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That's all

We didn’t really plan to go to Brussels. We were just looking for a vacation, that’s all. Then one December night, over a couple of glasses of prosecco and a pizza, our friend Olaiya happened to tell me that she had just found cheap tickets to Brussels. I don’t make, nor do I intend to make, a habit of mixing alcohol and travel planning, but this I can now say from experience:

Prosecco + 2 Girlfriends + Talk of Cheap Tickets to Brussels =
2 Girlfriends + 1 Husband in Brussels, 2 ½ Months Later.

Not that I have any regrets, mind you. I’m just passing on information.

I had been to Brussels once before, when I was 18 years old, for approximately 36 hours. It was the summer after my high school graduation, and I went backpacking around Europe with my cousin Katie. We started out in London, took a couple of trains and a ferry to Bruges, and then, somewhere around day 8, arrived in Brussels. I remember next to nothing of our brief stay there, save for finding our hostel and showering for the first time in days, eating a mediocre waffle, and having a stranger come up close behind me on a street corner and say, breathing heavily into my ear, what I understood as, “Nice neck.” Of course, as it turns out, the words for “neck” and “ass” sound almost identical in French. But hey, you know, either way. By now, I was long overdue to a return visit.

We met Olaiya a couple of years ago, shortly after she moved to Seattle from Brussels, where she had lived for four years. Olaiya is an effortless cook, the kind of person who seems to stir and whisk as easily as she walks and talks, and her kitchen is filled with remnants of Belgium: recipes for baked eggs and leek confit, old silver spoons and crackly bowls from the flea market at the Place du Jeu de Balle. She was always telling us about Brussels, her old haunts and friends and favorite beers, and sometimes, I knew, she missed it more than she wanted to. Last December, in need of a fix, she started combing the Internet for cheap fares. And then Brandon and I invited ourselves - prosecco, you are the BEST! - to come along.

And then, a few days before our departure date, we all, all three of us, came down with the flu. But we went anyway, and though the flight was miserable - and Brandon and I lost our luggage for a day, and the three of us landed in a graceless, coughing heap on the doorstep of Olaiya’s friend Laurence and completely demolished her supply of honey, lemons, and Nutella and then slept for the better part of 48 hours - in the end, I really, really liked Brussels.

Oddly enough, it reminded me a bit of Seattle. I’ve thought about it for a while, and a fair comparison might be this: that Brussels is to Paris, say, as Seattle is to San Francisco. Let me explain. Seattle and Brussels are both a little gritty around the edges. They’re gray; there’s a lot of construction; and the architecture is an endearingly odd mishmash of old and new. For large cities, they still feel a little quiet somehow, still sort of undiscovered. Both are composed of many small, discrete neighborhoods, but those neighborhoods are fairly spread out, so if you don’t know exactly where to go, you might not find a single thing. (Except Pike Place Market and the Grand Place.) In San Francisco or Paris, on the other hand, you’d be hard-pressed not to find something scenic, exciting, or at least pleasantly edible on most any street corner. (I exaggerate, but not by much.) What I mean by all this is that in Seattle and Brussels, you have to try a little harder. When you do, what you get is every bit as worthy; it just takes a little digging. Which, in its own way, makes it all the more charming.

I don’t have a recipe for you today, but I hope you might not mind. Instead - and in case you find yourself in Brussels one day soon, or maybe just in need of a vacation at your desk - I want to tell you about a few things we found there, with all due credit, bien sûr, to Olaiya.

1. The Moroccan crêpe.

I should begin by saying this: do not underestimate the combined power of fresh goat cheese, honey, and olives. (Or spicy olives, to be specific, coated in something akin to harissa.) It is the trifecta. It will slay you. Several months ago, Olaiya told us about these crêpes - or crêpe-like flatbreads; the sign called them m’semen - and explained that they could be found at a stand at the Marché du Midi on Sunday mornings. They make the best breakfast, she said, and I am happy to report that she did not lie. Warm, messy, and made on the spot, they spill over with soft, tangy cheese, sticky honey, and whole green olives coated in a fragrant, oily sauce that makes your lips burn and tingle. You’ll want to eat it on the spot, hunched over one of the wooden tables behind the stand, and be sure to order a glass of sweet mint tea to wash it all down. If it’s cold outside, and drizzly, the steam from the tea will send up a small mint-scented cloud that hovers over the table while you eat, and that, too, is very nice.

