A new eatery opened recently in our neighborhood – Tia B’s La Waffleria. An offshoot of Tia Betty Blue’s – a very popular spot despite its out-of-the-way location – La Waffleria has taken the yummy basis of Betty Blue’s Blue Corn Waffle Boats and spun it into a whole restaurant. A whole restaurant of waffles? We headed there at the very first opportunity.
I was not entirely free of trepidation as we approached the remodeled house that holds the restaurant, off Carlisle right around the corner from Stranger Factory. A couple of early online reviews had dinged the service for being very slow, and we arrived behind a group of six, so I feared it might be a while before we ate. (And I hate waiting!) Still, we trooped in and took our place in the queue.
As we waited in line, we perused the menu above the register. La Waffleria has a menu split into Sweet and Savory, and each half boasts concoctions that sound absolutely mouthwatering: for instance, a sour-cream buckwheat waffle topped with smoked salmon, capers, onion, tomato, and dill sour cream sauce; or, on the sweet side, the Bombay Coconut Waffle topped with mango sauce and cardamom-coconut milk “whipped cream.” (Both of those, believe it or not, are gluten-free, and the latter is lactose-free as well.) You can also mix and match from a variety of waffle batters, inclusions (such as bacon, nuts, fruit, and green chile), syrups, sauces (Prickly Pear Lemon or Passion Fruit Green tea, anyone?), and flavored whipped creams. The potential combinations are endless.
Naturally, we decided to get one sweet and one savory waffle and share. Since blackberries are my favorite fruit, we chose the rye and sour cream waffle topped with blackberry sauce for our sweet; for savory, the Waffle Espinaca, a buttermilk waffle with spinach, over-easy eggs, and creamy green chile sauce. The wait in line wasn’t bad, though it was made awkward by the fact that the silverware is stored in a place where anyone who wants a fork has to break through the line to get it. Not a big deal, but perhaps the layout could use some tweaking. When we reached the counter to order, our server was cheerful and friendly. She took our order and poured me an enormous glass of orange juice (a steal at the price, which I think was $2.50). Arne filled a mug with very good coffee from a large urn, and we found a seat.
The interior of La Waffleria is a little sparse but cute, a charming old home decorated with antique waffle irons and waffle-related photos. We sipped our drinks and jealously watched as plates went by, piled high. They came out of the kitchen at a pretty fast clip – the cashier had explained that they only have a couple of vintage waffle irons, but they are so hot that the waffles cook in 60 seconds – and the wait was quite reasonable.
|Vintage details. What kind of plug IS that?|
The waffles, when they arrived, were beautiful, quartered and arranged attractively before the toppings were added. Though the toppings were delicious, the waffles themselves were the starring attraction – somehow both dense and light, chewy with just a hint of crispness at the edge, as eggy as a good crepe and deeply satisfying. The rye-sour cream waffle had a delightful tang; the buttermilk one doesn’t sound as sexy but was hauntingly delicious, by far the most flavorful waffle I’ve ever had. The blackberries were just lightly sweetened, letting their true flavor shine (though I did kind of wish for a thicker sauce). The “mild green chile cream” was fabulous with the spinach, but don’t let the description fool you – despite the cream, the heat of the green chiles shone through. Tia Betty Blue’s chile is hot enough to be a challenge for me, and while it didn’t make me sweat or anything, the green chile cream sauce at La Waffleria shares its pedigree.
Overall, the meal was delicious and inspiring – I made a savory waffle concoction the week after visiting, which I will tell you about soon – the dining room pleasing, and the staff friendly. We will most definitely be back!