Saturday, August 31, 2013

Brunch with the ladies (and the Great Waffle Taste-Off of 2013)

There's nothing quite like last-minute travel changes to make for fun adventures. 

Take yesterday, for example.  The original plan was to fly out to Salt Lake City, where I would spend a few days helping to care for Lady (who just had total knee-replacement surgery) and, during the down time, catching up with some mission and school friends who are still in the area.  Well, about a week ago (well after I'd purchased my airline tickets), we learned that Lady was going to be discharged sooner than expected.  In fact, she would be back home in Reno before I even got to Salt Lake!  Fortunately, we were able to find a flight out to Reno the next day -- which was the main point of the trip -- but I admit I was a little bummed when I sat down to write to my friends, saying that I wasn't going to be able to see them after all.

Only I didn't actually say that I wouldn't be able to see them.  What I said was something to the effect of, "I'm going to be on the ground for 12 hours. You all should abandon your spouses and children and come have breakfast with me; and if we start early enough, we'll be able to have breakfast AND Belgian waffles." 

To my great delight, Peggy and Mary understood that the obvious right answer to this invitation was, "Yes, what time?" and then moved heaven and earth (and an awkward family party in Park City) to make it happen.

We met at the crack of dawn (and by "crack of dawn" I mean 9:30am) at Lamb's Grill, which, having opened in 1919, claims to be the oldest continually operating restaurant in Utah.
moi, Mary, Peggy
We were quickly seated in a cozy, leather-upholstered booth in the back of the restaurant.  The menu had the typical, all-American breakfast fare that you might find in any diner in this country. 
Corned beef hash; two fried eggs over hard, English muffin
I wouldn't say it was cutting edge or particularly delicious, but it was good, down-to-earth food over which we were able to chatter and gossip and catch up on each other's lives:   Mary's son just got accepted into an excellent school for autistic children, and she's in the process of applying for another degree program at the University of Utah.  Peggy is making soap and lifting weights and traveling around the country with her Basque dance group (and also trying to navigate her in-laws and the politics of family time shares).


We saved room -- both in our stomachs and on the clock -- for waffles.  All three of us, you see, had served LDS missions in Belgium and knew the unspeakable joy that is a freshly made Liege waffle.  Last time the three of us had brunch in Salt Lake, I had picked up some waffles to share from the Saturday's Waffle.  While Mary and I were perfectly happy to munch on the delectable sweet dough, Peggy declared them to be less good than the waffles on offer at Bruges Waffles & Frites downtown.  We hadn't had time to settle that score back then, but now we did.

Before joining us at Lamb's Grill, Mary had had the great foresight to stopp off at the waffle truck and pick up a few waffles.  Turns out, Lamb's Grill is also only a couple of blocks from the Bruges Waffles & Frites shop, so when we'd finished our eggs and hash browns, we took our waffle-truck waffles over to the competing waffle shop and had a waffle taste-off.

Option A:  plain waffle from Saturday's Waffle

Candidate B: vanilla waffle from Bruges Waffles & Frites

And the winner?  Candidate B, the plucky little waffle from Bruges Waffles & Frites. 

Now, in fairness I have to say that both waffles were delicious, and the waffle-truck waffle no-doubt suffered a slight disadvantage from not having been eaten directly out of the waffle iron, while it was still hot.  Even so, the waffle from Bruges Waffles had the perfect combination of soft doughy interior with a crunchy, slightly caramelized exterior -- and those wonderful sugar pearls in the dough that made it all the more authentically Belgian.  Peggy was right, it was clearly the better waffle. 

Bruges Waffles and Frites
The line and the wait were both long.  But oh, so worth it!  I can't wait to go back for the frites.

After we'd settled the waffle score, Peggy headed off to the mother-in-law's place in Park City, and Mary dropped me off at the airport.  It was a fantastic morning -- good friends, good food, and a little tasty competition.  Can't think of a better way to spend a few hours in Salt Lake City.

1 comment:

Mary said...

So lovely to see you! I'm glad you used the buttering-your-english-muffin shot I took of you. I do like your new camera!