What a find! Just when I thought life in Maine couldn’t get any better, any more scenic and delectable—this happened. A little unassuming breakfast place in an old farmstead called Peace Love and Waffles. The food is perhaps—no, definitely without a doubt—the best breakfast food I’ve ever had. Bar none.
Now this is my wheelhouse, breakfasting is. Back in the my salad days I was a short order cook at a breakfast joint and I learned to flip eggs and flop batter on the griddle. Add in a previous master’s level study in eating breakfast foods over three and a half decades, and that might as well be what I have my PhD in.
The waffle is really the pinnacle of breakfast foods. Yes, a chef must know a hundred different ways to prepare an egg to get their fluted hat and papers. Yes, hashes and pancakes leave lots of room to play jazz on the flattop. But the waffle… the waffle has its constraints; it forces you to adopt certain rules—a measure of time and volume, a working knowledge of kitchen chemistry and cohesion and emulsifying. Robert Frost once said free verse poetry is like playing tennis without a net while blank verse/metered verse has structure. The waffle has structure.
I gotta say, Peace Love and Waffles makes a waffle on the same level New England’s bard could write a poem. I read the menu and saw the roads diverting in front of me: would I go sweet or savory? Unlike Frost’s dilemma, I took both routes. I ordered the tuscan mushroom waffle made with polenta (polenta! brilliant!). The gravy (and to be honest, gravy is usually something I don’t care for) was the perfect compliment to the fine mealy texture of the waffle. It was garnished with fresh greens and tomatoes.
For the breakfast dessert waffle we had the seasonal pumpkin streusel waffle with a maple bourbon cream on top and served with real maple syrup. Because in New England they keep the Mrs. Butterworth crap away from the table. Many dessert waffles over saturate the saccharine bits—too much compote and not enough fresh berry; a blizzard of confectionary sugar instead of a light dusting; mounds of canned whip cream instead of a dollop of real cream. Our taste buds crave flavor while the same parts of our brain that light up from a hit of cocaine love sugar. I want to treat my taste buds, not get high on white powder. What Peace Love and Waffles offers is a tour de force for your tongue.
My wife is lovely and beautiful and smart. I’m not just saying this because it is true and she is the one who found this place and then suggested we go ahead and splurge on multiple waffles. (“Take both paths!” she says. “Robert Frost would have taken whichever road led him here.”) No, I say that Miracle is lovely and beautiful and smart because she also ordered us a flight of breakfast mimosas—guava, orange, and pomegranate—all delicious and fresh on a clear autumn Maine morning, sitting on the deck of this slice of heaven.
*I should also mention that Peace Love and Waffles is a family-owned restaurant and we had the pleasure of talking to Michael, who was super friendly and interesting. Peace Love and Waffles is very dog friendly. Jolene loves that.