RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Belgian

Taste of Belgium (Over-the-Rhine) | Cincinnati, OH

IMG_8001

Taste of Belgium (Facebook / @TasteofBelgium / instagram: tasteofbelgium)
1133 Vine St. (map it!)
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-4607
Open Mon, 7a-3p; Tues-Thurs, 7a-3p, 5-10p; Sat, 7a-11p; Sun, 9a-3p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Kid-friendly? Y

Visited: Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 9:30 a.m.

IMG_7984

We’ve known and loved Taste of Belgium’s stall at North Market for years. I mean, it was our first taste of real Belgian waffles, and it’s a regular snack whenever we’re strolling the market. In following the Columbus location, we’ve eagerly followed their development in Cincinnati, too. The company began as small market stalls at North Market and Findlay Market, but has since expanded to two brick-and-mortar locations in Cincinnati. (There was briefly a second Columbus location in the Wexner Center, although that has since been replaced by Heirloom Cafe.)

IMG_7995

The mainstay of Taste of Belgium’s growth is their location in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The restaurant seems to serve as an anchor for the neighborhood in its re-development, a prime example of the new businesses moving in while retaining the look and feel of the historic district. The bistro is a bright corner space that makes the most of its building. There are all the right elements: tin ceiling, old tile floors, exposed brick walls. The space is separated into two halves: one half is most of the seating and the bar, the second half includes more tables and a counter, as well as most of the production kitchen, although during the weekend it’s a large private table you can reserve.

IMG_7967

Taste of Belgium rebranded and revamped their menu recently. We’ve benefited from the additions at the North Market location, but the bistro menu covers more ground with sandwiches, sweet and savory crepes, and waffles, plus brunch classics and a featured Brunch Like A Belgian section.

IMG_7965

They’re a full service coffee shop, too. Brunch at Taste of Belgium was the beginning of a busy day exploring the city, so I ordered a shot of espresso to start.

IMG_7971

One of the features on the new menu is the chicken and waffle. It pairs their signature Liege-style waffles (denser dough, beet sugar caramelized throughout it) with a generously breaded and spiced chicken breast, plus a side salad. The dish has become one of their standouts. You really can’t beat one of their sweet, dense waffles paired with crispy and spicy chicken.

IMG_7982

We were in Cincinnati, so we had to have goetta, right? Right! I’ve had goetta before, but it’s never really had a chance to shine for me, so I immediately zeroed in on the goetta hash. Our very helpful server suggested adding an additional egg and some of their house bechamel, and I think he was spot-on. This is up there with one of my favorite dishes of 2014. Crispy Belgian frites, well-seasoned goetta, sauteed veggies, over medium eggs, and a ladle of the sauce. Each bite was rich and savory. My kind of breakfast.

IMG_7977

The brunch burger was also a winner. They halve a waffle length-wise, then fill it with a cooked-to-order patty, fried egg, havarti, and bacon. Comes with a generous side of frites, maple syrup, and a spicy mayo.

IMG_7992

Taste of Belgium is defined by their waffles. If you’ve never had them, you need to seek them out. Most restaurants call their waffles Belgian, but what we’re actually served is a lighter and crispier American style.

IMG_7994

Real Liege-style waffles are meal unto themselves. They’re hand-held, sweet and a little sticky, and it’s easy to eat a few in one sitting. They don’t refer to them as batter, but as dough. Notice how dense it is: the dough is a solid block rather than a soupy batter ladled into the irons.

IMG_7991

It’s not surprising to see someone busy at FOUR waffle irons in the restaurant. They’re just trying to keep up with the demand. I remember reading, too, that these are specialty waffle irons that the owner Jean-Francois Flechet brought it from Belgium.

IMG_7987

It’s not a bad idea to grab a bag or two of waffles on your way out the door, especially if you’re spending the day walking the neighborhood.

There’s a reason why Taste of Belgium pops up at the top of any Cincinnati brunch list. All the elements are there: great historic neighborhood, cool location (which will only be improved by when the streetcar launches), and a creative and easy to love menu. This makes me appreciate the North Market location even more, and look forward to returning to this one.

Taste of Belgium on Urbanspoon

Wafels & Dinges | New York, NY

Wafels & Dinges (Facebook / @waffletruck)
Various locations around NYC
Follow their website or Twitter feed

Waffles at midnight? Yes, please! On our previous trip to New York, we were left with some great culinary suggestions for our next visit. One of these came from Jean-Francois Flechet, owner of Taste of Belgium in Columbus and Cincinnati. He told us about a little food truck serving authentic Belgian waffles around Manhattan. So on our recent trip, as the Mrs. and I were sans kids for the weekend, we sought out Wafels & Dinges after catching a Broadway show. Off the hook, right? We used #nokidznorulznyc as our hashtag.

Once we got off the subway, it look a little searching to find the Astor Place wafel truck, but the bright yellow paint job and eager lines of NYU students helped us spot it. Wafels & Dinges has clearly been busy over the years. They have two five or six trucks in operation; we visited the Kostar, the smaller one, while the original truck Momma was operating elsewhere. Since our visit, they also opened a small permanent stand at Bryant Park.

The concept is simple: the truck serves two styles of wafels – Liege style and Brussels style. Liege style uses a batter infused with some type of sugar, so you get a compact, circular waffle that’s marbled with caramelized sugar. The Brussels style is more rectangular and more reminiscent of what most Americans think of when you say “waffles.”

You choose your base, your wafel, and then you choose the dinges, or toppings. You can customize your waffle with individual dinges, or you can choose from their menu of sweet or savory arrangements. Savory versions include ones topped with BBQ pulled pork, corn chili, or even bacon. As it was late night and we had already had dinner, we were both in a dessert mood. Mrs. Bfast w/Nick chose de Throwdown wafel, with their spekuloos spread and whipped cream.

Spekuloos is like Biscoff; it’s a glorious cookie spread similar in consistency to peanut butter or Nutella, and it’s so delicious you should put it on everything. Everything, do you hear me? Everything in the world.

I was eying the evening’s specialty: de Big Apple pi. It was everything I wanted to finish off the night.

Unfortunately, they had run out of the apples from Sarabeth’s, but they were fine with substituting  bananas instead. We both chose the Liege waffles as our base; we prefer the chewier, sweeter, denser waffle than the lighter Brussels one. So my snack consisted of: Liege waffle + bananas + dulce de leche + whipped cream + cinnamon sugar. Need I say any more? It was delicious, sweet, filling, perfect as a late night snack. No wonder Wafels & Dinges was named Best Food Truck in the country by the Travel Channel.

If you’re searching for a Wafels & Dinges truck, it’s best to keep an eye on their website. The two trucks switch locations between morning and night. In the mornings, you can typically find one in Central Park and one near Grand Central Station; in the evenings, you’ll find one near Astor Place and another on Christopher Street.

The next time you’re in New York, go find one of their trucks. For me, it’ll easily become a favorite stop in the city during every visit. And did I mention the spekuloos spread…?

Wafels & Dinges (MOBILE CART) on Urbanspoon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 290 other followers