I’ve never had chicken and waffles in my entire life. That’s a true statement. The dish never appealed to me, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps the idea of fried chicken for breakfast crossed some kind of imaginary line that separates lunch and dinner from breakfast. I have obeyed this line with religious fervor for the past 38 years or whenever I first grew teeth.
I’m in Flores, Guatemala for a long layover. My flight departs at 1:15pm and I arrived here at 6am from my hotel in the jungle that surrounds Tikal. Flores is a stunning lakeside town that puts every other town or city I’ve been to in Guatemala to shame. It sits on a beautiful lake surrounded by low-lying mountains. Boats ferry passengers from one side of town to the other. It’s a magical place.
You’re not here to read about Flores, you’re here to read about chicken and waffles and the cute and very quaint eatery “Maple & Tocino” (tocino means bacon in Spanish, so it’s already off to a great start) located directly on the lake in the heart of Flores.
There is a sign on the street that points you down an alley towards the water. You follow the cobblestone path down and the restaurant is on your left-hand side.
The restaurant itself is a two-storey yellow house that would look at home in the Florida Keys. It has a large outdoor patio with large tables and some bar seating that looks out over the lake.
The interior is, well, who cares about the interior? Unless you’re allergic to the sun, it would be foolish to sit indoors versus enjoying the pleasant weather and gorgeous lake views.
I ordered the Chicken + Waffles (Pollo y waffles), the Super Orange juice (Super Naranja), and an iced Americano coffee.
The Super Orange juice is a blend of orange and carrot juices, a bit of honey, with added ice to make it thicker and colder in this warm tropical climate. The juice was served in what can only be described as half Mason jar and half pint glass. Basically, if a hipster designed a glass, this is what it would look like. It was exactly what I needed. It tasted great, had a beautiful color, and was extremely refreshing.
As a Seattle coffee snob, the iced Americano was exactly what I’ve been craving since I arrived in Guatemala. Despite the fame of Guatemala coffee, I’ve been drinking instant coffee almost exclusively; whether it was with my home-stay family or at my budget hotel in San Pedro. It was my first “real” coffee in Guatemala and brought me back home to Seattle for a moment, minus the cold and persistent Pacific Northwest rain.
And now for the main event – the Chicken + Waffles. As I said earlier, I’ve never had this before and I figured a quaint restaurant by a beautiful Guatemalan lake might be the perfect place to try it. The dish consists of three pieces of bacon, three waffles, and three boneless pieces of fried chicken. Boneless is a rare treat in Guatemala. Heck, even their vegetables have bones. I kid, but typically all bones are left in your meat and it’s up to you to remove them. The entrée is served with your own bottle of authentic maple syrup and another of local honey.
Yes, it looks amazing, but how does it taste? Absolutely delicious! I pulled apart the chicken with my fork and knife, revealing the chicken to be moist with just the right amount of yummy fried oil goodness. I poured syrup into the waffle’s individual squares, cut off a generous bite, combined it with the chicken, and voila!, and popped it in my mouth. So. Freaking. Good.
Chicken and waffles are one of my new breakfast favorites. I’m a little worried that this sets the bar too high for the future.
My very first encounter with this iconic dish was an absolute treat. Wonderful service, great food, and one of the best views in town make Maple & Tocino a must see if you’re in Flores, Guatemala.
My name is Matt Biggers and I’m currently traveling from Central America to Peru from March through June.