Thursday, March 26, 2009

Waffle House, Lard, and Rose-Colored Glasses

This morning I had breakfast at Waffle House. That’s right. Waffle House. I luuuv me some Waffle House, so when two students invited us to join them for an early breakfast, I jumped at the chance.

I have fond memories (read: hazy recollections) of Waffle House from college. We used to cab to the closest WaHou -- which was about 15 minutes from campus -- around 3am to grub on what was clearly a fine example of pure culinary genius (PCG). It was almost always packed, but we crammed ourselves into a booth, laughing about old funnies and making new ones. Never had I seen the interior of a Waffle House by the light of day, but that didn’t matter. Ten-year-old memories tell me that Waffle House riggity rules.

Walking in this morning I felt the undeniable sense of regret. Should I have accepted this invitation knowing full well that the Waffle House of today can *never* live up to Waffle House circa 1998? Am I gonna haveta take the framed copy of the Waffle House menu out of my pantry? Do they still have that bucket of lard next to the griddle?

Hesitations firmly under wraps, I went with my ancient usual: a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich (on white bread, of course) and a waffle. What I learned was many-fold:

1) The waffles at Waffle House are not bad. If you are striving for a breakfast that qualifies as not bad, there you go. But the sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich (on white bread, of course) is not good.

2) Waffle House has made an attempt to get with the times and now offers “lite” items. Like a Lite Waffle. I barf all over this idea.

3) There is still a bucket of lard next to the griddle, making the previous item even more hilarious.

4) The salty cooks and waitresses are 100% the same, and 100% awesome. And the people-watching is not to be missed. For reals.

5) It seems likely that I will never eat at a Waffle House again.

In all honestly, breakfast this morning was crazy fun and did nothing to dispel my love of college-era Waffle House.

Good news: The framed menu can stay.


corey said...

I have wonderful college memories of WH, too. At the time, we had to drive to a town 30 miles away (and on the other side of a high mountain pass) and each trip was a real pilgrimage. I always thought the real stand-out on the menu were the hash browns all the different ways. If you ever go back, see if you agree.

Leigh Anne Rayburn said...

The last time I was at a Waffle House, a guy sitting at the bar sketched my cousin. We had no idea until we left.

Genie said...

Waffle House= memories of high school late nights/early mornings before math competitions. Oh, a Mississippi staple!

Ruthie J. said...

Isn't it funny how we all remember going there when we were younger, yet every time I'm in there, everyone is [ahem] older? :)

Rita said...

Umm, yeah, Ruthie, that's because we are *ahem* all still going there. It is exactly the same people you saw there when you were younger.

Jdvn1 said...

I still like to occasion a Waffle House periodically. For me, they have one secret menu item that no one seems to know about: their waffles.

Okay, stay with me, here, seriously. Try their waffles dry. No butter, no syrup, nothing. It's the best tasting waffle you'll ever eat. Other breakfast places known for waffles really only have good waffle _toppings_. Their _waffles_ are merely mediocre.

Nothing else on their menu is really impressive and, what do you expect? It's a chain. You go there to relive greasy spoon places. But if you want the best thing on the menu, it's their waffle, dry.