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The Belgian Cafe

March 21, 2012

A little while back, my husband and I went on a short road trip as part of a weekend getaway.  During our trip, we made a stop in Solvang.  Solvang is a small Danish community located in Santa Barbara County in a group of communities that make up the Santa Ynez Valley.  The name of the city means “sunny field” in Danish.  Founded in 1911 by a small group of Danish teachers who established a school and college, the city has grown to become one of the largest tourist destinations for visitors coming to California.  Today, this community of just over 5,000 residents and 9,000 acres of land is filled with traditional Danish, Scandinavian and Nordic bakeries, restaurants and merchants selling handcrafted goods traditionally found in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Holland among others.

My husband, being part Finnish, loved Solvang.  He’d never seen anything like this before.  He loved the traditional half-timbered Danish houses and architecture of the buildings, the windmills, just the feeling of being in a small Scandinavian community.

Before leaving Solvang, we decided we wanted to find a place to have lunch.  I had originally wanted to grab pastries at the Solvang Bakery, but unfortunately, they were closed for renovations when I was there.  I had read on the Internet about several other eateries in the area that reviewers had found to be good, including the Solvang Restaurant with their famous aebleskivers.  But we ended up dining at The Belgian Cafe.

The Belgian Cafe is a little cafe located on one Solvang’s main shopping streets, Copenhagen Dr.  It’s cute and cozy with a little bar area and bar seating as well as little tables for guests to sit at.  It’s basically your local small town breakfast cafe.  All the waitresses there are dressed in traditional Belgian outfits and the decor in the cafe is certainly reminiscent of Scandinavian style with the blue and white color scheme.

Being there on a weekend day right around noon, The Belgian Cafe was serving both breakfast and lunch.  Their breakfast menu included the traditional eggs, bacon, ham, toast, potatoes, and oatmeal among other items.  Their lunch menu featured hamburgers, salads and sandwiches.  But, their speciality items in the cafe, which are served all day long, are their large variety of Belgian waffles and crepes.

We started out by ordering drinks.  I love chocolate, so even though it was noon and I could have ordered a soda, I decided that it was cool enough outside that it was still ok to order hot chocolate.  My yummy mug of hot chocolate was topped off with whipped cream and served nice and hot to the table.  Mmmmm, that’s all I can say.

My husband was equally as satisfied with his drink order.  He knew what he wanted as soon as he saw it on the menu.  See, my husband absolutely loves blueberries.  There’s very few things in this world he loves as much as he loves blueberries, especially when it comes to food.  As soon as he saw that the menu offered fruit milk shakes with either strawberry or blueberry, he immediately had to have a blueberry milk shake.  When this thing  came out, it was like a blueberry lover’s fantasy.  It was a tall, cool blueish-purpleish concoction topped with whipped cream.  You know they used actual blueberries in the milkshake because you could see the blueberry bits in the glass.  Literally, every sip of this milkshake was filled with blueberry pieces, it was like they used one whole basket of blueberries just to make this milkshake.  My husband was in love.

I wasn’t going to eat at a place called The Belgian Cafe that specialized in Belgian waffles and not order a Belgian waffle.  I’m a huge fan of Belgian waffles and generally order them for breakfast any time I go to a diner that offers Belgian waffles, so I figured this place had to have some pretty outstanding Belgian waffles.  After looking over the selection, I ended up ordering the Solvang Special which consists of ice cream, homemade whipped cream and your choice of fruit along with some real maple syrup.  I vacillated between bananas and strawberries and ultimately ended up going with bananas.  I’d never had Belgian waffles with ice cream before, so I was curious as to how this would be.  When the dish came out, it looked fantastic.  There was one large Belgian waffle on the bottom of the plate.  The center of the waffle was topped by a square block of vanilla ice cream.  Homemade whipped cream was piped over the Belgian waffle on either side of the ice cream and the whole thing was topped with slices of banana.  On the side was a small serving of warm real maple syrup.  Not sure what to do with the warm syrup and the cold ice cream, I decided to just pour some of the syrup over the whole waffle.  Immediately, the syrup mixed with the ice cream and melted it slightly.  This had to have been the best Belgian waffle I’ve ever had.  It was nice and crunchy and well cooked on the outside and perfect soft and still doughy on the inside.  I don’t know how they made it so good.  The combination of the fresh, homemade whipped cream along with the banana slices the ice cream and the maple syrup was fantastic.  I’m so glad that I chose the Solvang Special.  I’d order it again in a heartbeat.

My husband chose to order a crepe rather than a Belgian waffle.  After looking through the menu he found his selection rather quickly, the Crepes Diane.  According to the menu the crepes Diane is filled with blueberries and homemade whipped cream.  When the dish came out, my husband devoured it in seconds.  I had a taste and I thought that the crepes were fantastic.  They were light, thin, and slightly doughy.  It was the perfect consistency of crepe to hold the filling.  The filling, like the blueberry shake, was packed with blueberries.  I was anticipating it to be more blueberry sauce with a few blueberries thrown in.  But it was more like blueberries with just a little bit of sauce.  My husband said that the combination of the blueberries wrapped inside of the crepe and topped with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and homemade whipped cream was really good.

We were happy with our selection of The Belgian Cafe for lunch, even though we pretty much ate breakfast food.  The meals were filling, and good and tided us over until dinner.  The homemade whipped cream was a star and the amount of fresh fruit filling they used for both of our dishes was quite unexpected.  We’d definitely go back to The Belgian Cafe next time we find ourselves in Solvang.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    March 21, 2012 2:43 pm

    I love blueberries, too. Not quite as much as raspberries, though. Looks like fun!

    • March 21, 2012 2:50 pm

      Unfortunately, the only berries I like are strawberries. I’m not a fan of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, oallieberries or any other berries out there 😦

  2. March 22, 2012 6:21 pm

    Isn’t it lovely that there are still small towns that have retained their special charm. Thank you Ducky, for the nice visit.

  3. Malou permalink
    March 27, 2012 2:44 pm

    So we share the same love for Belgian waffles… It is a must-eat for me whenever we drive to Belgium. I normally go for waffles with whipped cream and dusting of confectioner’s sugar. 😉

    • March 27, 2012 3:01 pm

      Yes, we must share the same love for Belgian waffles! I just can’t resist them! I wish I was you and lived closer to Belgium so I could have authentic waffles more often!

      • Malou permalink
        March 27, 2012 3:04 pm

        I also don’t get to eat them that often, Alisa. Maybe once or twice a year. 😉

  4. April 13, 2012 3:24 am

    Belgian waffles are delicious. When we visit in Brussels, then it is a must to taste them. The photo from Blueberry Fruit Shake watered my mouth. This post was a lovely post. Thank You.

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