100 Favorite Dishes: No. 21, Birchwood Cafe's savory waffle

So considerate, the savory waffle. 

It takes all the decision-making anguish out of breakfast at the Birchwood Cafe. Why? Because much like all the hottest clubs that Stefon visits, this dish has everything. It's a little sweet, a little savory (obviously), nutty, smoky, and rich and it's constantly changing its ingredient lineup. 

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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.

No. 40: Crema's affogato
No. 39: Broders' quadrucci con pollo

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