Wafflemania Hits San Francisco

Handheld waffles are big business in Belgium, and they're reaching critical mass in San Francisco. Recently, news broke that Anthony Myint of Mission Chinese, Commonwealth, and Mission Bowling Club, is teaming up with coffee roaster Andrew Barnett (formerly of Ecco, which is now Intelligentsia) to open Linea Caffe, a little espresso/food stand in the Mission, right next to Duc Loi supermarket.

Sounds like the cafe's focus will be on espresso instead of pour-over coffee, but the bigger news is that Myint will be trying out a few new concepts: GreenSalads.org, which comes with its own manifesto, and Lt. Waffle, which will be offering sweet and savory Brussels-style waffles.

We're not opposed to anything Myint comes up with, and are sure the waffles will be delicious. But the thing is, there's no waffle shortage facing San Francisco right now. Not to even get into the whole chicken-and-waffles obsession (chronicling that would require most of a day), waffles have made their way onto local streets in the form of pop-ups Chrissy's Waffles and b.street Waffles, Blue Bottle's waffles served in the Ferry Building, and food trucks Waffle Mania and Golden Waffle, just off the top of our head.

What most of them are making are considered Liege waffles, which are different from the Brussels-style waffles that Myint is planning because they're sweeter and denser, with brioche-like dough and pearl sugar folded in, which forms a nice caramelized crust during baking.

Brussels waffles, on the other hand, are lighter, doughier, crispier, and less sweet, though they're often dusted with powdered sugar or even topped with whipped cream or chocolate syrup and strawberries. Perhaps the town is big enough for both kinds.

And as for the the so-called “Belgian waffles” you make on Sunday mornings? Completely an American invention, born during the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle at a waffle house managed by a Belgian chef.

Still, as with all trends in the culinary world, we're just counting down the days until the inevitable waffle backlash. How long before international pancakes become the next waffles?

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