Of course, now that I’ve told you this, I wish I knew the name of the stand, but I’m afraid that I don’t. It also sells dried fruits and olives and marinated vegetables, if that helps, and of the stands selling those items - there are only a few of them - it is the largest. It’s located right near the overpass where the trains go by, next to the woman who sells fresh eggs and butter.

2. Belgians have an impressive way with raw beef. There is a powerful school of thought, I know, that holds that the only way to deal with raw beef is to cook it, but these people will not be daunted. Witness filet américain. Also known as steak tartare, it is a dish composed of minced or ground beef mixed with onions, capers, fresh herbs, and other seasonings, and occasionally an egg yolk. It is also delicious. I had not been terribly interested in eating raw beef before - although I do like a good carpaccio, and my mother loves to steal pinches of raw meatloaf from the mixing bowl - but now I want to eat it forever. Olaiya and Laurence took us to a tavern called Le Trappiste, a classic old place with red leather booths and wooden chairs and waiters with slicked hair and bow ties and vests, and there we chose from three different presentations of filet: the standard one, a mound in the center of the plate, served with toast; the sandwich one, in which the beef is piled onto a baguette; or my favorite, called toast cannibale.

I have been wanting to tell you about this for two weeks now, in part because
“cannibal toast” is the most fun thing to say in the whole, wide world. (Cannibal toast, cannibal toast, CANN-I-BAL TOAST!) Of course, now that I’ve gone and made a big deal about it, I should also tell you that in reality, it’s not nearly as exotic as it sounds. It’s actually kind of dainty. It’s filet on toast points, with a salad in the middle. But it’s outlandishly good - tender and sweet and pleasantly rich, spiked with crisp, briny capers - and with a splash of Worchestershire and a cornichon on the side, you will want to eat it every day. Or at least once a week.

P.S. The fries were also very good.

3. Do not be fooled by the impostor commonly known, in the United States, as the “Belgian waffle.” It is not only inferior, but it bears no resemblance, none whatsoever, to the loveliest of true Belgian waffles, the gaufre de Liège.

In Belgium, there are two general types of waffle: the Brussels, and the Liège. The Brussels waffle is what most of us, in the US at least, would call a Belgian waffle. It is thick and evenly golden, with deep recesses for holding pools of butter or whipped cream or whatnot. Though delicious, is it rarely that remarkable. The Liège waffle, on the other hand, is what you see in the first photograph above, and it is nearly impossible to find outside of Belgium. It is sold on the street as a snack, and it, blessed be, is what people come back from Belgium swooning about. It is made from a rich, yeasted batter and cooked quickly in a heavy iron - often in an oven filled with gas flames - until it is tender and lightly caramelized, with a dense, stretchy crumb that looks a little like that of a particularly rich cinnamon roll. But what really makes it special is that it is sweetened with a particular type of sugar called pearl sugar. When the dough bakes, the little beads of sugar inside soften into sweet, melty pockets, and any beads facing the surface of the hot iron ooze like caramel.

All told, the whole thing is both deadly sweet and deadly, deadly delicious, and if you decide to share it with someone - like, maybe, your spouse - you had better be prepared to duke it out to the last crumb, and believe me, people, it will get dirty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Oh, and when you buy your waffle, be sure to choose a vendor with a gas oven, not an electric iron. And choose a vendor who is actively making his waffles, not just selling some that he baked, la di da, an hour before. (Belgaufra is a small chain that’s especially good; there are a couple of outposts on rue des Fripiers, not far from the Grand Place.) You want a fresh waffle, still warm from the oven, not a cold (or reheated) specimen. And then you might want another.


