Chhaya Cafe’s Cheesesteak Waffle Is Only Acceptable Within The Confines Of The Delaware Valley

Cheesesteak WaffleIn one of Kurt Vonnegut’s later works, Bluebeard, Rabo Karebekian goes on and on about how the abstract expressionists were able to break all those rules because they had mastered them and in some cases, invented them in the first place. It’s been a while since we read that book but we think that’s how part of it went.

Well the Chhaya Cafe on East Passyunk Ave. is brunching it up good these days:

Chhaya Cafe heats up Philadelphia’s brunch scene with four must-try summer entrees and five thirst-quenching sips. Despite construction on their future home two doors down, Chhaya isn’t slowing down as the Chef Varnana “V” Beuria adds the Cheesesteak Waffle, Whole Wheat & Oat Pancakes, a Summer Salad and Breakfast Tacos to the summer menu. Chef V’s signature Homemade Sage and Mint Limeade, along with Matcha-Avocado Smoothies and Affogato, also join a full line-up of organic, fair trade coffees and herbal teas. All new dishes and drinks are available immediately through late summer. Chhaya Cafe’s new location, at 1817 East Passyunk, is expected to open in mid-to-late August, 2014.

So in just a month or so, V is moving her joint in to roomier digs, but that doesn’t mean she’s playing out the string this summer. The new menu items all look interesting but it’s the Cheeseteak Waffle that got us thinking. Around the country, the things labeled “Philly Cheesesteak” can range from the headily authentic to the head scratchingly confounding, and were we to see this cheesesteak waffle on a menu in Idaho or Texas or in Brusssels Wisconsin*, we would dismiss it as out-of-town fuckery and order a burger or whatever, but this offering from a local bruncharie whose waffles are already beyond reproach deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The cheesesteak rules and ingredients and dos and don’ts in this town are not set in cement, but they’re not exactly fluid or even freeform. Sure there are $100 publicity stunts, but that Clinton bait no longer works since the big dog went vegan, and yeah there are other mashups that are abominations as well. But there are rules. Just ask the Secretary of State who swiftboated himself that one time.

So we’re gonna give Chhaya Cafe the benefit of the doubt on this one, at least for now, but maybe we’re gonna have to get on out to some East Passyunk brunching and see if this is indeed a playful take on a local classic, or a miscalculated crime against nature, gastronomy, Pat Oliveri, Benjamin Franklin and representative democracy itself. Our money’s on the former.

Chhaya Cafe
1823 East Passyunk Avenue
Phila, PA

*See what we did there?

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