Sometimes, it can feel like “street food” is synonymous with “what people are eating in Hanoi.”
That's not always the case. Gerald Luna's b.street waffles use a Belgian waffle recipe for a yeasted dough not unlike brioche from the city of Liège to replicate what vendors once cooked up in specially gridded irons and hawked from church steps in the 17th century.
With imported pearl sugar folded into the dough after it rises and additions like baked-in Tcho chocolate, b.street goes for old-timey street cred. Luna, a Dutch-speaker, once toured Belgium for six weeks, stepping off trains and following his nose around various towns and villages to gain insight into all the regional variations of the iconic dish.
And the results of his aimless wandering are pretty conclusive. Thick and chewy, b.street waffles are moist enough not to require any syrup, and hearty enough to stand on their own as a full meal.
Having begun with street fairs and appearances at Alcatraz Landing during Fleet Week, b.street has since graduated to “start-up pop-up” status, with larger, more regular clients like Dropbox. (A brick-and-mortar location is in the pipeline.) In the meantime, these hand-held treats show up Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the Castro Coffee Company.
Disproving the idea that Americans would never eat waffles in their hand strikes Luna as a personal victory of sorts. In nine months, he's sold over 10,000 of them, from maple bacon and salted caramel to customized flavors (think Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or seasonal specialties like pumpkin and gingerbread), and all for only $3.
Belgium might still be waffling over whether to remain one country, but these should become a fixture in the Bay Area.