Wafels & Waffles – NYC/NY
Since Vermont, I’ve become determined to find a good waffle in the city. Not the heavy IHOP version covered in a downpour of powdered sugar, cloying “maple” syrup, and slimed with fluorescent berry ooze, but light Belgian waffles, crisp with caramelized sugar. Last year, the interwebs went crazy over Wafels & Dinges, which at the time I ignored completely. I assumed the worst, and to be honest, was too lazy to go on the hunt for the elusive Wafels & Dinges truck. Last week however, as a serious waffle craving haunted my every minute, especially after an unsatisfying waffle experience over the weekend at Windham, I decided it was finally time to check out the waffles from Wafels & Dinges. But first, I had to find the truck.
What ever you do, don’t trust the schedule on their website. According to their website, on Tuesdays they’re in Midtown on 45th Street. So on Tuesday, I made my way there, and found a FedEx truck, but no waffles. Overnight mail it turns out, is not so yummy. So instead I got a spicy lamb pita from the new Sandwich Land Cart from the Biryani people. (I’ll write about that meal next week after I try some of their other sandwiches.) Undefeated, the next day I decided to check out their Twitter, which seems to be updated quite often. I learned they would be on 22nd Street starting at 2pm and that the password of the day, which entitles you to a free topping, was “guardsman.” For those who like to keep it old school, there’s also a phone number on their website. However, I don’t know how accurate the phone system is since I hung up as soon as I heard a prerecorded message. I don’t trust answering machine greetings. The message on my parent’s machine has been the same since 2005.
And so with my unlimited Metrocard in hand, I left the office for a mid-day snack, and was greeted by a beautiful sight as soon as I came out of the belly of the city: the waffle truck!
I ordered two waffles, the Brussels Wafel ($4) and the Mini Wafelini ($2), and using the password, I got Nutella on the Brussels. And for your information, you will feel silly using the password. Especially when the guy in the truck asks you to make a sentence with the password also. I don’t think this was part of the deal, but I went along with it anyway. The guy was funny.
The Mini Wafelini is a miniature Liege waffle, similar to the insanely good waffles from the Waffle Cabin called Sugar Waffles. However, whereas the Sugar Waffle had a thin shell of caramelized sugar, these waffles were “soft’n chewy” as the menu described. The Mini was delicious, but I longed for a little more caramelized sugar action.
I ordered the Brussels Wafel because it was described as the “Mother of all wafels!” It was good, but I’m not sure why this waffle is considered the mother, since it lacked the substance of the Mini Wafelini. It was definitely lighter and crunchier, and it reminded me of wafer ice cream cones. I do see it being a better vehicle for dinges (Flemish slang for toppings), since the flavor wasn’t as pronounced. Taking advantage of this fact, they even have a version with pulled pork and barbecue sauce called the “smokin’ Joe‘s pulled pork BBQ wafel.” Oh my! I have a feeling that could be either crazy good or god awful. But seriously, I think the Liege Wafel should revolt and overthrow the mother. It’s definitely the queen of all waffles.
On the other hand, the weekend’s waffle — which I mentioned was unsatisfying — made me realize not all ski resort waffles are created equal. I was pretty excited when I saw the Waffle Hut at Windham Mountain early in the morning as I was getting ready to get on the lift. It wasn’t open yet though, so I made sure to sneak a peek each time I tumbled down the mountain amid a flurry of snow. At noon, they finally opened for business, and I eagerly snowboarded right up to the window.
At first glance inside, I knew something was amiss. There was a heap of pre-made waffles piled up beside a fryolator. I got one anyway, with a little cup of maple syrup. At $3.50, this waffle was the cheapest of all the waffles so far, but also the least tasty. It wasn’t horrible, I mean, it was fried after all. But it reminded me more of a crispy doughnut rather than a waffle. So whereas, the Sugar Waffle from Vermont holds a special place in my heart, the waffle from Windham coagulated in a not-so-special place in my artery.
So my mission to find sugar waffles as good as the ones from the Waffle Cabin has yet to be completed. Until them, I’ll be noshing on the yummy Liege Wafels from the Wafels & Dinges Truck, which are a close second. But readers, stay tuned, the saga continues.
Waffle Hut (by the Whirlwind Express Quad)
33 Clarence D. Lane Road
Windham, NY 12496