Syrup and sugar and waffles, oh my! How to celebrate National Waffle Day

Dani Steinberg

With National Waffle Day right around the corner on March 25, it is necessary to try some of Marin’s best Belgian waffles. This review can serve as a guide for those wanting a sweet treat on the 25 or any day after. I tried waffles from a sit-down restaurant, a to-go store and a grocery store freezer section to see which ones have the best consistency and sweetness. 

Half Day Cafe: 4/5 

The Half Day Cafe plates its Belgian waffle with its signature orange butter.

I arrived at Half Day Cafe around noon on a Sunday, and despite the crowded restaurant, I was seated immediately. On the menu, there are two waffle options to choose from. You can either order the Whole Wheat-Sunflower Seed Waffle or the more traditional Belgian Waffle. I went with the $11 Belgian Waffle, and I suggest you do the same. However, I will admit that I was slightly underwhelmed when the waiter placed the plate in front of me. 

The singular waffle came with very little powdered sugar alongside Half Day’s traditional orange butter. Although the presentation was not anything special, the waffle itself was delicious. Cooked slightly crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, the first bite and every bite following left me craving more. Their signature orange butter is an essential part of the Half Day Cafe experience. At first glance, the orange butter looks like just regular butter with tiny pieces of orange mixed in, but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste when added to my already mouth-watering waffle.The butter perfectly complemented the sweetness of the waffle by adding some tanginess but not overpowering my taste buds with orange. Lastly, I added some syrup on top of a lightly buttered piece. While this did slightly dilute the flavor of the butter, the syrup nicely enhanced the waffle’s fluffy dough and added some extra sweetness. Overall, I would recommend this to those who have time to sit down. This is a tasty Belgian waffle that is not overwhelmingly sweet.


Jamba Juice: 2.5/5

Jamba Juice’s popular to-go Belgian waffles are on display.

There’s a happy medium between overly sweet and not sweet enough, and the Jamba Juice to-go warmed Belgian waffle for $2.99 was not sweet enough for me. The waffle almost felt plain. It needed powdered sugar or syrup to add additional flavor, but since this was a grab-and-go option, I could not add any extra toppings. Don’t be mistaken, though, while the waffle could have been sweeter, it was not bad. I did taste a sugary sweetness on my first bite but would have appreciated even more sweetness in the following bites. Additionally, every few bites, there were unusual crunches of sugar. While I knew that these crunches were nothing to be concerned about, it was still unsettling and reminded me of my unhealthy food choice. Despite the lack of flavor, the waffle was perfectly cooked inside, making the bites where the crunches of sugar were absent very pleasing. I tried this waffle as an after-school snack along with a coffee, but I believe the waffle on its own would have done the job. While this waffle was tasty and an effortless option, I don’t think I will be repurchasing it. Three dollars for one waffle that’s fluffy consistency is interrupted by irritating bites of sugar is not worth it to me. 


Trader Joe’s: 3/5

Trader Joes’ box of four freezer Belgian waffles is ready to be made.

Making Trader Joe’s authentic Belgian waffles was perfect for a quick breakfast. The box of four frozen waffles cost $1.99 and had clear, simple instructions of preheating the toaster to 400 degrees and cooking for four to six minutes. After baking for six minutes, the waffle felt light and airy and was beautifully crisp outside while still moist and fluffy on the inside. My first impression was that it was similar to Jamba Juice, lacking sweetness. The waffle was missing that mouth-watering flavor that the Half Day Cafe Belgian waffle presented. But do not abandon the Trader Joe’s freezer waffle yet. Once I added syrup, it ultimately saved the waffle. Newly added sweetness paired great with the Belgian breakfast. I would also recommend adding other toppings such as chocolate chips or strawberries. If you look at the box, Trader Joe’s displays the waffles with strawberries and whipped cream on top, and I think this was intentional. While I did enjoy my breakfast, it was not enough to fuel me for the day. If you don’t eat much for breakfast, this might be perfect for you. Otherwise, I would suggest pairing the waffles with fried chicken for dinner or ice cream for dessert. 

I hope you have a delicious National Waffle Day and use my guide to make the tastiest decision to celebrate this sweet day!