Archive for the 'Belgian' Category

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Sweet Iron Waffles – Seattle

SWEET IRON SEATTLE

The timing couldn’t have been anymore perfect. Right before I left for Seattle, I posted about a lackluster Liège waffle served up at Holly’s Coffee. I lamented its pathetic texture and yearned for the real deal. The food blogging gods must have been smiling down upon me because on my second day in the city, I was riding on one of the city’s dependable public buses when I spied a shop specializing in “The Real Liège Waffle!”  I made a mental note of the coordinates of Sweet Iron Waffles and swore to return the following day.

SWEET IRON SEATTLE

After a visit to The Crumpet Shop, The Astronomer, Rosalind, and I indulged in a second breakfast at Sweet Iron. The moment I walked into the shop and saw the Belgian waffle iron and smelled the caramelized sugar, I knew I was in the right place.

SWEET IRON SEATTLE

As is the norm in these here parts, all of the waffles at Sweet Iron are made with the best organic, local, and all natural ingredients. Most notably, the flour is from The Shepherd’s Grain, an alliance of progressive family farmers who are dedicated to sustainable agriculture.

We started off with a classic Liège waffle ($2.99) made with a brioche-style dough (all natural butter, flour, honey, yeast) and plenty of little pearl sugar beads. Finished with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar, the waffle arrived crisp, warm, and glossily caramelized. Its texture was slightly flaky, while the flavor was ever so sweet. Sweet Iron’s specimen was indeed “The Real Liège Waffle.”

SWEET IRON SEATTLE

Taking a walk on the savory side, we also ordered a basil and Val de Saone brie waffle ($4.99). Soon after the above photo was snapped, the cheese melted its way into the waffle’s crevices, yielding a sweet, savory, and herbaceous blend. Rosalind was on the fence about whether or not savory toppings went well atop a sweet waffle, but The Astronomer and I were certain it was a winning combination.

Thanks, Sweet Iron Waffles, for erasing the awful memory of Holly’s Coffee.

Sweet Iron Waffles
1200 3rd Avenue, Suite 110
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 206-682-3336

Sweet Iron Waffles on Urbanspoon

Hollys Coffee – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

HOLLY'S COFFEE

For every KyoChon and Pappa Rich that’s managed to integrate successfully into the American fast food landscape, there’s a Hollys Coffee to balance things out. While I still believe that Korea has the world’s tastiest chains, not all are created equal. Whereas the aforementioned eateries have mastered their signature dishes—fried chicken and buttery buns, respectively—Hollys Coffee can’t quite seem to execute a decent Belgian waffle.

HOLLY'S COFFEE

In addition to “fresh coffee [and] romantic space,” Hollys Coffee promises authentic Belgian waffles from the eastern city of Liège. I encountered my first Liège waffle not in Belgium, but in Philadelphia. Whereas waffles I’d eaten prior were fluffy things made with a loose batter poured onto a hot iron, these dough-based creations were dense, chewy, caramelized, and embedded with beads of pearl sugar. Served warm and without maple syrup, a Liège waffle was the perfect sweet for an afternoon pick-me-up.

HOLLY'S COFFEE

There were half a dozen waffles sitting idle behind a glass case when I walked into the shop. After confirming with the person behind the counter that I’d be receiving a fresh one, I placed my order and took a seat. Two minutes later, a waffle tucked into a paper bag arrived.

HOLLY'S COFFEE

Even before I took a bite, the waffle’s tepid temperature and limp appearance signaled that I had been duped. I should’ve known better than to seek out Belgian fare at a Korean establishment, but I figured that if a Japanese chain could execute a decent French cream puff then a Korean one could pull off a Belgium waffle. Alas, my logic was flawed.

Now, where can I find a legit Liège waffle in Los Angeles?

