The Waffle Van (L’Etoile du Nord)

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https://twitter.com/TheWaffleVan   

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Waffle-Van/154816037921188?fref=ts  

Main Location: ???

               Long has this elusive van been in business on the streets, and long have I been trying to track it down in my spare time. For the longest time I could not tell if they truly only ever came out once every couple months for specific special events (such as Rock the Cause, Art-a-Whirl, etc), which I always missed or couldn’t go to. OR if they’re out semi-frequently in some out-of-the-way area and just don’t inform anyone about it. If only I was there in their first year of 2011 when they actually seemed to care about it.

            I have a lot I’d like to say about this particular fact, especially concerning the day they wrote to me that they were going to be at a certain all-day jazz fest. Well, not only did they not show up (I was there for 4+ hours too), but they didn’t even post anything saying why… ever… even after I posted asking why. –sigh- Well, again I’d go on, but if I did it’d take up more of the post than is rightfully fair.

            Based out of L’etoile du Nord Café, owner Olivier spent his time roasting coffee for the local Cyclist scene. With his Belgian roots calling, it wasn’t long before he opened up The Waffle Van, pedaling out this Belgian delight to those… ummm, pedaling up the road? (Sounds cheesy enough, I’ll go with it)

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            Well, it seems he does two things and does them well. Which is good, because they’re the only two things on the entire menu (except for French Fries, but as far as I know that might just be for big Fairs/events). One can get Coffee, and one can get a Waffle, and that’s basically it. There are of course toppings, what kind of Belgian Waffle place would it be without it? Sticking PURELY seasonal, one only has one option depending on the time of year. My visit found a mound of Nutella with Bananas and whipped cream, though he admitted that the coming few weeks is likely to find him gathering bunches of Rhubarb for a tasty preserve.

            There is ONE last thing they offer, but it has nothing to do with the Food. Being Belgian, it seems Olivier can’t stand the idea of a lacking drink list. So, instead of the stereotypical cans of generic soda, the window of this truck is lined with various Belgian beers and quality Wine. The selection of course changes upon whim and availability, which, along with the special permits and other hoops he has to jump through just to sell them shows the level of effort and attention they go through just in their drinks.

            Since this blog is about food, however, I think it’s about time I wrap things up and actually GET to that.

 

Food: 9

              With only one product, there’s not too much that needs saying. The waffle is rich and flavorful; not “crispy” on the outside, but not soft, that kind of solid texture one expects from a good waffle. But the inside, ooooooooh, the inside; thick, soft but moist, not really “chewy,” but sort of dense in all the right ways. This isn’t an “airy” little thing, it’s a rich little lattice of Belgian goodness, topped with whatever the season yields. Though I haven’t tried any of his fruit toppings, the fact they’re seasonal and he makes them himself are sure to be tasty.

             Fries look basic, similar to what one may find at almost any Fair stand; not that I want them to be anything else, I’m there only for the Waffle.

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Holdability: 8

             With toppings, as one would imagine, handheld once again takes a back step. However, its tenderness makes for very easy eating, the plastic forks cutting right through with little to no actual tugging required. Two hands required, but the capability to walk is still there. Though if you want to eat a plain one, it’ll probably hold better than a Pasty.

Price: 9.5

            With toppings, the waffles come to a solid $5, getting a large palm-sized pastry for your reward, piled with the topping of the day. If wanting it plain, however, the charge comes to $4. For a delicious and specialized item such as this, which one still can’t get in any other truck, this comes to a very fair price and a good deal.

Speed: 9.5

              Cooking them almost continually, fresh waffles are usually ready when one orders, leaving the time spent only to pay and top the Belgian delight (that is if one gets it topped).

The TOE: 7.5

             Fast, highly specialized (as in only offering ONE item), unique concept compared to other trucks, spiffy design, and they have an interesting clientele demographic! (you know, the cyclists…) They hold many of the little feelings and aspects that make the great food trucks.

              Normally, I’d probably give a truck like this a great big 10. However, the past couple years they’ve refused to update their location except for very specific large events, which even THIS year they didn’t even do themselves, with most Truckie hopefuls relying only on the very few posts by those who had the luck to eat there (which of course came either PURE last-minute or the next day when they’re gone). Combine this with the blatant lie and lack of apology/acknowledgement I received concerning the jazz band last year, and I can’t help but feel this entire attitude towards potential customers is nothing but disrespectful and insulting. Thus only letting those “lucky” enough to live near them or just happen by them to get the chance to sample. Whether it’s agreed on by others or not, I find this is an issue that not only needs to be brought up but counted towards them as a Food Truck as a whole.

              As such, points shall be taken off, and I myself now hold no interest in going back until they fix this particular point of themselves (I’ve already eaten there once for blog purposes, that’s all I need), and I would ask those who can to do the same.

                        Tally: 43.5/50

                       

Final Thoughts

              Hmmmm, what to get what to get, so many things I could suggest… though I guess if I HAD to settle on JUST ONE thing… it’d probably have to be a Waffle! Load it up while you’re at it, get the full experience. If one requires something more portable, getting it plain is cheaper and still very enjoyable. Actually, it’s probably quite the fun idea to get a plain waffle with a cup of their coffee; a great pastry substitute, it’ll make for good dipping and tasty flavor matches.

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              Ignore the Fries; when people go here it’s for one thing and one thing only. Well, two things; this place stands as one of the pinnacles of the “Beverage Stop” for “Food Truck Days” or outings at a Fair. Not many places have such nice beers on display in a mobile setting, and for only $5, that’s not too damn bad.

            Of course, these words are only to be taken into consideration after they’ve started updating their locations once more. I still hold my main opinion that we hold some form of boycott against this truck until then. If they don’t hold any concern in trying to reach out to new customers, I don’t see why we should show any concern in even going there.

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3 thoughts on “The Waffle Van (L’Etoile du Nord)

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