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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 9:32 am | Partly Cloudy 56º


Alice’s Aebelskabels Serves Sweet, Savory Versions of Popular Danish Treat

Food truck focused on creative versions of pancake balls known as aebleskiver

Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck Click to view larger
Solvang resident Hilary Meilen, right, owner of Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck, has relocated the food truck to Santa Barbara County where Nat Meilen, the youngest of Hilary’s four children, plays a key role during the summer break from college. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A new food truck rolling around northern Santa Barbara County has added a savory twist to a typically sweet Danish treat. 

Alice’s Aebelskabels — yes, it’s spelled in a quirky way, but for a charming reason — recently hit the road in Santa Barbara County to serve aebleskiver, or Danish pancake balls.

So about that spelling, which is used in a community where the improper use of  aebleskivers (the proper plural form of aebleskive is aebleskiver) can spark a letter to the editor.

Growing up in Santa Barbara County with Danish roots, Hilary Meilen said the word aebleskiver proved hard to say, leading to the mispronunciation which became the family nickname for their regular breakfast food.

When cutbacks left her without her job in Ohio, her brother, Matthew Moore, suggested Meilen launch a food truck to serve Danish pancake balls using the phonetic spelling of butchered word from their childhood.

“And I said that’s crazy. That’s just crazy,” said Meilen, who now lives in Solvang. “And six months later we had it built and were up and running.”

The name Alice, of course, is in honor of their maternal grandmother, Alice Sorensen.

The story of Alice and explanation behind the creative spelling are displayed on the food truck, which employs their grandmother’s basic aebleskiver recipe and even one of her pans, now 100 years old.

Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck Click to view larger
Banana and Nutella aebleskiver are one of the options at Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck.  (Courtesy photo)

The food truck, a renovated package delivery truck, got its start in Columbus, Ohio, in 2015, where the quirky spelling prompted a few rare comments from people of Danish heritage.

Last year with her four children grown, Meilen decided to return to Santa Barbara County to be closer to her parents and other family.

She recently finished securing the licenses to operate the food truck locally.

“We’re up and running and have events coming fast and furious which is very exciting,” said Meilen.

She grew up in Santa Barbara and graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1981. 

Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck Click to view larger
Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck tells the story of owner Hilary Meilen’s grandmother and the quirky spelling of aebleskiver.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“We came up here a lot as kids,” she said while sitting in Solvang. “We made them at home. My mom made for us on the weekends so I grew up eating them, grew up making them.”

When it came time to cook up a menu, Meilen figured she needed options beyond the traditional Danish offering of aebleskiver, with powdered sugar and raspberry jam.

She had experimented with sweet options while her children were growing up, so the food truck offers aebleskiver with chocolate chips in the center, a cinnamon roll version or fresh berries filling the sphere.

Family and friends were pressed into duty to test which combinations worked or didn't.

A best-selling savory offering has proven to be aebleskiver filled with prosciutto and Swiss cheese.

Another option is pastrami and gruyere cheese with a dijon mustard cream sauce. 

“It’s newer but it’s really popular,” added Nat Meilen, the youngest of Meilen’s four children who is helping out with the truck during the summer break from college.

Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck Click to view larger
Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck sells various kinds of Danish pancake balls known as aebleskiver.  (Courtesy photo)

“It’s like a hot pastrami ball of heaven ...,” Hilary Meilen added. 

In honor of the food truck’s new home state, The Californian offering includes aebleskiver with pepper jack cheese and jalapeños on the inside and topped with fresh avocado, tomato, chives, sea salt and a squeeze of lime.

“It sold very well last week. Our first weekend open and we sold out of it,” Hilary Meilen said. 

“It’s really good,” both said in unison. 

A plate of three aebleskiver, of the same flavor, will cost $6, and five of them, including two flavors, costs $10.

Several wineries have reached out for the food truck to park nearby. 

“So far there seems to be good enthusiasm for it,” Hilary Meilen said.

“For only having been open for like a week, world’s getting out fast,” Nat Meilen added.

After debuting at the Los Olivos mountain bike event and following stints in Lompoc on Saturday and Buellton on Sunday, the food truck will participate in the Lompoc Police Department’s second Food Truck Fest this week to mark Peace Officers Memorial Day. 

Food trucks and assorted law enforcement displays will be set up from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Police Department, 107 Civic Center Plaza.

For more information about the food truck's location visit Alice's Aebelskabels Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Alice’s Aebelskabels food truck Click to view larger
Nat and Hilary Meilen say the food truck’s aebleskiver filled with prosciutto and Swiss cheese has been one of the best-selling savory offerings.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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