Editor’s Note: In The Kruse Report, a feature on NRN.com, food trend expert Nancy Kruse looks at what’s shaping menus across the country.
The origin of the waffle is firmly rooted in the Middle Ages, but its current surge of popularity on menus reflects its compatibility with contemporary dining trends. Savvy chefs are reinventing the waffle as a side, snack or sandwich, and they’re even rethinking its place on the center of the plate.
Food truck operators have exploited the casual, hand-held nature of the product and used it as a jumping-off point for a range of innovative treatments. At Lucky J’s in Austin, Texas, the waffle substitutes for a conventional tortilla in offerings like the Brady Taco, in which Swiss cheese is melted over a bacon waffle, then doused with honey hot sauce.
Wafels and Dinges’ patrons in New York City can cover Belgian waffles, or wafels, with a range of toppings, or dinges. Some of these are authentic, like spekuloos, a spread flavored with gingerbread and cinnamon, while others are fanciful, like the cross-cultural dulce de leche.
A more upscale version can be found on the brunch menu at chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, where roasted chicken and bacon-and-chive waffles are topped with Tahitian vanilla-bean butter and classic sauce chasseur.
Contact Nancy Kruse at [email protected].