Le Trappiste
Avenue de la Toison d’Or 3
Open daily

Multiple locations


Anonymous Micah said...

Oh I've just finished reading your blog from the beginning!

It's truly inspiring and I've amassed a great quantity of recipes just begging to be tried. Luckily I'm on spring break from my university and I have a whole week to cook!

Haha! Your life sounds so wonderful to me right now... jet setting to Europe and eating waffles. Paradise! Even if you have the flu.

6:54 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger LisaG said...

Great post! I'll be in Brussels in May and my mouth is already watering. Do you have any beer / bar recommendations?

6:57 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Aubrey said...

Well, dang. I wanted a Lieges waffle recipe!!! I was in Brussels when I was 12 (35 years ago), visiting my mom's sister and her family, and I STILL remember the "gophers". Oh, and the hazelnut ice cream.

7:14 PM, March 24, 2008  
Anonymous sm said...

Oh! Yeasted waffles, the Liège style, are indeed very special. The recipe in the Larousse Gastronomique is a nice one, although I don't think it calls for pearl sugar. Anyway, it's amazing how little balls of dough cooked in a waffle iron can taste so good!

7:15 PM, March 24, 2008  
Anonymous small tastes said...

Just the description of that Moroccan crepe slays me! (I hope it's not too pushy of me to say that I was really hoping for a recipe...)

I think I know what you mean about the Seattle/Brussels comparison. Of course, I moved here because it reminded me of Stockholm (it's the way the city is carved up by water, and the northern slant of light).

On the off chance you don't already know this, you should also be able to get pearl sugar at Olsen's on Market Street!

7:18 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Lisa said...

Jesus, Molly. You are an f'in brilliant writer. MFK W'berg, I say.

... Spent a strange and lovely afternoon eating supermarket gaufres de Liège in the cimetière du Père-Lachaise once, a couple years ago. Nothing like what you ate in Brussels, it sounds, but lovely nonetheless.

7:27 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Kitt said...

Damn. A vacation from my desk indeed. I want one of those crepes NOW.

Nicely told. Trying not to be jealous of you too much. Trying.

7:30 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Erika said...

Thank you thank you thank you! My boyfriend and I lived in the Netherlands last year, and we visited Belgium a few times. I found the most amazing Liege waffle in Ghent - so good that I gladly ruined my dinner with a second one. Thanks for bringing back the memory.

8:13 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Jaya said...

Molly, I absolutely love your writing. You really breathe ideas into what most people see as still life and I have been delighting in your work a long time now. You can imagine my glee in finding that I am posting the first comment (in what I presume will become a very crowded comment space)!

8:49 PM, March 24, 2008  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Molly, Your whole trip sounds so enchanting, and I've really enjoyed reading about it. Your description of waffles makes me want to drool. I'd be interested in possible home adaptations for Belgium waffles. Have you experimented? Is it possible to get pearl sugar in the U.S.? Why haven't I heard of it before? My husband makes a wonderful sourdough waffle with our six-month old sourdough starter. If ferments overnight, and then when you make the waffles in the morning, they come out light and just a touch yeasty like fresh baked bread. I'd love to add another waffle recipe to our arsenal.

8:59 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Casey said...

what a treat: a late Monday trip to Brussels with Orangette. Deliciously evocative, as always.

9:00 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger design for mankind. said...

OMG your blog is FABULOUS!

9:18 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Nico said...

Great post Molly, thanks for making me home-sick just before I go to bed ;)

And thanks for summarizing all the misconceptions that exist about 'Belgian' waffles. Hopefully it'll spread the word about 'that other kind' of waffle.

Makes me think that I should open up a gauffres Liegeois shack in Portland once I move there. It'd be the perfect climate for it!

9:31 PM, March 24, 2008  
Anonymous liz said...

Thank you! I may be heading to Brussels en route to Cologne, and these suggestions will come in handy ... Your photos make me hungry (as always).

9:35 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger Jenne said...

