Discovering that today is National Waffle Day triggered a memory of my mother, who treated us to waffles on leisurely Sunday mornings.
Standing at her white-tiled kitchen counter, she whipped the egg whites until stiff before gently folding them into the flour, yolk, and baking powder batter to guarantee an airy waffle. Then she added chopped walnuts, which brought crunch and texture to the bread. For the grand finale, after brushing the checkered griddle halves with Crisco oil, she laid out two soft strips of cooked bacon which sizzled on the hot metal before she poured the batter over them. We stood by hungrily waiting for steam rising from the iron to subside. It took seven or eight rounds to satisfy the five of us with these nutty, crisp, airy, smoky, maple syrupy cakes.
According to “Larousse Gastronomique,” the definitive encyclopedia for international food enthusiasts, ancient Greeks were known to cook flat bread between metal plates. In the 13th century, a craftsman began casting plates with a honeycomb pattern. More affluent families added eggs, spices and sweeteners to the recipe, and throughout Europe specific regions retain their own unique designs and ingredients to this day.
All of this thinking about waffles made me hungry, so I headed out to Aptos, where Rancho Del Mar Café serves breakfast and lunch daily, and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. They offer an impressive list of eight unique waffles, including a sausage waffle, and one with walnuts and raisins. I chose a Bacon Waffle ($7.75) with blueberries ($1.95).
The circular plate-sized golden brown waffle was topped with a hill of whole, steaming stewed blueberries. The tartness of the plump fruit, saltiness of crisp bacon and sweetness of maple syrup made for another memorable meal. | KP
Rancho Del Mar Café, 1 Rancho Del Mar, Aptos, 662-2690. Serving breakfast and lunch daily from 6 a.m. Mon-Sat. and 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Open until 2 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Dinner Tues. Sat. until 8 p.m.