So the dirty trick I use is apparently a short order cook trick. I learned it from family growing up. When you have the food you wanna eat out of the pan, you scrape the excess food off and dump it, then crank the heat to high, so the pan gets hot enough to flash boil water.
Don't let it go too long, because burnt-in food is even harder to get out of a pan. I would be cautious about using this technique on coated and nonstick pans, since it subjects the pan to a fair bit of thermal shock.
When the pan is good and hot, toss a small quantity of water in. I usually use just enough to coat the bottom of the pan to start. It should boil almost immediately before cooling down. Dump the water down the drain, and scrape again. If some food still persists, I usually cover any stuck-on food with water and bring it to a boil, and scrape while it's boiling.
You can also use ice cubes, but I haven't found any advantage, at least not enough to justify subjecting the pan to that much thermal shock.
Basically it works on the principal that soft food sticks to stuff less than baked-on food. It's like a mega-soak, but the heat takes the time from hours to seconds or minutes.