Obama takes a liking to Pamela's pancakes
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The PG's Mackenzie Carpenter has these observations from Barack Obama's final Pittsburgh campaign stop this morning:
During his visit to Pamela's restaurant in the Strip District, Sen. Barack Obama discovered something Pittsburghers have long known: the pancakes there are really, really good. So good, in fact, that he had to share that knowledge with the news media hounding him for answers on Bill Clinton, voter turnout and so forth: "Before I answer this question, these really were maybe the best pancakes I've tasted in a very long time. Get some take-out," he directed the reporters. "You don't even need syrup on them. They've got [these] crispy edges. Yea, they are really good."
Mr. Obama has a reputation for being somewhat abstemious when it comes to rich food -- which he no doubt discovered during the six-week primary campaign -- is plentiful in Pennsylvania. Offered chocolates at Wilbur's Factory in Lititz, he was reported to have recoiled slightly and muttered something about them being too sweet, and at Pamela's, he ordered a plain pancake and shared it with his wife. What? He didn't try the pancake with strawberries and whipped cream? What's the matter with that guy? At least he ordered the hash browns.
So how did Mr. Obama know to go to Pamela's? We suspect the fine hand of Rick Siger, an advance man on the Obama team and son of locals Pat and Alan Siger. It was Rick who recommended that Michelle Obama try the hamburgers at Tessaro's when she was here two weeks ago, and, sure enough, we spotted Rick standing in a corner today at Pamela's, so we bet it was him. Rick, if you read this, call us up and confess!
Need further proof that A) Pamela's breakfasts are better than anywhere else, and B) People are crazy?
Mr. Obama left most of his waffle from a Scranton diner untouched ... and the remains went on sale on eBay (though as of 5 p.m. today, the listing had been removed).
A final note: At the end of Mr. Obama's visit to Pamela's, someone gave him a Terrible Towel, which, with a fierce grin, he waved over his head a few times. "That's a 'Terrible Towel,' " I whispered to the Reuters reporter, who perked up immediately. "A what?" she asked. "A Terrible Towel. It was created by the late, legendary sports broadcaster Myron Cope. People here wave it at Steelers games. It's a Pittsburgh tradition."
"Fascinating!" she said, scribbling frantically, while a second reporter, listening intently, whispered into his Dictaphone, "Terrible Towel."
More from Ms. Carpenter, with insights on the global attention we're drawing:
The Pennsylvania primary is attracting a huge amount of interest from people all around the world. How do I know this? Well, at the media checkpoint last night at the Petersen Events Center in Oakland for the Obama rally, I stood behind Nippon Television from Japan. At a political gathering a few weeks ago at the Johnstown Holiday Inn, I ran into Andreas Mink, a correspondent for a major Swiss newspaper whose name I can't pronounce because I can't read his handwriting on the back of his business card. And at the Obama rally last night, I sat next to Ben Macintyre, of The Times of London.
Mr. Macintyre, 43, flew here last Thursday from England to write a series of articles on the primaries and a column on the campaign in general. While we waited for Mr. Obama to arrive, rock music thumping and the crowds hooting and hollering every time a local celebrity walked in (Franco Harris, mainly), he enthused in his rich, plummy accent -- "It's a BBC accent," he informed me with a grin -- about the glories of the Keystone State, especially when I asked him to name his favorite place.
"Oh, Scranton, definitely," he said. "I rather love those post-industrial landscapes, sort of scarred, all those old industrial Rust Belt towns. And of course, it's the site of our British import, 'The Office.' "
A former resident of Washington, D.C., where he was U.S. editor for The Times, he is an unabashed fan of this country.
"I love America," he said. "The enthusiasm, the optimism, the getting on with stuff."
But most of all, he said, it's the American political process that he adores. "That a system so huge as this and so complicated could produce such an incredible race, I love that. I'm a hack, and it suits me. Interest in this race in the U.K. is just incredible. Huge. The more they [Obama and Clinton] fight, the more interest there is. It's just brilliant."
First Published April 22, 2008 1:05 pm