Okay, wow. I was reading the part about the goat cheese, honey, and olives earlier today, and kind of going, "really??".
So I had to try it. And since I didn't feel like making crepes, I just toasted some wheat bread, and spread honey on one side and goat cheese on the other, and sliced up some regular green pimento olives and put them in the middle with a little chili powder.

9:40 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger tiel said...

I'll be there this Sunday night, and my mouth is watering as I type.

I'm a big fan of Japanese food and beef tataki and beef sashimi are my favourites, so I will love trying your raw recommendations!

10:55 PM, March 24, 2008  
Blogger cook eat FRET said...

the goat, honey spicey green olives? done.

see? you gave us a recipe afterall...

this is really a wonderful throw together idea... and easily recreatable too!

1:27 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Aran said...

I love Brussels and yes, I see the resembles with seattle. Nostalgic, a bit. That's my memories of it. I love the grey skies with the stone buildings and the chocolate, tons of chocolate shops. Love your writing!

4:38 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Rose said...

The crepe like flat bread is what caught my attention. It's truly a work of art. the flat bread its self is called m'semen, which means fattened, when served sweet, with honey, butter, or as I like to do: a mix of salted butter and honey. When served savory, just like the one you have her, i'ts called M'hadjeb. And it's very addictive indeed :)

4:44 AM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous mindy said...

Thank you for setting me straight. I've had a strange fascination w/ gaufre de Liège since eating them, packaged, in France as a favorite junk food snack and actually until your post hadn't realized that the ones with crunchy bits of sugar in them were in fact called gaufre de Liège. So thank you, thank you, thank you. That was delicious writing to say the least! Yum.

6:02 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Megan said...

Probably can't hold a candle to what you find in Brussels, but Chicago has a small place that sells this kind of waffle. I read about the "exploding pearls of sugar" when it first opened but have never gone there. Maybe this weekend.


6:36 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Sarah said...

I lived in Brussels for a year, and IMHO, Baladoche in Chicago serves a remarkably good rendition of the Gaufre de Liege. So Megan, you should try it as soon as you can! I also encountered these in Spain, so it's not totally impossible to find them outside of Brussels.

8:23 AM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous Kim said...

I adore Brussels and would go back in a heartbeat if I could. Charming, and the food well...........thanks for reminding me about how good the food is.

8:49 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger tryshia, withlove said...

all those treats looks so yummy!!!

8:58 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

You guys really are the nicest. Thank you.

LisaG, we went to a couple of bars, and hmm, let's see if I can remember their names. One was called L'Archiduc, and I loved the look of it - dimly lit, elegant, Art Deco. I would highly recommend it, definitely. Here's a press mention of it, and it also has its own website here. You might also go to Le Trappiste, as mentioned above. A lot of people go there only for beer, not necessarily to eat. And as for the beers themselves, we drank a lot of different ones, but the names I remember this morning are Duvel (always a favorite), Le Bernardus, Westmalle, and a couple of different lambics (kriek, framboise, faro).

Aubrey, I SO wish I could give you a waffle recipe! We have a box of pearl sugar sitting on our kitchen counter and are planning to try our hand as soon as we can. Must! Make! A! Good! Waffle!

Small tastes, I hear you! I was hoping to be able to give you a recipe. Really, I was. But I had a relapse(!) of the flu(!) last week, and so I couldn't do much in the kitchen. But hang in there! I still want to try. Oh, and thanks for mentioning Olsen's! Brandon tells me that he went in there, actually, and asked about pearl sugar, and they were all sold out. But I bet they'll restock soon. I think we're also going to try ordering from King Arthur.

Lisa, I'm crazy about you. And I have had strange and lovely afternoons at Pere-Lachaise too. Eating sandwiches and beet salad, in my case.

Sarah, we plan to experiment with gaufres de Liege as soon as we can! Oh yes yes. See above. But in the meantime, might you be able to share your husband's sourdough waffle recipe? It sounds amazing. And our sourdough starter is desperately in need of something to do...

