January 25, 2015

I started to hijack my own review of Dugger's this morning with this information, and then decided it was best to make a dedicated post.

Waffles are an interesting topic. And admittedly not one I've gone into detail researching before. As a kid, you know the difference between a waffle and pancake because waffles hold more syrup (and peanut butter).

But really, if you look into it, waffles can vary greatly depending on where you are in the world. And to make matters more complicated, apparently the types are somewhat open to interpretation. Plenty more waffle information is available on Wikipedia, if you're interested. Because this post is focusing on Belgian Waffles.

What we can apparently agree on, is that "a waffle is a leavened batter or dough cooked between two plates, with a specific 'waffled' look". So a waffle has to look like a waffle.

Now, I've been craving a particular type of waffle recently... The kind with a yeast-leavened dough and sugar baked right in, making them dense, caramelized, slightly chewy but still sweet and crunchy. The kind of waffle that can stand on its own and be eaten in-hand.

This is the Liege Waffle. (Waffle Window in Portland knows what I'm talking about here). The Liege is one of the two common types of waffle available in Belgium. And it is flipping fantastic!

The Waffle Window 'Liege Waffle'
Then there is the Brussels Waffle, the second common Belgium waffle type. They are allegedly always rectangular (where the Liege may not be) with a lighter, yet crispy texture and deeper pockets. Brussels waffles are prepared with an egg-white-leavened or yeast-leavened batter (or sometimes both). Sometimes dusted with powdered-sugar, whipped cream, fruit or chocolate spread. These and the Liege are both common 'street food' waffles.

Brussels vs Liege waffles. Photo credit: Otts World.
Neither of these waffle types is akin to the 'Belgian Waffle' which we really should call the 'American Belgian Waffle' since there is no such thing as a Belgian Waffle in Belgium.

The American Belgian Waffle is a simplified recipe of the Brussels waffle. It's probably leavened with baking powder, there are no specific shape criteria, and use a yeast batter (while 'regular' American waffles could just be pancake batter cooked into in a waffled shape). So really, if you're at a restaurant in the U.S. and see 'Belgian Waffle' on the menu, there's no telling what might show up. But it most certainly is NOT going to be a Liege or Brussels waffle.

Lesson learned. Let the hunt for Liege waffles in Omaha begin...

Well that was quick.

Cast Iron Waffles (Westroads Mall) looks like the most promising candidate since the words 'Belgian Liege Waffles' is right in the name!!! One of only 4 locations, it's a relatively new addition to our area, but one I'm excited to check out. Probably as soon as I'm done writing this post.

But who else can sling a decent waffle in town? 

When it comes to Chicken and Waffles, I know first-hand that both Lot 2 and Blatt Beer & Table can throw down on that topic. 

Where else are the waffles worth a try in town? I'm thinking... 
  • Taxi's: Their Gran Marnier dipped french toast might set an interesting precedent for their waffles, and I've been generally impressed with their other brunch items.
  • Pig & Finch: I haven't been for brunch, but they list a 'Belgian Style Waffle'...
  • Railcar: I know their brunch is stand-out delicious. Their chicken and waffle is probably worthy of praise as well. 
  • Le Boullion: Haven't been here yet, but their 'Sunday Waffle' sounds very promising. 
  • Bailey's: One of my favorite breakfast spots. They have a 'Belgian Waffle Plate' but I'm not really optimistic about it. 
Good luck waffle hunters. Honestly I almost never order waffles at restaurants for this reason. You hardly ever know what's going to show up (although I suppose you could say this about anything). Anyway, I'm off to Westroads for a Liege waffle!