Whenever we go to Rehoboth Beach, there are certain things that my husband and I must treat ourselves to: Thrasher's fries, Nicola pizza, Kohr Bros. custard and Dogfish Head beer, to start. (We walk and bike it off, I swear.)
Well, now there's another tradition in the making, and it's called kaiserschmarrn. Fun to say but even more fun to eat.
You'll find this Austrian confection at the hard-to-miss, pink-and-green Kaisy's Delights, located on Rehoboth Avenue about a block from the boardwalk.
Kaiserschmarrn is soft and chewy, reminiscent of both funnel cake and pancakes. In other words, irresistible.
It's made from what is essentially a pancake batter in which the egg whites are incorporated at the last minute, said Thierry Langer, who opened the shop with his wife, Nathalie, and daughter, Chloe.
"It can be a dessert, it can be a snack, it can be a breakfast," Langer said.
Our thoughts exactly, Thierry. Our thoughts exactly.
Depending on when you want to eat it, you can choose from a variety of toppings at Kaisy's Delights, including several marmalades made in house using a maximum of 10 percent sugar. We suggest plum, which is traditional. If you're feeling more indulgent, top your kaisy (an easier to pronounce nickname) with whipped cream or ice cream.
As for that mouthful of a name, it means "imperial mess" in German. Legend has it that a farmer created the dish in a nervous frenzy when Austria's Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife showed up hungry at the humble man's home. To salvage his work, the story goes, the farmer shredded his disastrous pancake and topped it with sugar and marmalade.
The process at Kaisy's is a lot less chaotic. The batter goes into a large rectangular mold on a generously buttered griddle. After the batter sets a bit, the mold is removed so the pancake can be broken into cubes that are further cooked and then shredded. Raisins are added partway through.
The Langer family, originally from Nice, France, enjoyed eating kaiserschmarrn on holiday in Austria. When they stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont (from the Austrian family of "The Sound of Music" fame) and kaiserschmarrn wasn't on the menu, they realized America should be introduced to the treat.
A second Kaisy's location should open next year in Lewes. The idea is to eventually franchise the business. Might we nominate Washington as a potential site?
Kaisy's Delights, 70 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, Del. 302-212-5360. www.kaisysdelights.com. From $3.55. Summer hours 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.