Jenne, I love that you tried it! Hooray! Thank YOU.

Oh, Rose, thank you so much for telling us more about m'semen and m'hadjeb. Just the mention of salted butter and honey makes me salivate. By chance, do you have a good recipe for them? Or do you know of one in a cookbook or otherwise? I've been searching my shelves and the Internet too, but I'm not sure which recipe to try first.

Megan and Sarah, thank you a million times over for mentioning this Baladoche place! I hadn't heard of it before. Now I only wish I had a trip to Chicago in the works...

9:02 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Alice Q. said...

Hi Molly - I love your travel posts! As soon as I read this, I went searching for liege waffle recipes - and I found this one from Pain Quotidian, which looks like it might be worth a shot http://www.recipezaar.com/158977 If I try it I'll report back!

9:04 AM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous Katelyn said...

I have it on good word that a Liege waffle place will be opening in Seattle this summer. The waffle irons have already been fetched from Belgium...

That said. I would love to experience your recreation of the best waffles on earth, and also I would like some of those crepes to be in my mouth RIGHT NOW.

10:16 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Warda said...

Oh Molly,(BTW, when I wrote a comment earlier, it says it's Rose, but it's not it's me, Warda! Anyway :P) I am making M'semen right now! My hands are still oily and the smell is making me dizzy and I am so excited and I can't articulate well, because this is the first time I make it. I always thought I had to be 40 year-old, and have some kind of experience behind to make a descent M'semen, but No! I am so happy! My mother is not going to believe me. I'm gonna call her right now1 Oh, wait there is a m'semen on the stove! Gotta go! I'll send you the recipe soon. Bisous

10:21 AM, March 25, 2008  
OpenID mykitchendiaries said...

Molly, I'm glad you had a great getaway depite your flu. I love your travel notes and I am delighted with your selection of goodies. I feel like I'm going to take a trip to the zuidmarkt any time soon. When you mentioned morrocan crepes two posts ago, I knew you had to be talking about M'semen. They have been my favourite pancakes since I was a kid (if you ever look for a recipe, I've just posted about it this weekend). My husband used to live in Maastricht, close to Lieges, when we met. That's where I had my first waffle and I must say, the 'gaufre de Lieges' has won me for ever.

11:27 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Clear Pink said...

we are in the process of planning our next trip tp europe, and brussels is on the short list. maybe we just need to go there.
really, at this point i would go anywhere!

11:41 AM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger dc365 said...

Hi Molly! I was wondering if you'd consider doing a similar post to this, but for Seattle? The Boyfriend and I will be visiting for a few days next month, and I'd love your perspective on what we need to see (and eat!!).

11:42 AM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous Shira said...

Molly, great timing. I have a meeting tomorrow in Brussels, and I'm hoping to find a few hours for things sweet, salty and alcoholic. Will report on any discoveries.

12:13 PM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger $ Mad Money Renato $ said...

nice blog, great food !!
can we exchange links ??

12:54 PM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous Hillary said...

Ooh Molly! I know I've told you this many times but I have such an affection for Belgium having gone there recently too (in Decemeber). I didn't make it to Brussels but I spent some time in Bruges and Antwerp, and the country is just so charming. Thanks for reminding me just how charming in this post!

2:41 PM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure if they are the same as the waffles you had in Brussels, but a little cafe in Madison Park - Arosa Cafe - bills itself as the waffle cafe. They make yeasted waffles with little bits of sugar in them. Extremely addictive

4:30 PM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Nicole said...

Hi Molly, It is so funny that you write about waffles and needing to get a recipe. I was looking for one over the weekend as my mom decided we should make Belgian waffles on Easter Sunday. I haven't had a REAL one though. I will take a look at Alice Q.'s link.

Also, I have to say.... I tried your mayonnaise and mine was just not very "silky" or as good as it seems yours is in the description. Maybe I need a little work! I will keep trying! "I know I can" "I know I can"...

5:12 PM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous Meryl M. said...

At last!

I have wondered for so long how these waffles got that fantastic caramel texture after months of living in London (they have these there too!!).

Thanks! Time to experiment, much to my partner's glee, I'm sure.

7:36 PM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger traveling... in huis en erbuiten said...

Exciting culinary descriptions!
Makes me long for another Liège waffle... Maybe for lunch?

9:37 PM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous chucha said...

hi! i'm a long time lurker but am coming out of the woodwork to thank you profusely for your posting. My husband and I are moving to from NYC to Brussels due to work, and though I know I shouldn't, I've been dreading the move a little...the gray skies and bureacracy make me batty! but the one thing that keeps me going is knowing that I will have AMAZING food EVERY DAY! yum, can't wait...so thank you for your recommendations and for such a "timely" post. If you have any more recs, I would love them!

10:13 PM, March 25, 2008  
Blogger Wandering Chopsticks said...

Hi Molly,
What camera are you using now? I tried searching for it and came across mention of a Sony, but that was years ago and I wasn't sure if you were still using it? Your photos are always so spare and yet so lovely at the same time. Or is it a matter of using certain lenses? I mean, even a simple waffle picture looks so incredible to me. Thanks!

11:49 PM, March 25, 2008  
Anonymous jennifer said...

hi - i've been a silent, but dedicated follower as well.

i'm planning a little dinner party this weekend and was using your recipe index for some inspiration, when I thought, "Does she have a cookbook out?" So I looked and you DON'T have a cookbook out.

Which is what prompted me to write this post: have you ever thought about writing one? maybe with a travel theme, maybe with a casual, narrative-like theme, lots of pictures, etc. I'm sure you'd have a whole lot of supporters and in any regard, thanks for your site and awesome stories.

7:33 AM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Ken Wimer said...

I'm heading to Belgium on Sunday. I had completely forgotten about Liege waffles. Truly incredible. And yeah, those dutch really know how to cook (or not cook, as it were) a filet of beef. and beer. You can't forget the trappist beer.

11:47 AM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous gemma said...

Oh my, how I love Belgium. Your posts are making me itch to travel again! Great photographs. (ps.. Sorry I never sent you that postcard I promised long ago, I wrote it but never bought stamps!)

12:17 PM, March 26, 2008  
Anonymous Claire said...

As a Belgian girl born and bred, and living a mere 30 minutes from Brussels, I am swelling with pride at the thought that our capital city had such a powerful impact on you :-) I love spending time in Brussels, it is one of my favourite cities (it is the ultimate chocolate heaven) but of course there is the slightest possibility that I might be biased ;-) BTW, did you know that *French* fries are in fact a Belgian specialty?
I have a couple of recipes for gaufres de Liège; if you wish, I could translate them into English and send them to you...

12:47 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Molly, you are in luck - the Arosa cafe, a little hidden slot on madison on pill hill sells waffles, closes to a liege style i have ever tasted. atmoshpere isn't much more than early baskin robins, but the waffles are for real. no defined edges, all sticky from caramelized pearl sugar, but not drippy, a few with edges dipped gently into belgian chocolate. run by the most delightful dutch/belgian gentleman - a key part of the experience. wait long enough that you won't be comparing the waffle to your trip, but fondly reminiscing. oh, and hot chocolate worth writing home about.

12:53 PM, March 26, 2008  
Blogger big city girl said...

Paula Wolfert's Couscous... cookbook has a pretty good recipe.

I (and other Moroccans I know) cheat and buy frozen roti or paratha from Indian stores-- almost identical.

5:17 AM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger Katie LaZelle said...

wow. my friend sarah showed me this post. it warms my heart particularly. . . because i'm actually FROM seattle and i actually LIVE in brussels. . . been here just a little over two and a half years and am still finding food that amazes me. it's a shame that you didn't also get to check out the large collection of basque and portuguese restaurants in my hood. thanks for helping to remind me why it's a nice place to live. . . it's easy enough to forget in all this grey weather and dog poo covered streets ;-)

2:01 PM, March 27, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a man(originally from Brussels) in new york city that parks his waffle truck in three locations each day selling belgium waffles and liege style waffles. I had a liege style waffle for the first time. It was amazing! His website is www.wafelsanddinges.com to find out where he is each day.

