Does the magic of a wee-hours rendezvous after a long night on 6th Street make the pancakes at Austin's Kerbey Lane so good, or can they be concentrated, boxed and shipped to places less eager to be weird?
The short answer is, yes they can.
Available for some time at Rice Epicurean market but promoted recently as a seasonal choice in their weekly Epicurean Enthusiast, Kerbey Lane pancake mixes will cure your nostalgia.
The pancakes are easy to make - you need one cup of mix, two-thirds cup water, one egg and two tablespoons of oil (optional), and you're in business. The gingerbread version sifted out in a powdery cloud of nutmeg and smelled of Kerbey the moment it hit the pan. Pumpkin pancakes showed less promise and needed serious syrup because it reminded the taste buds a little too strongly that we were cooking with gourds. Both mixes required a tablespoon or two more water than the recipe to make the batter pourable but still turned out thick, cakey and flavorful as the real thing.
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Some would argue that Kerbey Lane's atmosphere accounts for much of pancake's appeal, but facedown in a short stack of gingerbread, you'll hardly know the difference.