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37: Corn Pancakes at Maria's Cafe

Cachapas Venezolanas

Cachapas Venezolanas

Because breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, frankly, the best meal in general, we cherish the gastronomical wonder that is Maria's Café.

See also: 38: Seared Salmon with Ginger, Scallion, and Sweet Soy at Quang

Maria's, a Colombian café located on Franklin Avenue, shares a sizable parking lot with Aldi and the Dollar Tree. The entrance to the building where the restaurant is located can be slightly off-putting, as the law offices and other such businesses that share the structure give off a stuffy, cubicle vibe. But within seconds, your doubts will fade, as the savory breakfast aromas of pancakes, bacon, eggs, fried onions, tortillas, and fresh salsa wind their way through the hallway (which is typically packed with hungry brunchers waiting for their names to be called).

But what makes this restaurant more special than most? Two words: Cachapas Venezolanas. Corn pancakes.

And while Maria's boasts six different types of regular pancakes (plain, plantain, raisin and walnut, wild rice, chocolate chip, and fruit), Maria's realizes that the corn pancakes deserve a category all to themselves. The cakes are a steal at $3.80 for one and $7.50 for two, and instead of the expected pancake toppings, the only item offered with Cachapas Venezolanas is Cotija Cheese for an extra $1.75: We suggest you splurge for the cheese.

The hot cakes arrive quickly, freshly flipped from the griddle. They're plate-sized, fluffy, and sweet but not cloying. The dish is rounded out by a giant dollop of butter that starts to melt and find its way into every nook and cranny. The cotija cheese that you sprinkle on yourself provides a savory contrast that makes this dish one of the best options in town, and certainly the best choice for a breakfast lover who often struggles between ordering something sweet or savory. This time, you don't have to make a decision.

Cachapas Venezolanas are available all year round at Maria's Café.

Maria's Café 1113 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis MN 55404

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