I'm a pancake girl, really. I like their flatness. It reminds me of home. The stories of Off the Waffle couldn't be ignored, though, so we finally took a trip. Then, a week later, we were back, having dreamt of the waffles all week.
The menu has only a few variations, but they're important. You can get sweet-topped waffles, savory-topped waffles, or a bit of a mix. All three routes are promising. Consider the fruit-and-whipped cream waffle: We saw one walk past on our first visit, and its seven inches of stacked fresh fruits (sliced apples and berries) and layers of fresh whipped cream actually made conversation stop in the restaurant.
Or, consider the treat I had on my first visit, which was the special of the day. It had a sunny-side up egg, avocado slices, goat cheese, and basil, dusted with ground cardamom. When the yolk ran just a bit over the other ingredients, that was a near-perfect breakfast moment right there.
What made it better was, in fact, the waffle, which shouldn't be considered just a platform for tasty toppings. These are Belgian Liége waffles -- a phrase that was meaningless to me until I visited. Now I know: that designation has something to do with sugar being in the batter, sugar that caramelizes upon cooking, turning the entire thing into a crunchy, sweet, bready masterpiece.
So place on top of that your harvarti cheese and apples and cinnamon (C's first waffle -- quite good -- the H Bomb); your sliced bananas and melted Belgian chocolate (my recent try: The Overachiever); your bacon, egg, and syrup (The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy that C devoured last weekend). Place on top of it what you will; the waffle will only make the ingredients better.
Yes, the waffles are small. They're not much bigger than an Eggo waffle, and they cost as much as an entire box of those ($2.75 each for plain -- $4 to $7 with toppings). And yes, the store front is small and crowded (though I hear the current situation, on Willamette, is a vast improvement over the Whiteaker house I never visited). If you can go at a good time, though -- before 10 a.m. on a weekend, or later in the evening -- and if you order correctly, this is a filling, tasty meal, for less than it would cost to put the same thing together at home.
Location: 2540 Willamette St.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday