Photos by Jen Judge
Last month, Santa Fe’s Modern General rolled out its new menu featuring owner Erin Wade’s creative and healthy twist on the classic pancake, playfully referred to as “Modcakes.”
Wade, the owner of three other restaurants under the “Vinaigrette” name, is known for her focus on sustainability and using the produce grown on her 10-acre farm in Nambe, New Mexico to supply her restaurants in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Wade had been searching for a breakfast option that suited Modern General’s clientele; something “both timely and timeless, nourishing and innovative.” Wade explains in the Modern General press release, “We found one by looking to the past, to a humble dish reinvented for a modern palate.”
The fact that pancakes bring a certain element of nostalgia to Wade’s new menu was a priority consideration. Wade’s grandfather, whom she never met, was known for “spanking” his pancakes because he preferred them thin. This tradition was passed down through two generations to Wade and her sister.
Emphasizing nutritional value and whole ingredients, Wade uses alternative grain flours as the base ingredient in her modcakes. Described on the Modern General website, these grains include: Teff, an Ethiopian grain high in minerals and protein; White Sonora Wheat, a North American wheat that contains less gluten than “hybrid hard wheats” and finally, vitamin rich corn.
Wade and her team experimented on the new menu for four months and even had to restructure the Modern General kitchen to accommodate all the various components that the preparation of the modcakes requires.
I recently had the opportunity to taste several dishes from the new menu. I chose two from the “savory” side and two from the “sweet.” All the dishes were creative, inspired, and visually appealing. My personal favorite was the light and fluffy Green Chile Cilantro Corncakes. Topped with a fried egg and drizzled with a red chile maple syrup, I could have easily consumed a second round.
The most unique offering on the savory menu are the Supercakes, which are a nod to Okonomiyaki, a very popular Japanese street food. Filled with a variety of vegetables such as kale and cabbage, the cakes and its sauces have a memorable umami flavor.
Looking for something sweet to pair with a cup of tea or coffee? I would suggest trying the Coconutcakes or the Lemoncakes, two customer favorites. Both dishes are decidedly sweet but are delightfully offset by a tangy fruit curd.
For a more classic offering, try the Plaincakes, a simple TeffCake, SonoraCake or Corncake, served with maple syrup and the restaurant’s collection of house-made seasonal jams.
Not a morning person? Don’t worry. Modcakes are available all day at Modern General and make a great lunch option.
637 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Monday – Saturday: 8 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm