Shake the pandemic holiday blahs with Winston's Coffee & Waffles
The World Health Organization recently divulged that Santa Claus was immune to COVID-19. Santa, then, should be all set for the pandemic Christmas 2020.
How is your Christmas shaping up?
As someone without a magic sleigh or a magic bullet — or a magic anything — I’ll just be staying home this year and following the proper coronavirus protocols. In other words, I don’t have a fabulous plan for the holiday.
But I do have fabulous advice in pre-holiday matters that should appeal to seasonal procrastinators and people hungry for a little splurge that’s easily procured.
If you’re staring down the barrel of an unfinished gift-buying list or insufficient house party supplies, here’s a tip for a last-minute, one-stop shopping trip accompanied by feel-good food and mood-lifting beverages.
All you have to do is drive to Clintonville and Weiland’s Market, a boutique grocery store stocked with a strong selection of gift-appropriate wines and liquors (the store is open until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve) and walk across the street to Winston’s Coffee & Waffles (open until 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve), a new food truck serving fun brunch fare.
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On Winston’s user-friendly website — where convenient online pre-ordering is outlined — you’ll see a menu organized by two types of waffles: “common style,” aka thick Belgian waffles with deep indentations, and disk-like Liege waffles whose batter is sweetened with pearl sugar.
The former can have their batter enhanced by various chopped meats to create sandwich-like preparations whereas the Liege waffles receive flourishes befitting sweet treats. Winston’s nails both styles.
And you can request both unadorned. An order of The Winston ($4.25, served with butter and a cute little jug of pure maple syrup) brings four impressive Belgian-waffle wedges that are pleasantly malty, golden-brown, crisp and thick yet airy and light.
The Duke ($4.50), a Liege waffle, is crackly and considerably denser. Fashioned with that aforementioned pearl sugar, it glistens like newly fallen snow and tastes great on its own.
My favorite decorated Belgian waffle was The Empire ($9.75; $5.75 for a half-order), produced from batter studded with Weiland’s delicious breakfast sausage and topped with a sunny-side up egg and shredded cheddar. Garnishes of mayo, lettuce and scallions complete the inspired combination.
The Mod ($8.75 and $5.25), which is speckled with fresh ground beef from Weiland’s and garnished like a cheeseburger, called to mind burgers bound in doughnut “buns.” But The Mod was more successful because Winston’s Belgian waffles aren’t jarringly sugary.
I also enjoyed The Northampton ($9.75 and $5.75), a wings-channeling Belgian waffle embedded with chicken-breast nubbins and lashed with Buffalo sauce-spiked mayo and then garnished with blue cheese crumbles, celery and onion. Subtract everything but the chicken-embedded waffle, and you essentially have the less-flavorful Southampton ($9.75 and $5.75).
Winston’s offers three Liege waffles augmented with whipped cream and other dessert-worthy toppings. The King ($7.75) adds Nutella and banana chips — the latter contribute an appreciated crispiness that bolsters the structure of the what could’ve been an overly gooey dish.
Winston’s fine drinks make excellent complements to its distinct food. The eatery’s sizable selection includes very good Espresso ($3) accurately described as bold yet smooth. The Batch Brewed Coffee — American-style joe ($2.10 for a sizable pour) — was similarly flavorful and not excessively bitter.
Don’t sleep on the seasonal beverages. My favorites were the warm Spiced Caramel Apple Cider (frothy with whipped cream but not too sweet, $3.65) and the Peppermint White Mocha ($4.65) — think soothing hot chocolate with an espresso kick and minty finish.As a yuletide-specific Weiland’s purchase confirmed,when they’re spiked with cognac and sipped at home,these winter warmers can make you as jolly as old Saint Nick.
Winston's Waffles & Coffee
3589 Indianola Ave., Clintonville