Halloween escaped me this year. I’m normally the first one vying for a pumpkin to carve or dreaming up my costume. Last year I proudly crossed town in my mustard yellow tights and matching ballet flats, white skirt and orange tank as none other than Halloween’s hallmark treat, candy corn. I’ve also been known to don toilet paper rolls (sans paper) in my hair to help replicate princess Jasmine’s voluminous hairstyle. I was in fourth grade and man, was I proud of that costume. I’m typically a sucker for the costumes and candy, but somehow, this one creeped up on me and stealthily slithered beneath my radar. And I have to admit, I was a little disappointed.
That’s not to say I’ve skipped out on Fall decorations, alltogether. My fireplace is swathed in crimson, green and gold leaf garland, wonderfully lumpy goards and a few stems of those delicate orange plant pods I believe are known as japanese lanterns. A row of baby pumpkins proudly marches across my coffee table and a pile of speckled Indian corn, papery husks and all, graces my window sill. The whole scene is so lovely, I couldn’t bear to disturb it by butchering my tall twisty-stemmed pumpkin to craft a jack-o-lantern. And so the holiday went by without so much as a flickering spooky face, which also means I can’t serve up the recipe for candied pepitas (pumpkin seeds) I had planned for this week. Don’t worry, though, I candy walnuts in much the same way for a tasty salad of apples, pears and blue cheese that I will share with you in the weeks to come.
In the absense of those little pepitas, I will offer you, instead, some lovely views of Central Park, alive and beginning its Autum blaze. That, and a shot of the most delicious waffle I have ever tasted. Seriously. Better even than the mile-high malted belgian waffle that I thought was the best kept secret of a little coffee shop back home. Even piled high with fresh fruit and real whipped cream, it doesn’t hold a candle to the one I had last weekend.
Have you ever had a real Belgian waffle? I thought I had–dusted in powdered sugar and served to me in cracked vinyl booths alongside small pitchers of hot syrup. Little did I know that there is nothing really Belgian about those sugar-soaked confections, tasty as they may be. Enter: Wafels and Dinges, the waffle truck that changed my waffle perception forever during a random stroll in Central Park.
Apparently, there are two types of truly “Belgian” waffles–referred to as the Brussels and the Liege, named for their city of origin. You can read more about their distinctions, here; I am sticking to the Liege waffle since that’s what Wafels and Dinges serves up. While the Belgian waffles we are accustomed to here in the States are thick, fluffy and deliberatly shaped, a Liege waffle is thinner and sort of mishappen with a surprisingly hearty chew and a distinctive springiness not unlike a good raised donut. The outside is cripsy and studded with tiny pockets of caramelized pearl sugar, the sweet charcteristic of this Belgian snackfood.
As for toppings? No syrup or whipped cream for me, thank you. I’m a speculoos girl, now. And if you taste this creamy spread that “looks like peanut butter and tastes like graham crackers and ginger” (according to friendly Wafels & Dinges Dude), you’ll be converted, as well. There’s really no other way to describe it–he hit the flavor profile right on the money. With my new favorite waffle slathered in spice, a rocky seat in Central Park and the boy at my side, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer Sunday. Hallo-what?