100 Favorite Dishes: No. 21, Birchwood Cafe's savory waffle
There's always some vegetable matter in the batter -- kale, pumpkin, sweet potato -- and usually some grain, like millet, to give extra body to the waffle itself. Fontina or parmesan gets grated in for a salty layer and some fruit compote goes on top for sweet-sourness. The specific savory waffle we first fell in love with was a pumpkin and Gruyere cheese one with apple-shallot compote, honey pepita butter, thick-cut, chewy and crisp bacon lardons, and a perfect sunny side up egg. Really any combination that the Birchwood's talented kitchen crew comes up with is worth ordering.
The cafe is currently temporarily closed for construction on a Kickstarter-funded expansion, but owner Tracy Singleton and chef Marshall Paulsen have arranged a pop-up version of the Birchwood at Verdant Tea in Seward. They brought the savory waffle with them and it has kale, brown rice, and sweet potato with a little smear of cilantro butter, kumquat jam, green tea powdered sugar, pistachios, a fried egg, and those all-important, ever-present bacon lardons. It's the one pictured above. Get it while you can.