Have you met Spicy Jeff? Once you try this Sloppy Waffle's breakfast sandwich, you might have trouble going back to your basic egg-and-cheese. The sandwich, best served on one of the Sloppy Waffle's signature Belgian waffles, borrows from the best of all corners of the menu, combining Southern fried chicken, an egg, maple syrup and hot sauce.
The Sloppy Waffle, on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington, boasts a menu of big breakfast combos, oversized omelets and pancakes, and loaded, indulgent Belgian waffles. Its mascot, a cute cartoon waffle with a coif of whipped cream, appears to love nothing more than pouring syrup all over his smiling face. This is fun.
My friend and I walk up to the counter to order a couple of specialty waffles ($7.25 each, cash only), a pancake roll ($7.99), and the Spicy Jeff sandwich ($7.95 plus $2.50 to upgrade to a waffle). This was before we knew that we were about to meet the sandwich of our dreams. As we order, our server warns us that the pancake roll is "really big," as if that were supposed to stop us or something.
We pick an outdoor patio table, and it doesn't take too long for our meals (i.e., future food coma) to arrive. I am taken aback by the beauty of the chocolate lover waffle — topped with Oreo crumbs, chocolate chips, whipped cream and no shortage of Nutella. As a chocolate lover, I am not let down.
Then the pancake roll happens, and our server was not kidding: It's a monster. Picture heaps of whipped cream, yogurt, strawberries, bananas and walnuts rolled up into a syrup-drizzled pancake so large that it spills over the plate. I'm not sure why the world needs the pancake roll: No one ever finishes it, according to our server. I'm not saying that it's not delicious; it's just that the ingredients are so similar to the strawberries-and-cream waffle. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we wasting all this food? Because we can.
A pro tip for the strawberries and cream waffle: Eat it immediately. The waffle is loaded with fresh strawberries, walnuts, whipped cream and a warm strawberry sauce, but that sauce turns the waffle soggy, fast. If this waffle were a person, it would be that wild friend from college that you go to the bar with. She starts off looking put-together, but leave her out too long and she's an absolute mess. Yet, you still love her.
But if the Spicy Jeff sandwich were a person, it would be the lifelong best friend, the sandwich you spend the rest of your life with. Your Soul Sandwich Mate. Toward the end of our meal, we spent so much time obsessing over the breading of the Southern fried chicken, inspecting every speck, trying to figure out which seasonings these sorcerers had used to create such a masterpiece. The owner came out to chat with us, either because she has a hands-on management style or because our waitress told her we were causing a scene.
The owner says the recipe is a closely guarded secret, and tells us what she tells other guests who ask about the chicken: Keep coming back until you figure it out.
It's the best advice I've ever gotten. I'll be back for you, Spicy Jeff. I'll be back.
>>The Sloppy Waffle, 2551 Berlin Turnpike in Newington, is open Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Closed Mondays. Cash only. 860-436-6893 and thesloppywaffle.com.