One with the waffles
The first signs of summer are emerging all around us, as school years begin to wrap up, the sun starts to shine brighter and we get ready to fire up the grills for festive Memorial Day barbecues.
These all are indicators to me that it’s time to fully embrace summer mode in all its free-spirited glory. That means more time spent relaxing, going to the beach and, of course, eating without restraint! Because let’s face it, when you’ve just slept in on a lazy summer’s day, there’s no better way to wake up than with a brunch outing of epic proportions. In honor of all the season’s breakfast feasts to come, let’s take some time to pay tribute to an undeniable brunch classic: whimsical, wowing waffles.
As a European specialty that originated centuries ago, waffles of all shapes and sizes can be distinguished by their signature grid-like pattern. Have you ever wondered how they got this unique look? Some say it has to do with the old Frankish term wafla, considered one of the root words of “waffle,” which translates to honeycomb. When looking at this beloved dish’s resemblance to a glowing beehive, it makes perfect sense, but what’s really important here are those amazing pockets created by the waffle pattern. They’re just so perfectly poised to hold those big globs of melting butter and drizzles of gooey syrup we all so adore. Without further ado, let’s begin our journey to become one with waffles.
Known as Honolulu’s pioneering brunch spot, YogurStory transcends breakfast norms by putting fanciful twists on the most important meal of the day. In addition to omelets, eggs Benedicts, breakfast skillets and purple Ube Pancakes — all of which fuse eastern and western flavors — the Keeaumoku Street eatery presents six dreamy dessert waffles on its menu.
As soon as I heard about executive chef Brandon Stover’s latest Smores ($12) waffle sensation, I knew I had to beeline over there to engulf one myself.
Standing like a pillar of culinary perfection, a stack of fluffy waffle pieces oozes with pillowy toasted marshmallows. This playful dish will rival even your best campfire memories, as the s’mores factor comes to life with Hershey’s chocolate drizzle and graham cracker batter. The welcomed surprises of condensed milk and macadamia nuts top it all off.
“It’s doing really well,” shares Stover. “The Smores waffle is my favorite.” The chef’s creativity continues in Red Carpet ($10), featuring a chocolaty red velvet waffle topped with nicely paired taro cream cheese, crumbles of red velvet cake and chocolate drizzle. And if I can manage to pull myself away from these two beauties, next on my to-try list will be YogurStory’s Dolce De Leche and Chantilly waffles.
815 Keeaumoku St., Ste. 105,
Wailana Coffee House
In Europe, this golden, doughy delight still may be adored as a petit street-vendor snack, but here in the U.S., the waffle has given new meaning to the term “breakfast of champions.” In fact, what we commonly refer to as Belgian waffles actually are amplified, Americanized versions of the European originals.
If you’re looking for a quintessential rendition of this large-and-in-charge specialty, you’ve got to head to a tried-and-true diner like Wailana Coffee House, where American classics and local favorites have been served since 1969.
At the 24-hour eatery, longtime server Sylvia Noneza reveals that Giant Belgian Waffle ($7.95) is as good as it gets. Crisp from the piping-hot waffle iron, yet soft and fluffy on the inside, this model dish is best served with a dollop of whipped butter and one of the eatery’s tantalizing syrups: maple, coconut, boysenberry and sugar-free light.
I tend to like my waffles a bit more done up, so I go for Giant Belgian Waffle with strawberries and whipped cream topping ($9.75). But for those who enjoy waffles for breakfast as well as dessert, Noneza recommends this comforting staple topped with ice cream and hot fudge for $10.95.
Wailana Coffee House
1860 Ala Moana Blvd.,