A Belgian-waffle truck on Street Meat Week? Sounds très dubious, until you consider NYC's Wafels & Dinges offers pulled pork over a bacon-and-syrup waffle. Two kinds of pork, eleventy forms of sweetness? Giddy up, my good marchand ambulant.
Belgian waffles were introduced to the U.S. at the 1964 New York World's Fair by Brussels-based restaurateur Maurice Vermersch. Vermersch named his product "Brussels waffles," but — shocked by Americans' lack of geographical awareness — changed the name. That was probably for the best, considering Americans' uneasy relationship with those cartoonishly unappetizing Brussels sprouts. Unappetizing, that is, unless they're bobbing in a trough of cream and bacon.
And speaking of bacon, WaD's bacon-syrup waffle is an amazingly simple and clever delivery device for two major waffle food groups. Served in a novel paper box that leaves one end exposed, a truck patron could walk off, down third avenue, cheerfully and conveniently scarfing Belgum's national dish without getting the dreaded "sticky hands."
A dollop of pulled pork and cole slaw atop the crispy waffle later, and we have a unique, trans-oceanic streetside lunch. The pork was perfectly slow-cooked into the desired meaty, stringiness, which Spanish speakers call "ropa vieja," or old clothes.
The high sweetness of the BBQ sauce (do I detect a hint of maple, to go along with the waffle's syrup?) was set off nicely by a well-placed vinegar-based mop. The cole slaw was a tad soupy but good, with a fresh twist of celery seed instead of carroway for a more delicate flavor counterpoint to the sweet-and-sour BBQ bits. Oh, and that red cylinder on top? A cucumber slice retrieved from a sweet (and red — beet perhaps [UPDATE: Actually, it's Kool Aid]) marinade.
So, what happens when the salty chunks of bacon in the lemony-battered waffle meet the soft, ropy pork? Imagine two brothers raised by different families meeting on the street. There's a deep, inherent connection between the two, and yet their personalities don't seem to click. Ultimately, they leave each other confused.
But true to Maurice Vermersch's original concept these waffles have that properly-executed crunch and sweetness, while the pulled pork is no afterthought (it's the only meat on the menu, after all). We didn't sample any other dinges (pronounced ding-ehs) — that's toppings — but we'll be back when the weather turns colder and we again crave massive amounts of carbs to lift our sagging spirits.
Loving Jalopnik's Street Meat Week? Check out Truck Yeah, where gourmet food, art, music, and design trucks convene tomorrow at the Crown Victoria Bar in Williamsburg to celebrate mobile culture in NYC. Truck Yeah is produced by Art Cart NYC, Etta Place and Gawker Artists and sponsored by Jalopnik. October 2, 12-6pm | 60 S 2nd St @ Wythe