Monday, June 7, 2010

Feel Certain About Goodness: Off The Waffle

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 LiƩge 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

Off The Waffle on Urbanspoon


  1. I cannot say enough good things about this place or its waffles. Bonus that they're open after 9 PM, when so many things in this town close up shop.

  2. YOU WENT BACK THERE WITHOUT ME??!? Why can't Off the Waffle be located around the corner from my house instead of Buddy's Diner?

  3. I'm sorry, Laurie! But -- we found a coupon one morning, and then... it was right there...

    :) Anytime you need a waffle wingman, though, you know I'm there for you.

  4. I was completely unimpressed by this place. The service doesn't exist (you have to stand at a counter and hope for one of the employees to deign to take your order), yet the pricing and the yammering for tips mimics a full-service joint.

    The food was good, but the toppings were skimpy and overpriced. It's really, really not worth the money to get a good meal here. For example, I paid extra for maple syrup and got maybe a tablespoon in a tiny container. Fruit toppings are minimal in quantity.

    There are signs enjoining you not to waste napkins. Seriously? After what I paid for small portions and no service? This place is fine if you really, really like a hipster vibe,