No. 52: Belgian Waffles at Waffle Up 300 Elati Street 303-744-0174
In the streets of Brussels and many other Belgian cities, waffle vendors perfume the air with the aroma of yeast-risen batter and caramelized sugar. Tom McCarty fell in love with Liege-style waffles and perfected the recipe, bring the treats to Denver streets with the Waffle Up food truck he fired up with co-owner Jasmine Spoonemore. But now you don't need to brave the elements for a bite of Belgian goodness: the two opened their brick-and-mortar Waffle Up cafe in the Baker neighborhood just a couple of months ago. With a menu of sweet and savory selections, it's not hard to find a favorite, but why not go for a little of both? The maple bacon waffle proves to be the perfect morning pick-me-up.
Unlike flat, crispy American waffles or even the fat, crunchy versions that pass as Belgian waffles in many breakfast diners across the country, Waffle Up nails the chewy, bready texture of the Liege originals. The magic is in the yeasty dough, which results in a firmer and denser waffle than baking soda-leavened versions. The other secret is Belgian pearl sugar -- a rare commodity on this side of the Atlantic. The tiny beads of sugar mixed into the dough melt and caramelize against the hot surface of the waffle iron, adding sweet, crunchy bits to the outer surface of each waffle.
Already savory-sweet, the waffles get punched up with a variety of toppings. Our favorite is the maple and bacon combo: the waffle is paved with a layer of fat, smoky bacon and then doused with a creamy maple glaze. Salt, fat and sugar mingle in every bite. With a cup of Corvus coffee in the cozy cafe, it's a deeply satisfying way to start the day.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next few months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
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