Hollys Coffee
3450 W 6th Street, Ste. 111
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Phone: 213-389-4553

Hollys Coffee on Urbanspoon

Hollys Coffee in Los Angeles

Syrup Desserts – Los Angeles (Downtown)

SYRUP DESSERTS

Remember that little statement I made in my Squid Ink profile about being the type of eater who waited for good reviews to roll in before slapping down my credit card to try a new restaurant? Well, there should have been an asterisk next to it. Positive buzz or not, I’ll be the first in line to test out a newly opened eatery if it specializes in Belgian waffles. While I’ve never had the pleasure of biting into a piping hot waffle on the streets of Belgium, I’ve tasted an adequate approximation stateside at Bonté in Philadelphia and have been enamored ever since.

When I received news that Syrup Desserts would be offering Belgian waffles in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, a huge smile swept across my face. It’s been years since I’ve experienced the crisp, chewy sweetness of a Belgian waffle and was giddy for another go.

SYRUP DESSERTS

My posse of late night revelers, including The Astronomer, Diana Takes a Bite, Eat, Sip, Chew, Naked Sushi, The Roaming Belly, and L.A. and O.C. Foodventures, arrived on the Syrup Desserts scene minutes before eleven. We’d just finished a night of celebrating and boozing at The Association and were ready for a sugary nightcap.

Syrup Desserts is a two-story temple of crepes, waffles, and sweet grilled cheese sandwiches. After placing our order at the counter—one waffle and one grilled cheese—we hoofed it to the second floor and settled into a table fit for six. The upstairs decor reminded me of a set from a Bunim/Murray production.

SYRUP DESSERTS

The Astronomer’s grilled Muenster cheese sandwich with blackberries and walnuts ($5.50) tasted much more impressive than it looked. The thin slices of white bread were smeared with butter and sprinkled with sugar, which created a toasty and caramelized exterior.

SYRUP DESSERTS

The innards spewed sweet berries and gooey cheese. The kitchen did not skimp on the fresh blackberries, which resulted in a sweet and savory amalgam of flavors. What a delight!

SYRUP DESSERTS

Syrup Desserts didn’t offer an unadorned Belgian waffle, so I went with a Blueberry Lemon Drop that was served with powdered sugar and whipped cream ($1.95). Upon receiving my waffle, I pushed the whipped cream aside in order to taste it in its simplest state. The bites where the cream hadn’t soaked in were crisp, but sadly not caramelized, and tasted doughy rather than chewy. The waffle had a certain appeal, but I was hoping for a Liège waffle with chunks of pearl sugar and caramelized ridges.

We’ll be back for the Honey Pot.

Syrup Desserts
611 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Phone:  213-488-5136

Bonté – Philadelphia

May 12, 2007
Cuisine: Belgian, Desserts & Bakeries, Coffeehouses

130 S 17th St, Philadelphia 19103
Btwn Sansom St & Moravian St

Phone: 215-557-8510
Website: www.bontewaffles.com

Belgian Sugar Waffles with Blueberries ($3.50)

I once read that it takes three weeks to form a habit. If this is indeed true, my Bonté habit is coming along nicely. The Astronomer and I stopped by Bonté’s 17th street location to see whether mixing in some fresh blueberries into an already delicious waffle would bring the treat to a whole new level. Our conclusion? Mixed.

Like the original waffle, the blueberry waffle is made from a dough. Blueberries and sugar crystals are mixed into the dough, squished between a waffle iron, and served piping hot.

Since I wasn’t really in a snacking mood, I let The Astronomer choose the mix in. He wavered between pecans and blueberries and eventually picked blueberries because he loves berries with all of his heart. I thought the waffle tasted more ordinary with the addition of blueberries. The built in sweetness and flaky texture unique to Bonté’s waffles were subdued by the fruit’s tartness and oozing juice. My mix-in of choice would have been white chocolate because I love my sweets really sweet. While I have yet to try this mix-in, I’m hoping that melted chocolate won’t effect the waffles incredible texture because that would be a shame.

The Astronomer thought the addition of blueberries improved upon the plain even though it masked the waffle’s natural sweetness. Unlike me, The Astronomer likes his sweets a little tart and thus this combination really tickled his fancy. Even though he enjoyed the blueberry waffle more than the plain, The Astronomer highly recommends new Bonté eaters trying the plain first before experimenting with mix-ins in order to get a true sense of a Bonté waffle.

Two locations down, just one more to go…

Bonte on Urbanspoon

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