Welcome to the first installment of our Out to Eat in PDX post series! Portland has so many wonderful and varied food establishments, and we love to go out to eat here and experience the vibrant food culture. So in these posts we’ll share with you the restaurants, food carts and bars we’re visiting, what we got, and what we thought. Let us know if you have a place you’d like us to visit and write about!
We’re really into waffles. Sweet or savory, Belgian or Brussels or Liege style, cooked in our kitchen or eaten at a restaurant – we just really like them. We like waffles so much that (as some of you may know) we’re planning to name our future dog after them.
So naturally, we visited The Waffle Window.
The Waffle Window’s original location is on the corner of SE 36th & Hawthorne, on the side of Bread and Ink Cafe (around the corner from Bread and Ink’s front doors). This is the true Waffle Window, as customers are served through a quaint little window with a red awning in the side of the brick building, much like a permanent food cart. Next to the window, there is ample covered seating where you can sit and enjoy your waffles.
The Waffle Window’s waffles are Liege style, which means they are made with pearl sugar that caramelizes during baking, making a crunchy, sweet, dense waffle. At this visit, Alex ordered The Three B’s, which includes bacon, brie, and basil with peach jam – shown above. The flavor combination of this waffle was unusual, but really delicious! The salty cheese and bacon, sweet jam and waffle, and fresh basil complemented each other well.
I decided to take the lighter, less adventurous route and chose the Granola and Fruit Waffle, shown below, which comes with tasty housemade granola, yogurt and seasonal fruit – in this case, strawberries and bananas – and dusted with powdered sugar. This waffle was sweet and delicious as well, and had a great combination of textures with the crunchy granola, smooth yogurt, and chewy waffle.
Later, we decided to visit TWW’s new location at 2624 NE Alberta, shortly after it opened. This location is not just a window, but a full building with inside seating (although the website tells me a walk-up window will also be added soon).
This time, Alex got the Ham and Cheese Waffle, which includes Black Forest ham, gruyere and jarlsberg cheeses and maple syrup, which was salty-sweet and oh so tasty. I got the Farm Fusion, a delightful savory waffle topped with spinach, mushrooms, tomato, roasted red pepper and topped with a slice of lemony marinated chevre. The earthy veggies on this, along with the bright tanginess of the goat cheese, went really nicely with the sweet waffle. Oh, and another tempting option is The Whole Farm, which is the Farm Fusion + bacon for just $1 more.
Speaking of prices, one reason why The Waffle Window is so great is the low cost. None of their waffles exceed $5, so it’s a nice affordable alternative to going out for $12 Benedicts for brunch (although these waffles would be a great at any time of day). To go really cheap, try the plain waffle for $2, chocolate dipped for $3, or a waffle ice cream sandwich for $3.50. I’m drooling over the ice cream sandwich.
The new location on Alberta also offers ice cream in very unique and delicious flavors, which we happily discovered after the line at Salt & Straw was too long (yeah…we still haven’t been there). I chose a maple pecan flavor, and Alex got something with honey. Our selections were pretty tame compared to some of the unusual offerings – I recall one flavor including fennel!
Now, a bit of history. Alex and I first were introduced to creatively-topped Liege waffles at Off the Waffle in Eugene. Off the Waffle was started by Dave and Omer Orian, two red-haired brothers. The company began as a small food cart, which was located in a dangerously convenient location about a block and a half from our apartment, right on our path to class in the morning or home from the bars at night. The warm sugary scent would waft toward us seductively until we gave in. We fell in love with their waffles which at the time were stuffed with things like pear and cheese or chocolate and fruit and handed to you in a little paper bag. We also loved buying a bag of their frozen Liege waffles to keep at home and satisfy our waffle cravings.
Now, Off The Waffle has expanded to a restaurant (at 2540 Willamette Street, Eugene, OR) with a large menu including savory, sweet, and in-between waffles, as well as other options such as egg dishes, salads, and beer. OTW’s waffle menu is also larger than TTW, including several options with fried eggs, such as the Cyclops the Greek, with kalamata olives, tomato, caramelized red onion, feta, fried egg, spinach, and topped with homemade tzatziki, extra virgin olive oil, and smoked paprika.
On one trip, we couldn’t stop with our two savory waffles. Nope, we split a sweet waffle too, because with a menu like this, how could you not?
Check out the menu to see for yourself what we mean. And, as you may notice, the prices are slightly higher at OTW than TWW, which I’m guessing is due to the use of more expensive ingredients like basil, avocado, eggs, and olive oil. Nevertheless, it is so worth it.
The point I’m trying to make here is that waffles are delicious. Liege waffles, topped with interesting ingredients, can make for some pretty incredible flavor combinations. Both The Waffle Window and Off the Waffle have some delicious options, and we encourage you to check them both out when you are in their respective cities!