I’m always on the lookout for breakfast places to eat in, whether old or new. This past week, I decided to try out the only remaining Country Waffles. After the financial debacle it went through last year, it’s lost much of its appeal to a lot of people. I do my best to reserve judgment on anything (and for that matter, on anyone) until the end; besides, I was curious to see how Country Waffles’ new management had resurrected the place.
It looks the same, really. Well-placed ceiling lights give the dining area a warm glow, bouncing off the polished glasses dangling at the bar. The servers are dressed, curiously, in the same color motif as competitor Heaven ”˜n Eggs ”“ light blue and khaki, all that’s missing are the wings.
I ordered the eggs Benedict (P185), my standard breakfast fare that I use to gauge how ”˜on target’ a breakfast joint is. (see the eggs Benedict at Bizu and Heaven ”˜n Eggs.) My Bin and Boo had the tapa (P235) and tocino (P195) which comes with a choice of two eggs and garlic rice.
I am not really a waffle person, since I find most too chewy/crispy for my taste, plus I just have this thing against the butter being stuck in all those squares. (A weird neurosis of mine). If more waffles could be like the one I had (P95) at Country Waffles however, then I could be eating this breakfast food more often. This waffle was large and thick, unlike its skinny-as-a-CD counterparts that are being served elsewhere in the metro. Offering just a bit of resistance, this waffle cut cleanly and was fragrant with vanilla. Crisp just on the outside, it was marshmallow-soft inside.
The eggs Benedict I had was satisfactory, but the revelation here was the English muffin that anchored the dish. Thickly-sliced and doughy, it provided bite. So taken was I by it that I was inspired to make…
English muffins are round, yeast-raised doughs enriched with milk and butter, and cooked on a griddle. It’s supposed to be flat and golden-brown with a light, fluffy interior. I say “supposed to be” because that’s not exactly what I got. Ah, the adventures of baking. Setting out to make one thing and then coming up with something completely different.
I used two separate recipes that produced two very distinctly different English muffins. Let me just say that the first recipe resulted in a more traditional English muffin ”“ squat and round, with cracks where they could be torn open with fingers. Its crumb was also more chewy (“bitey”).
The other recipe I used was far from the traditional. It called for an unusually large amount of melted butter ”“ ¼ cup, as well as ¼ cup of honey. As I expected, the inclusion of and large proportion of those ingredients gave me a little yeasted bread that rose to great heights in the oven. Pillow-soft and golden, these were more like pandesals (Filipino bread rolls) than English muffins.
English muffins are cut out of the dough with round cutters and then cooked on a (preferably electric) griddle. I chose to bake these in a 350°F oven, ergo the textures I got. Still, every recipe is an adventure.