5:24 PM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger The Culinary Chase said...

Moroccan crepe.......now that sounds like something I'd like to sink my teeth into! Cheers!

8:21 PM, March 27, 2008  
Anonymous Rebecca said...

Those Morrocan crepes sound fantastic! Some friends of mine are moving to Belgium-I must give them this info. (And then share a bottle of Prosecco with them and get myself a plane ticket!)

8:30 PM, March 27, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Hi again, guys. Thank you - so much - for all the recipe suggestions and names of spots where I might be able to hunt down the elusive gaufre de Liege. Eee! I can't believe the Arosa Cafe has been sitting under my nose all this time, and I had NO idea.

dc365, send me an e-mail! I'm not sure when I'll be able to do a post like this about Seattle - I hardly ever take my camera when I go out to eat here, so I have next to nothing to show you - but I have a running list of favorite spots that I'd be happy to e-mail. For sure.

Nicole, I'm sorry to hear that your mayo wasn't quite up to snuff. Hmm. My suggestion would be to go really, REALLY slow in whisking in the oil. Add it drop by drop at first, whisking very well after each addition. (And if your arm gets tired, don't worry; you can take rest breaks!) At first, the mixture will seem to lighten in color just a bit, and to get more opaque, and then you should see it start to thicken up nicely. Once you've added about a third of the oil, you can increase the speed at which you add it, moving from little droplets to a thin, continuous stream. By the time you've added all the oil, the mayo should be the thickness, approximately, of paint that's been squeezed from a tube. Fingers crossed...

Aw, thank you, Wandering Chopsticks! I use a Nikon D70s. I've been using it since August of 2006, I think, but before that, yes, I was using a Sony CyberShot. It was perfectly good, but man oh man, I LOVE my Nikon. I can't recommend it highly enough. I have only one lens - they're SO expensive - and it's a 50mm, a terrific all-purpose lens.

Jennifer, I'm happy to say that while I don't have a book out right now, I have indeed written one, and it'll be published by Simon & Schuster next spring. (It was originally supposed to be released this fall, but with all the madness around the elections, we decided to move it to next spring.) It's a food memoir with recipes, about 50 in all. I'll be writing more about it here very soon. (Thanks for asking!)

Claire, I would LOVE to see your gaufre recipes. Please? Pretty please? If they're in French, you don't even need to translate them...

10:37 AM, March 28, 2008  
Blogger Kiriel du Papillon said...

I too fell for Brussels. I got totally addicted to the waffles, found a gorgeously quirky restaurant called the Village Idiot and tried Foie Gras sushi at Chez Oki, a japanese/french fusion restaurant. How are the Belgians not all the size of houses, with such lovely food around them!

11:50 AM, March 28, 2008  
Blogger Cathy said...

Just wanted to say how great is was to be in your CT Egg class in Bham a few weeks ago. I impressed myself by making some delish mayo--thanks to you and Brandon.

Thanks for being so generous with your ideas! Hope to see you in Bham again -- cj

9:43 AM, March 29, 2008  
Blogger kickpleat said...

I loved my trip to Brussels last September and I loved all the unique little neighbourhoods we stumbled across during our long long long walks around the city each day. Mmm, I want to go again!

11:36 AM, March 29, 2008  
Blogger Nicole said...

Thanks for the tips Molly. I will try it. Although the oil and the eggs did come together pretty well. It was just sort of gelatinous or maybe too thick.

I wrote more details about the process for me on my blog:

Thanks for all the great posts!

1:22 PM, March 29, 2008  
Blogger Matuni said...

I just found my way to your blog and I have to agree on what you said about the waffles! I've only been to Brussels once (for a long weekend) and I guess I didn't eat pretty much anything else than waffles... And ever since I've been dreaming of a new visit!

