An Ode to the Waffle
If you've logged on to social media today, (you know you have) you've probably noticed that today is National Waffle Day! Now, this is something worth celebrating, friends. I love these doughy little beauties because they are not only delicious, they are amazingly versatile! They are basically a blank canvas and I love seeing just how many ways you can do this dish. Sweet, savory... the waffle can do it all. Which brings us to my favorite use of the waffle... as a magical vessel for fried chicken. You can have a delicious meal of nothing more than a waffle, fried chicken and syrup, or you can mix it up a bit with more daring flavors and it is STILL AMAZING. The possibilities are endless! Being the connoisseur that I am, I have sampled chicken and waffles far and wide, and these are my favorites.
WARNING: You don't want to read this on an empty stomach.
Five Sisters Blues Cafe - Pensacola, Florida
Let's start right here in my hometown, shall we? Five Sisters Blues Cafe is a lovely little spot in the downtown area known for its amazing fried chicken. I can't tell you what it is seasoned with (pretty sure that is a well-guarded secret), but I can tell you it's some of the best fried chicken I have ever had. And this is coming from a southern girl, so I am very well educated on the subject. Their chicken and waffles are amazing. The dish is so simple, but it is perfectly executed. You get a waffle that is the perfect balance of fluffy and crispy, the best fried chicken in town and syrup. Magic. A little pro tip for you... they give you the option of chicken pieces or tenders, but I always go with the tenders. They are unexpectedly large, and you don't have to worry about navigating through the bones.
The Drake Hotel Cafe - Toronto, Ontario
I had the pleasure of staying at the Drake Hotel on my first trip to the Great White North, and had a fabulous experience. Not only was the staff lovely, but so was the cafe that is attached to the hotel. Their motto is "Brunch everyday", which also happens to be the only thing I would ever consider tattooing on my body. (Or "Brunch Lyfe", because I'm tough but I also like to start my day around 10 a.m. with a meal that is basically dessert.) This is clearly a mentality that was shared by many because the place was basically full of people having brunch all throughout the morning on a week day. Is this what life is like in Toronto? Because I want in. Whenever I told anyone I was staying at the Drake, their first question was "Have you had the chicken and waffles yet?" Guys, there is a reason those things are beloved throughout the city. Amazing. So good. I am trying not to drool at the thought. Their spin on the classic includes their Southern fried chicken, cherry-infused maple syrup (the good stuff because... Canada) and crème fraiche resting atop an awesome waffle. The combination is light, and creates the perfect balance of savory and sweet.
The Copper Pig - St. Louis, Missouri
Let me start off by saying that this place is just adorable. The decor is funky but chic and the food embodies that vibe, as well. I had brunch there this summer, while visiting my best friend in The Lou. It was really hard to make a decision (THEY HAVE POUTINE, GUYS.), but I eventually chose the chicken and waffles. Lucky for me, I was there on Father's Day, and that just happened to be a special they were running for the dads. BUT I talked to the owner today, and he said they will be adding it to their brunch menu permanently! You are so lucky, St. Louis. Anyway, here's the lowdown on this little masterpiece... First, we have the waffle, naturally, and it was lovely. Then, we have sweet tea-brined, Southern-fried chicken. As if that's not enough, they top it with a sriracha honey drizzle. It was sweet and lovely with just the right amount of kick. You're welcome for the heads up, People of Missouri.
Stay gold, waffles...
How are YOU celebrating National Waffle Day? Let me know in the comments!