.Waffles Merge with Croissants for Brunch at Taste & Glory

Waiting in line to eat brunch is an American tradition. In San Mateo, the hottest spot to stand in that state of anticipatory limbo is Nattacha Lerspreuk and Thanasit Nanthasitsira’s Taste & Glory. On a recent Saturday morning, the line was indeed substantial but not daunting enough to abandon.

Exactly one half hour passed from the moment of our arrival at the tail end of the line to being seated at the table closest to the host’s podium. The multitasking host polished silverware, shuffled and restacked menus while also keeping track of the hungry queue of diners who were all longing for his attention.

Outside, there was a long rectangle of shade that hung down below the roofline. On a rainy day, it would offer no protection from the elements. On a sunny day, we were grateful for the cooling effect the shadow had on the pavement. The place is located on the busy corner of El Camino Real and 12th Avenue, where a bus line stops directly in front. From the sidewalk, diners-to-be can glare and stare inside the front picture windows to get a glimpse at the wide range of dishes being served.

Taste & Glory is primarily a breakfast and brunch restaurant with American staples such as omelets, benedicts, scrambles, pancakes and waffles. But almost every dish has a parallel Asian fusion version. The two French toasts ($16 each) are made with either a vanilla bean custard or a Thai tea sauce. There’s a spinach and cheddar scramble ($16) or a tom yum scramble ($27) made with crab, tomatoes, mushrooms and a tom yum sauce.

As we were walking toward Taste & Glory, a small group passing by exclaimed that they had enjoyed everything but someone in the crowd enthusiastically recommended the chicken croffle ($18). Three pieces of fried chicken are stacked on top of a waffle made with croissant dough. The plate is dusted with a circle of biscoff crumble. Berries are strategically placed to break up the dust and to add bold dots of color.

A croffle is texturally delicious but a strange bite because it fools the eye. It looks like a waffle, and it’s crispy like a waffle, but it tastes like a dense, highly compressed and perfectly sweetened croissant. The chicken filets were fried in a buttermilk crust that wasn’t salty or greasy. I did want one more waffle to even out the balance of three parts chicken to one part croffle.

Rainbow potatoes are served with egg dishes but they’re lackluster in comparison with a bowl of sweet potato tater puffs ($5). The tiny orange-tinged tater tots are light, crunchy and difficult to ignore. In the highly competitive and diverse world of potato dishes, hash browns may have finally met their match.

Plate with an omelet, rainbow potatoes, toaste and a side bowl of orange tater tots
Rainbow potatoes and sweet potato tater tots complete an omelet at Taste & Glory.

The beverage menu also reflects the owners’ heritage. On one quick scan of the dining room, purple ube drinks landed at nearly every table. Our server noted that the ube latte ($6) is a sweet drink. But, not to be outdone by it, the iced ube ($6) is topped with a mound of whipped cream and colorful sprinkles. And for those diners still suffering from last summer’s Barbie withdrawals, the pink drink is a frothy strawberry milk ($6).

Taste and Glory, open Mon–Fri 9am to 2pm, Sat–Sun 9am to 2:30pm, 1208 S El Camino Real, San Mateo. 650.393.4951. tasteandgloryca.com

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