Sacramento, once held the “City of Trees”, has recently been named the “Farm to Fork Capital”. And rightfully so, its conveniently nestled among many farms in the region. So what better way to spend an after-brunch meal than going to the Certified Farmer’s Market.
First, without any planned restaurant, my husband and I decided to just drive until we found a place that we’ve never been to before. Initially, we’ve decided on the popular “Tower Cafe” on Broadway. Before even reaching the parking lot, it was clear that we were too hungry to wait. So we’ve decided to drive some more until arriving at the Pancake Circus.
With its outdated exterior and dilapidated neon lights, I came in with an open mind however was prepared to be disappointed. Within a second upon entering, we were greeted and seated immediately. And almost just as fast, our server was there to get our order. As we always do, my husband and I ordered one meal we can both share – corned beef hash with eggs and pancakes. Our food is as good as it can get for a diner menu. Obviously, nothing upscale and fancy however we both really enjoyed not just the food but the hefty serving.
What struck me the most is that it was familiar and different at the same time. Familiar, because this is a kind of mom and pop diner that you often see in some 80’s movies. The first greeting you’ll get is from many different kinds of clowns, from stuff animals to framed pictures. Well, it is called Pancake Circus after all. Then, there’s the very family friendly atmosphere not just from the staff but from the customers. It was mostly filled with retirees chatting with their friends (or strangers) from the neighboring table. And the staff… well, were the most efficient bunch that I’ve seen in awhile. It just seems as though everybody knows what to do at any given time and ever so efficiently. Pancake Circus seemed different because it was just different from the chain diners that I tend to gravitate to.
I’ve read an article recently about the dying American Diner culture with the changing eating habits and the rise of new and faster alternative to breakfast. And my experience with the Pancake Circus makes me both happy and sad. Happy that a 50-year-old diner like Pancake Circus seems to be faring by fine and sad that this iconic American tradition could be seeing its last light in the next few decades.
So, if you’re ever in Sacramento and looking for an excellent breakfast and lunch spot, don’t skip Pancake Circus! Come for the food, come for the great American tradition, come for an institution that’s been serving pancakes for over 50 years!
Right after brunch, we headed to the Certified Farmer’s Market. It was a spectacular combination of sight and sound. From the beautiful sound of percussion instruments (from a live band) to the varied fall harvest colors and the bounty of fresh produce, there is something for everyone to enjoy. It was quite beautiful! There were pomegranates, persimmon, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and even sunflowers.
Days like today makes me appreciate the simple pleasures of life. Happy Sunday!
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