have it.  The top pancakes of the NHL.  I admit this is an incomplete list.  Maybe I’ll add to it this season.  I expect Winnipeg to be a strong a contender.  I would love to see any suggestions you may have for not only the road, but right here in Buffalo. 

Bon appétit!
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