Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Ye Old Waffle Shoppe : Chapel Hill

I think my brother found this place on Google Maps, so we more or less walked into this not knowing too much about it.

Looking on the web now, it's interesting to know in hindsite that Esquire listed it on its 59 Best Breakfast Places in America (#35 in alphabetical order by state) (Here's the full list without having to go through the tedious slideshow layout).

But list or no list, I didn't really find our meal to be all that extraordinary.

We sat at the counter, old-school diner style.

Western Omelette - A decently done, but somewhat ordinary western omelette. My Dad got a side order of grits, which was the first time he or I have had grits. I suspect we're supposed to order it with some sort of topping, as it kind of tasted like plain white rice congee. Strange, I always imagined it would be buttery and fatty, given my rather uninformed image of Southern cooking.

Blueberry Short stack This was a "I have to order" dish, mainly to see how they stacked up (o ho ho, bad pun not intended) to my favorite Dutch Eating Place. The answer was that they didn't. While okay, they didn't have the lightness of the latter. But strangely enough, the scrambled eggs were quite lovely though. They had a more runny/buttery texture that was somewhat reminiscent of the Julia (Childs) recipe. I wish I could say the same for the sausage patties, which were overcooked and dry.

Waffle Combo My brother generally abides by the rule to order the dish that the restaurant calls out in its name or vice versa. (Is eponymous the apt description of this? I still get tripped up by that word.) And I have to say that they were pretty decent, fairly light and pretty darn buttery. I wouldn't say they were exciting enough to make me want to visit this place, but if you're in town, you could do a lot worse.

French Toast Combo - My Mom wasn't a fan, who compared it to French toast she used to have in Hong Kong, where they deep fried the suckers (oof, gotta try those sometime), but I thought these were pretty tasty. They were crispy on outside and slightly gooey on inside, reminding me of a grilled cheese sandwich texture-wise and cinnamon-y fried dough in taste. The bacon (unpictured) was overly salty. Blegh.

Little Jim's Hash Browns - Finally, the hash browns were like a good home cook would have done. It wasn't particularly innovative and tongue-catching, but not overly oily or dry. Honest would be a good description.

I don't know. Perhaps there are particular dishes to order here that we just didn't know about. Perhaps if we had just ordered the scrambled eggs, french toast and waffles, I would have given a thumbs up. But as it was, for every above average item, there was an ordinary or below-average item to match, which made for an average (albeit highly variable) brunch experience.

Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe
173 E Franklin St Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3620 (Map)
(919) 929-9192
($Brunch, $North Carolina)

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