Saturday, December 14, 2013

Waffallonia: Not Your Average Waffles


I was never a fan of waffles as a kid. Perhaps that’s because I grew up eating frozen waffle discs compliments of the toaster.  It wasn’t until I went to college that waffles became a staple food item.  Choosing to skip on the daily blasé offerings of cafeteria items only a freshman could love, I spent a quality three minutes at the “Create Your Own Waffle” station more often than not.  On adventurous nights, I’d throw a few scoops of ice cream on top and consider myself a culinary genius.  So when Waffallonia opened up in Squirrel Hill a couple years back, I threw on my freshman 15 jeans and headed on over.  I’ve been indulging on these sinfully authentic Belgian waffles ever since.

If you’re a fan of the Americanized, made-from-batter "Belgian" waffles, then your waffle lovin’ mind will be blown when you sink your teeth into a Liège waffle.  These waffles get their namesake from the Belgian province in which they were created.  Liège waffles are unique in that they are made from yeast dough (an adapted form of brioche dough to be precise).  This is the smell that consumes you when opening the door.  Another difference in comparing Liège waffles with our made in America waffles is that they are sweetened with pearl sugar.  This sugar caramelizes the outside of the waffle, leaving a delicious, crunchy exterior while maintaining a soft, chewy texture on the inside.  Some of the pearl sugar remains intact within the waffle too, providing unexpected little bursts of sweetness as you eat.  In other words, once you taste a Liège waffle you will literally find all other waffles subpar. 

Now, if you were in Wallonia, you’d most likely eat a Liège waffle plain or with a little cinnamon, but thankfully here in Pittsburgh I can still get my fill of waffles a la mode.  There are normally six Dave and Andy’s ice cream flavors to choose from ranging from Vanilla Bean to Speculoos (a European spiced shortbread cookie).  I actually prefer the, dare I say, “boring” Vanilla Bean because it’s yummy and it doesn’t overpower the flavor the of the waffle.  If you’re not in the mood for the cold stuff, you can get a spread of Nutella or maybe some fresh fruit and whipped cream instead…heck, maybe all of the above. 

Liège Waffle with Speculoos Ice Cream

Liège Waffle with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Liège Waffle with Chocolate Ice Cream
The only dilemma one might have when visiting Waffallonia is where to eat your delightful creation.  In the summer, it’s perfect because you can take it to go and eat it outside, maybe sitting on the steps of a neighboring business.  Winter months can be a tad more challenging if you go when it’s busy as the seating is quite limited inside (think 6-8 bar stools in the back).  For me, I could care less if it’s a little crowed.  I will gladly stand elbow to elbow to get my waffle on…or you can always dine in your car. 

Waffallonia is making the best waffles in Pittsburgh.  Treat yourself to an amazing dessert or, if you're like me, a nostalgic college dinner.  Just remember, you’ll never be able to look at other waffles the same way again. 

I give Waffallonia: 4.5/5 forks
1707 Murray Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
412-521-4902

Neighborhood: Squirrel Hill

*This review is of the Squirrel Hill location, but there is also a Waffallonia kiosk located in Schenley Plaza (Oakland).

Waffallonia on Urbanspoon

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