Unlike some food holidays with questionable origins, International Waffle Day has some semblance of history, rooted in a narrative other than one constructed by a corporate brand. Celebrated in Sweden as Vårfrudagen, it coincides with the Feast of the Annunciation. In Los Angeles, waffles are less a snack than a meal; they're just as likely to pop up on breakfast or dinner menus as they are on brunch menus. And in both versions, the waffle often is joined by fried chicken. In honor of Vårfrudagen, we gathered some top spots around L.A. for traditional and not-so-conventional waffles.
The name indicates there's more to the menu than, well, waffles, but with two dozen or so variations of the Belgian kind, the other sweet breakfast options (crepes, pancakes, French toast) seem less interesting. Here waffles are dessertlike, topped with whipped cream, fruit or Nutella, and might require at least two cups of coffee. 17200 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 789-5937.
A chocolate shop first, Lady Chocolatt Cafe has nevertheless been outfitted to serve some of the better waffles in L.A. The waffles come plain, Belgian-style or topped with choice of sauce, whipped cream, Canadian maple syrup or ice cream. 12008 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 101, Los Angeles; (310) 442-2245.
The Buttermilk Truck makes it clear where waffles belong, offering them only on the late-night menu and with fried chicken. It's a waffle with character, spiced with cinnamon, and it pairs awfully well with crispy chicken. Check the website for times and locations.
At the Tasting Kitchen, chef-owner Casey Lane says his fried chicken and waffles were inspired by Cafeteria in Chelsea, which serves them 24 hours a day. Something Lane might try if he ever gets bored running both his Venice restaurant AND the Parish downtown. 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 392-6644.
Waffles are served on the softer side at Roscoe's, which for some provides the perfect textural accompaniment to their fried chicken. Gravy and onions are possible additions to the pairing, but most people avoid messing with a classic. 5006 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 934-4405.
Considered another classic in L.A., Pann's Belgian waffles and wings is a house specialty that often gets mentioned in the same breath as Roscoe's. It's not unusual to see it drawn into a faux food fight by local food fans and bloggers. 6710 La Tijera Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 670-1441.
The Liege waffle is a Belgian classic with pearl sugar mixed into the batter, so when heated, it comes through half-caramelized and half-crystalized. At Waffles de Liege, there are no distractions: The question is not whether you want a waffle but how you'd prefer it to be topped. Check the website for times and locations.
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