I stand at the corner of 6th and Main Street in Downtown LA, my head a bubbling cauldron of indecision.
If I turn right with Erin of Dishwasher Ready and her husband Darin, I’ll wind up at Nickel Diner. If I go straight down 6th Street and then make a left onto Spring Street, I can enjoy made-to-order Belgian waffles at the new Syrup Desserts with the Gastronomer, Astronomer, LA and OC Foodventures, and crew.
“I feel bad.” I say to Erin, my conscience tugging at the corners of my far too empathetic heart. “I told Cathy I’d go with her.”
Erin shrugs her shoulders. “Whatever you want to do.”
I stare down the street in the direction of Nickel Diner. Images of maple bacon donuts and red velvet cakes begin circling the confines of my visual cortex, and my mouth moistens in desire. It’s been forever since I’m wrapped my mouth around some fried dough.
“I want… a donut.” I say with finality and follow her and Darin toward the restaurant.
Half-way down the block, I start feeling guilty again.
I pause and look back toward the corner where I abandoned the crew of waffle eaters. “I should go back…”
“It might not even be open.” Erin points out. “We’ll check it out and then head to Syrup if it’s not.”
We approach the tell-tale red and white signage of the Nickel Diner to find it closed and boarded up for the night. I feel better now that I will be able to respect my original commitment, but I am secretly sad too.
I really wanted a donut.
A few minutes later we are back with the Gastronomer and crew snapping photos of the simple signage outside. As I photograph the name (with flash – “a big no-no” according to Cathy), I think to myself, “I wonder why they called it Syrup Desserts? Yes, waffles typically come with syrup, but Syrup Desserts makes me think of shaved ice with syrup or ice cream sundaes with chocolate syrup – not necessarily waffles. It should be Waffle Desserts. Or Sweet Waffles. Or…”
I continue my neurotic musings into the surprisingly spacious environs of the snack shop. I’m surprised to see that, in addition to the several tables on the first floor, there is a loft upstairs with coaches and chairs. Even though Syrup Desserts is still only in their soft opening on Friday night, there are several parties enjoying shared plates of waffles, and I find myself slightly more intrigued by the café’s concept. So much so that I spend nearly 10 minutes poring over the multi-page menu that includes a variety of flavored waffles with whipped cream, specialty waffles with ice cream, sweet grilled cheese sandwiches, frozen yogurt, and baked goods like red velvet cake and oatmeal raisin cookies.
It’s all a bit much for someone of my indecisive nature, but when my eyes fall upon the glazed waffle with whipped cream ($1.95), my heart nearly skips a beat.
“That’s it!” I think in triumph.
Of course, I still have to consult with the extremely patient counter girl Jenny to make sure that what I want is actually what I want.
“It’s a popular choice,” Jenny tells me, and I sigh with relief. Finally, my mind can rest easy. I’m ordering something popular!
Our large party proceeds north to the loft, and I wait anxiously for my sugar coma to arrive.
It takes a few minutes, but the lively conversation keeps my stomach beast at bay until my dessert makes its way to our table. As soon as I see it, I know that I have – for once – made the right decision.
The glazed donut-esque waffle is exactly what I’m craving. It’s crisp on the outside, nice and carbolicious on the inside, and perfectly coated in an ample layer of sugar glaze. I’m immediately smitten and do not hide my affection from my fellow companions.
Photo credit: the Gastronomer