howard station gluten-free waffles.
Remember waffle weekends, when, as kids, our moms would pull out that monster of a kitchen appliance, the waffle iron, whip up some batter, and then we’d all wait with bated breath as the waffle iron worked its magic? Once on our plate, we’d fill each sunken square with a balanced ratio of butter, syrup, powdered sugar, yogurt, fruit (or all of the above), thus making a grid of perfect bites. So satisfying.
It’s been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to really indulge in waffle weekends, so when we were recently informed by a reader that Howard Station Café in Occidental, Calif. now has gluten-free waffles on their menu there was a bit of a waffle dance party here at The Lab. Our first order of business: call and make sure it’s really true (it is.). Second: to confirm that a separate waffle iron is used to make the gluten-free waffles (there is.). Third: to get an ingredients list, which consists mainly of rice flour and potato flour (no corn!).
With our orders of business out of the way, and our gluten-conscious minds put at ease, we joined the ranks Saturday morning and waited for a table to open up. Meanwhile, we conducted a careful menu scan. Here’s the deal: Howard’s has about 6 topping options for the waffles, and all of them are available in a gluten-free option. The Double Decker was super tempting — two waffles with peanut butter and banana sandwiched between them — but we opted to keep it simple and went for the standard blueberries and whipped cream combo so we could really judge the waffle’s authenticity. This is important research we’re conducting after all.
The waffle did NOT disappoint in looks or in taste. Upon delivery to the table we commenced the requisite staring and poking, and, in all honesty, they looked a little too good to be true: They weren’t half the size of a normal waffle! They were just as fluffy as the regular wheat waffles other diners were eating! And after asking the waitress just one last time “are these really gluten-free?” we dug in. After doctoring them with syrup and butter and other preferred accoutrement, we were delighted to find the waffles were absolutely heavenly. Not too dry. Not too hearty. Crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. We noticed a tad more chew than a regular wheat-based waffle, but that’s to be expected considering the properties of GF flours. Overall, these waffles knocked our striped socks off. Our non-gf partner-in-crime dining companion also deemed them delicious, even going so far as to say that he would not have know they were GF if we had not mentioned it. A non-GFer stamp of approval is pretty legit folks. These waffles are for reals!
Nice work Howard Station, keep that waffle iron fired up because we’ll be back soon.
Howard Station Café
3811 Bohemian Highway
Occidental, CA 95465
707 874 2838
And stay tuned for The Lab’s next field trip! We’re heading out, armed with notebooks & cameras & appetites to check out the gluten-free naan at Sizzling Tandor and the gluten-free fried chicken at Rosso Pizzeria & Wine Bar.