Vancouver Weekend: We're Thinking....Waffles

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      Need something to do this weekend? Here are five places where you can indulge in waffles for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.

      Pâtisserie Lebeau, 1728 West 2nd Avenue

      Embarrassing as it might be to admit this, when it comes to waffles, there can be too much of a good thing. Take the whopping array of options at Pâtisserie Lebeau, a pastry shop where the house speciality is based on a  recipe that can be traced to the Belgian city of Liège.

      Those who like things light can opt for delicately flavoured lemon, apple-cinnamon, or cranberry Liège waffles with a crisp coating of pearl sugar imported from Belgium. Choco-holics have dark and white options (both with or without almonds), while nut fiends can reach for the pecan or pistachio offerings. If savoury’s your thing, Lebeau’s Brussels waffles come in spinach-and-feta, ham-and-cheese, bacon-and-cheese, and corn-and-jalapeño.

      And then there are the filled varieties, literally bursting with pineapple and custard, peach and custard, and ham and cheese. The only downside about the variety at Pâtisserie Lebeau—which is a daily destination for many of us at the Straight—is that you run the danger of having waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, it’s really too much of a good thing.

       

      Liege-style waffles with salted caramel and maple syrup dip at Medina Café.
      Medina Café

      Medina Café, 780 Richards Street

      As far as waffle culture goes in Vancouver, Medina Café is an early pioneer. The Mediterranean-inspired eatery has been attracting crowds with its Liège-style waffles since its debut as Chambar’s cozy sister-neighbour eight years ago. These days, it occupies a much larger space downtown, but a quick trip to the in-demand brunch spot on literally any given afternoon confirms that the waffle-loving masses just won’t let up.

      Beautifully rounded, glistening with caramelized sugar, and bursting with a rich-chewy-buttery taste trifecta that only decadent, brioche-based dough can spring, these babies are as close as it gets to dining in a quaint, 18th-century café along the cobblestone streets of Bruges. Sprinkled with a delicate dusting of icing sugar, the waffles’ perfectly deep pockets hold your topping of choice with ease:  maple syrup and dark chocolate for the traditionalists, salted caramel for the kids at heart, and flavours like milk-chocolate-lavender and white-chocolate-pistachio-rosewater for those looking to stray outside their after-meal comfort zones.

      So go to town on your short-rib fricassee or morning-appropriate paella and, despite declaring minutes beforehand that you can’t eat another bite, rest assured that no one will be casting a judging eye when you decide to order up dessert before noon.

       

      Miracle Belgian Waffle's Rich Ritzzy and Berry Good flavours.
      Tammy Kwan

      Miracle Belgian Waffle, 160–2950 Glen Drive, Coquitlam

      Some of the best hidden gems lie farther away from the city. For instance, Miracle Belgian Waffle is tucked away on a restaurant-and-café-filled street in central Coquitlam, home to the up-and-coming Evergreen Line. The decently-sized waffle joint is both cozy and charming, with dimmed lighting and Fujifilm Instax prints hanging on the walls.

      You’ll find both sweet and savoury waffles on the menu, with a choice of either Brussels- or Liège-style. Try the mouth-watering Rich Ritzzy flavour: a combination of walnut ice cream, Ritz Crackers, white chocolate, and whipped cream dusted with icing sugar. Matcha lovers should go for the Green Light flavour made with green-tea ice cream, red beans, almond, and whipped cream. We know what you’re thinking: do savoury waffles even taste good? The answer is yes… an overwhelming yes.

      Once you get a sniff of the pizza waffle (with chopped tomatoes, onions, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic sauce), you’ll wonder why you’ve never had it before. The trek will be worth it even if you’re not familiar with the suburbs. (It’s only a 35-minute drive from downtown.)

       

      The Scandilicious Waffle with boiled egg, lemon dill, and shrimp.
      Scandilicious/Facebook

      Scandilicious, 25 Victoria Drive

      Located right down by the working docks in East Vancouver, this wood-panelled, laid-back little haunt with mid-century chairs and industrial pendant lights has a definite Scandinavian vibe—Norwegian to be exact. (Note the “Velkommen” that greets you on the chalkboard and the prominently displayed Viking helmet.) The main attraction here is the truly mind-blowing array of gourmet savoury waffles that rank as full meals in themselves.

      Given the setting, we lean toward the Nordic-flavoured options, whether it’s the brunchy Scandilicious Waffle, with its boiled egg, lemon dill, and shrimp, or the Den Beste waffle, complete with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onions, capers, and, again, the signature tangy lemon-dill sauce. On the sweet side, don’t miss the Apple Pieffle, with a mountain of cooked apple, gingerbread-spice spread, and whipped cream served on top of a piping-hot Liège-style waffle, or the basic Lover’s: strawberries and whipped cream artfully drizzled in Scandinavian-grade chocolate.

      Wash them down with an espresso and think of fjords, troll figurines, and the blinding midnight sun.

       

      Nero's Biscuit waffle: vanilla ice cream, real whipped cream, Oreo cookie crumble, and dark Belgian chocolate.
      Tammy Kwan

      Nero Belgian Waffle Bar, 1703 Robson Street

      If you ever walk past this brick-and-mortar dessert shop at the northwest end of Robson Street, it’s probably going to be completely full at any given time of the day. To top it off, you’ll also see loyal Nero lovers spilling out onto the sidewalk. Even so, you should not proceed to walk away, because it knows how to serve a damn good waffle.

      With chic décor and a wood-themed interior, the hipster dessert spot offers two waffle options: the light and crispy Brussels and the soft and sweet Liège. The Heaven waffle is light and fruity, combining fresh strawberries and real whipped cream. The Dame Blanche is heavier, with vanilla ice cream, real whipped cream, and dark Belgian chocolate, but gives a satisfying feeling after you realize you’ve finished the entire plate without sharing.

      The ultimate dessert lover should go for the Bresilienne waffle, which is topped with hazelnut crumble, caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, and, of course, real whipped cream (the latter pairing is obviously a must). No seating? Don’t fret—your last resort is to order the waffle to-go and enjoy it in the comfort of your home.

      Running every Thursday, Vancouver Weekend spotlights five Straight-approved places around the city worth discovering.

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