September is National Breakfast Month and I kicked off its first day in style with a Sunday morning feast at a hot Pittsburgh spot.
And it wasn't just any spot, but one featured on the Food Network and praised by foodies, the press and the president himself.
I must say the hour wait to get inside Pamela's Diner in Pittsburgh's Strip District was well worth it.
Surrounded by colorful decor and vintage family photos covering the walls, a group of 12 of us enjoyed plates of world-famous this and well-known that until we couldn't possibly manage another bite.
Although everything we sampled was fantastic, most folks come (and wait, however long it takes) for Pamela's signature "crepe-style hotcakes," which really are like a cross between the two. They're golden brown and buttery like pancakes, but thin and light like crepes, giving them crackly and crispy edges and an almost toasted texture.
Darnedest thing I've ever seen. One of the most delicious, too.
You can order them plain or stuffed and topped with bananas, walnuts, chocolate, strawberries and what-not. I enjoyed mine rolled up like crepes with blueberries, sour cream and brown sugar inside and a scoop of whipped cream on top.
They're so good and sweet you don't even need syrup, which many guests forego.
Few pass on Pamela's popular Lyonnaise potatoes, so I couldn't, either. They were incredible, although I shudder to think how much butter went in to making them so.
One special that day was a breakfast hash blending the restaurant's house-made chorizo sausage with the aforementioned butter-blessed potatoes and cheese, which you stuffed inside flour tortillas for phenomenal results.
Still, it's those unique pancakes I can't get out of my head. Although the recipe is a closely guarded restaurant secret, check out www.pamelasdiner.com to see what all the fuss is about.
Oftentimes, places like this featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" are more gimmicky than good - celebrated for how giant the portions are or how chockfull of cheese everything is.
But Pamela's is beloved for simple food done simply well. That's worth a wait in my book.
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Speaking of Pittsburgh, a onetime West Virginia State Recipe Challenge winner that has enjoyed retail success there as well as in markets like Charlotte, Cincinnati, Chattanooga and Nashville will soon be available in local stores here.
Owned by former Marshall University quarterback Jim Gilbert, Bluegrass BBQ has struck a deal with Kroger to start appearing on shelves in the grocer's Kanawha City, Marmet and Barboursville stores. A new relationship with Shop West Virginia will increase its distribution throughout the state as well.
Bluegrass BBQ's three all-natural, gluten-free flavors include Spicy, Blueberry and Original, which features a unique blend of barbecue styles from around the country - smoky (Memphis), spicy (Texas), sweet (Kansas City) and vinegar (North Carolina).
Want to try some yourself? Gilbert will be providing free samples from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Kroger in Kanawha City.
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And speaking of barbecue, I'll be saving a great recipe sent my way this week from Amoretti, makers of infused oils, vinegars and flavored syrups.