BLD Minnesota Edition: Colombian-Style Corn Pancakes in the Most Unlikely of Places

photo-8When someone takes you to one of their favorite breakfast spots and says, “I get the pancakes every time” — get the pancakes.

Or a pancake, as the case may be, if the pancakes are anything like the giant, larger-than-your-face-sized pancakes at Maria’s Cafe in the Franklin neighborhood of Minneapolis, which are stuffed with seasonal fresh fruit or local and Colombian favorites, like wild rice, plantains and corn. At $2.95 per pancake, it’s a hellofa breakfast, and cheap, too. (Throw in a side of bacon or a fried egg, $1 ea., for good measure).

photo-11photo-12The traditional corn pancake, sprinkled with cotija cheese ($1.50), is about as savory and actually nourishing as any pancake I’ve ever had. The sweet corn taste, plus I think they use a little bit of cornmeal in the batter, strikes the same sweet/savory balance as a corn tamale … and the sticky, scoopable corn mash served at Acapulco‘s weekend brunch buffet. Oh, yes. (Which, I never realized, is a distinctly Southern California restaurant chain.)

One of the friends we were eating with “always” gets the fresh raspberry pancake. And so what do I order? Eggs. (cue cricket noises/silence.)


Yep, eggs. Maria’s Colombian huevos pericos, to be exact: “Three scrambled eggs with diced tomatoes, white and green onions, special seasoning and chopped with cheddar cheese. Served with tortilla, homemade salsa.” ($7.50)

The eggs were decent, if a little bland (looking and tasting). The best thing about the eggs is that they were improved upon with the fresh salsa and two types of cheese (I added some cotija cheese, as well).

Luckily, my dining companions were as interested in my eggs, as they’d never deviated so far from the menu and wanted to try them, as I was in their pancakes, and we shared and ate amicably.

I’m generally terrified of pancakes and their great potential for dryness and lack of character. The fact that I’ve had pancakes two weeks in a row, well, that probably hasn’t happened since I was under the age of 10 and my Dad was in the habit of making Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes for us on the weekends.

I think the key to these two successful pancake endeavors is the adding in of stuffs, fruit and otherwise. In fact, I’m on the lookout now, for more …

TIP: Maria’s Cafe serves breakfast all day. Sweet.


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