Food Trends Hit-Or-Miss Pop-Ups

Breakfast Salad and Souffle Pancakes Are A Thing At This OC Pop-Up

Photo: Greg Nagel

I’m not sure what I did in life to deserve this, but I somehow got coerced to order a secret menu item: breakfast salad at brunch. But here I am, camera in one hand, fork in the other, cracking runny yolk with a plastic fork over various arugula, thick smoky-bacon chunks and potato crunchy bits like it’s some sort of health-nut food porn. “Bro, want me to hold your light so you can get that shot?” Nah homie, I don’t photograph salad.

It’s a salad, with an egg, with other breakfast stuff tossed in. It’s really good, but hey man, no salad ever asked to be photographed, unless it was made by the man who brought us the spaghetti grilled cheese.

Photo: Greg Nagel

The solid line of hungry Instagrammers out the door is at least thirty-people deep and is here for something else: the amazing Japanese-style souffle pancakes. “When we talked about doing a brunch pop-up, I knew I wanted pancakes… but not just any old pancakes,” says chef-owner Paul Cao of Burnt Crumbs in Irvine, California. “I went down this rabbit hole of the souffle pancake and tested these for a couple of months, and here they are, perfected,” he continued with a grin.

Photo: Greg Nagel

The souffle pancake is unique for a few reasons. First is the time it takes to prep. Each one has to be crafted from scratch per order, otherwise, they’ll deflate faster than a football in New England. Total time from order to plate? Roughly twenty-five to thirty minutes.

Once the batter is whipped and folded into an egg yolk mixture, it’s then ice-cream scooped on a griddle, then covered until flipped. Each pancake maintains a poofiness up to one inch thick and is stacked two high, then garnished for service. I went with fresh strawberry cream, a couple of dustings of powdered sugar, and some fresh fruit on top. Digging in,  the consistency is sort of like a sponge cake that’s light and fluffy, making the plate super satisfying to jiggle. They’re best hot, so be sure to get a couple orders, one to eat first, then one to shake until your brunch date feels uncomfortable.

Burnt Crumbs Brunch Popup is at their Irvine location only. Follow them: @burntcrumbs