Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy National Waffle Day!

Yes, that's right, today is National Waffle Day. And in celebration of this most obscure of holidays, I made the waffle tour of Portland. It should be said that it wasn't really much of a tour. I only visited two waffle establishments, but as far as I know, they're the only two places in town that are specifically devoted to this batter cake.

The first was my friend Jon's cart Flavourspot in North Portland, which I wrote up a few months ago. This time I opted for the Ham and Gouda waffle:

You can get this with cheddar as well, but I recommend the gouda. You'll notice that Flavourspot's waffles are served up in a convenient portable form, perfect for breakfast on the go (Jon is slipping me a sawbuck as I write this)... I don't get up to North Portland that often, so I took the opportunity to swing by St. John's. This area has seen a number of new cafes and coffee shops open up since the last time I visited, one of them being the second location of the perennial NW 21st st. favorite Anna Bannana's:

There's also the newish James John Cafe, in the old Xeno's space, which is well worth a look. Of course, I couldn't leave the hood without getting the obligatory shot of the St. John's bridge:

Later in the day, Jenni and I headed to a recent addition to Belmont street called Jacé Gacé. The shop is apparently named for a french hang glider whose love of waffles was legendary. While Flavourspot is a solidly no nonsense operation that caters to waffleholics on the go, Jacé Gacé takes a decidedly more haute approach to the waffle, with both sweet and savory offerings. They have a number of wines and beers on hand, and have a fairly sizeable gallery space as well (this building used to house the Portland Art Center before they moved into their current Pearl District digs). The beer selection's focus is on brews from Belgium, appropriate given the "Brussels style" waffles they serve. They've done a good job with the place:

It's a pretty intimate space, with tables along one wall near the gallery, a couple of get-cozy couches across from the counter, lots of candles and a patio facing the street. I ordered the "three sides," a waffle cut into six squares, drizzled with honey and walnuts, and served with brie, apple slices and prosciutto:

The salty prosciutto and the tart apple played well together, and the savory umami of the brie served as a foil to the honey's sweetness. Jenni ordered the Curry Asparagus savory waffle, a cornmeal waffle with steamed asparagus and curry cranberry sauce:

This was a pretty mild curry, subtle and sweet, dotted throughout with cranberries. And the asparagus was steamed to perfection.

So... how did you spend National Waffle Day?


Anonymous said...

Not eating waffles, but your pictures and descriptions make me wish I had! LGS

Trisha said...

If I had known it was National Waffle Day I would have made some in the Hello Kitty waffle iron. Today I saw Reefer Madness the musical, Stasi directed. Good pot humored fun!

tommy said...

Reefer Madness the Musical... Amazing! Say hi to the Stas for me.

Anisa said...

WoW! Thanks for the waffle post! I remember only a year ago, craving waffles in Portland, with no real waffle source. Now we almost have a handful of waffle solutions!

tommy said...

Almost a handful... yes, that's exactly how I like to think of it!

Welcome aboard, Anisa!