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February 26, 2015

Have you noticed I’m already falling behind at keeping up with questions on the blog? Maybe I can catch up over the weekend or something. I’m loving the new job, but it totally takes away from all that leisure time I spent blogging. Not that I’ve historically spent that time answering questions anyhow. But it’s good to have something new to blame for my lack of correspondence.

But, wow, am I excited about some of the things on the horizon.

Since I’m waffling on this question and answer thing, it’s probably a good day to talk briefly about waffles. Especially since I got a question via email explicitly on the subject of waffles. The Universe is clearly trying to send me a message. Who am I do deny the universe a waffle post?

These days, waffles are popping up everywhere, in unexpected places, using unexpected ingredients, and almost all of them are awesome.

It doesn’t feel like all that long ago when All Over Albany was reporting on the Liege waffles being sold at the Troy Farmers market with the specially imported pearl sugar, which caramelizes on the edges of the waffle iron in such a delightful way. But those are a very traditional form of the food, if not traditionally American.

Recently, things have been getting weird, and people have been putting all kinds of stuff in waffle irons. Around Thanksgiving, you’ll find stories of stuffing waffles. These are based on the idea that the best parts of poultry stuffing that’s made outside of the bird are the crispy edges. Well, if you take that stuffing and put it in the waffle iron, it’s all crispy edges.

Really, it’s brilliant.

So you can’t blame other foods for coming along and demanding the same waffle iron treatment. One of the variations I have seen most recently was macaroni and cheese waffles. Much like deep fried macaroni and cheese wedges take this comfort food and wrap it in a hot and crispy package, the technique with the waffle iron achieves the same ends, but with added caramelization.

Maybe you know a trend is over when the big chain restaurants start trying to cash in on it. Actually, IHOP tried to cash in on two mega trends in one fell swoop. They took the donut made from croissant dough and the waffle made out of anything, and turned it into the waffle made out of croissant dough.

It’s hard not to see this as an abomination.

Let’s remember for a second that all of these waffle-y concoctions are made with a deep-welled Belgian-style waffle maker. This is the waffle that has really taken over the hearts and minds of Americans, with our more is more ideals. These waffles can hold more butter and more syrup, providing a much better fat and sugar delivery device than their thinner cousin, the diner waffle.

You probably know the kind if you’ve ever been to a Waffle House. Instead of just a few large, deep wells, the impressions are much smaller and more multiplicitous. After eating a Belgian waffle, they may not even seem like wells at all. This waffle may remind you more of a textured pancake.

Still, this form has its merits.

It’s thin and it’s crisp. It takes more bites to finish one, since each fork full is a smaller percentage of the whole. They are less inclined to dump a mess of melted butter and syrup on your lap. These can also effectively be rolled up into some kind of waffle burrito, or maybe a plus-sized waffle taco, for a tasty variation on the standard breakfast sandwich.

I’m grasping at straws here. Waffles aren’t something that get me all excited, unless perhaps you are talking about a stuffing waffle, because that still sound fabulous. Especially if gravy is involved. But for that, I want wells as deep as humanly possible. Because, gravy.

So here’s the question. It’s not from me, it’s from a reader. And since I’m not so into waffles, I didn’t feel equipped to answer with any authority.

Where in the Capital Region (if anywhere) can you get those thinner style waffles?

There has to be a diner around here someplace that makes a kickass version of this southern classic. Who has the answer? Bonus points if there is a real maple syrup option, but the reader recognizes that diner waffles sometimes are served with breakfast syrup, and is willing to make that sacrifice. The heart wants what the heart wants. True love doesn’t waffle.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Debra permalink
    February 26, 2015 11:18 am

    Thought I could help on this one, but no. I think I had a waffle at the Wolf Rd. diner, but not sure what kind it was (could have been Belgian). I like to put my 2 eggs on top so that the yolk can run into the wells. That’s all I care about. And, I do love a Waffle House waffle when I’m visiting down south.

  2. February 26, 2015 11:41 am

    I’m not sure where to get a thin waffle. This past fall I was doing potato pancake batter in a waffle iron with a little rosemary and melted duck fat instead of oil. It went well with a pan roasted chicken breast (skin on of course), maple glazed Brussels sprouts, and sage infused chicken demi glace. I was up to a three to five waffle per day habit. Yes, it was my version of chicken and waffles.

  3. Lakesider permalink
    February 26, 2015 12:19 pm

    Iron Roost in Ballston Spa does some creative, tasty dishes with waffles, both sweet and savory.

    • permalink
      February 26, 2015 11:24 pm

      I second the Iron Roost. You can get breakfast sandwiches in a thin waffle wrap. I have also had a brownie made in the waffle iron here and it was sublime.

    • Billy permalink
      February 27, 2015 9:41 am

      Yep, Iron Roost in Ballston Spa. I’ve eaten there a few times. Good stuff.

  4. ericscheirerstott permalink
    March 8, 2015 3:04 pm

    I would like to make you a gift of a vintage waffle iron which will make VERY thin waffles. I have a 1920’s iron with no thermostat- it will make dangerously crisp waffles.

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