2:35 AM, March 30, 2008  
Anonymous armêl s'en mêle said...

hummmmm! Miam

4:17 AM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Caterine said...

what a shame! i have not a single recipe to make les gaufres de liège. but i wouldn't have the use of it. living in Brussels, it is so easy for me to get one.
did you go to Dandoy? they made the best biscuits.
if you ever come back to brussels i have some nice address to advise you.

5:48 AM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Robin Sue said...

What a beautiful post. It must be wonderful to get back to Europe. I do miss living there. I spent the day in Brussels in the drizzle eating the best pan chocolat. Then on to Bruges to watch the lace making and stock up on bobbin lace supplies, oh someday, oh someday to sit and make bobbin lace while remembering the waffles, muscles, pommes,and beer!

2:07 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Eunice said...

LOL Nice neck? I LOVE your blog. haha, keep it up! this post, as with the rest of them, are very inspiring :D

6:50 PM, March 30, 2008  
Blogger Judith said...

Oh, how lovely! I've been wanting to get to Belgium for a long time now and haven't managed it. I have wondered, though, if the dialect is similar to France-French... I'm fairly fluent in French but I'm afraid of an experience like arriving in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and realising this is not the same language. Everyone has been posting about waffles lately! I miss French gauffres, I really do. Yeah, they're the Brussels kind, but smothered in melted cheese and herbs and I'm a happy girl.

8:01 AM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Maureen said...

Delicious items all round but the m'semen is what sounded ever so good. Yes, it's one to fiddle around with for a homemade version.

And I just got back from Chicago..but no waffles. So much food info, so little time...

11:03 AM, March 31, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to come up with a Moroccan Crepe recipe after I read the first reference to it on the blog. I just happen to have some harissa that my Mother In Law had sent me from Williams Sonoma. She is a really nice Mother In Law I might add! Anyway, I marinated some green olives in the harissa, then heated up a tortilla (not in the mood to whip up crepes), and sprinkled some goat cheese, drizzled with honey. The harissa, honey and goat cheese was just the right combination of sweet, spicy, and salty. Yum! Oh my, this was such a tasty combination that I fixed them for myself for dinner as well. I am going to try this with guests with the homemade crepes, and I imagine that these will be the hit of the evening. I enjoy your blog!

Amanda in Seattle

6:00 PM, March 31, 2008  
Blogger Allie said...

This was a wonderful post for me to read as a Seattle resident moving to Brussels in less than four months...I love everything you had to say. Thank you thank you!

2:44 PM, April 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post- those yeasted waffles sound very similar to a simple yeasted waffle recipe I use from the fannie farmer cookbook (minus the pearl sugar) -- the most light and airy waffles I've ever had. Perhaps you could recreate them and give us a recipe on your next post?

7:30 PM, April 11, 2008  
Anonymous We Are Never Full said...

I want to reach into the screen and take a bite of that steak tartar on toast! The food you ate looks beautiful. I'm hoping to get to Brussels sooner than later, but my husband went alot as a child and said it's not high on his list. GRRRRRR. Compromise, compromise!

amy @ we are never full

8:01 PM, April 21, 2008  
Anonymous Ani said...

I live in Brussels and I often go to Midi's Market on Sunday to eat that moroccan crepe.
I think you didn't mention the incredibly taste of dries tomatos and onions in the moroccan crepe :D
There is also something great there called "Chicken pastilla", maybe for your next visit.
Like I know the fammily that works in this stand I will show them your post this weekend

2:04 AM, April 25, 2008  
Anonymous gwen said...

I just had a sweet crepe marocaine with honey and a creamy white something. With a cup of mint tea. At the midi market, at a stand that sells olives and stuff. So yeah, I know what you're talking about.

... I can't wait till next week ! (cause you could probably make them yourself, but it just ain't got the charm). Off to a luxurious lunch of salty flat bread, strawberries and cheese that just must be illegal in the US. Mmmmmh.

2:56 AM, April 27, 2008  
Blogger Ella said...

I can't say Brussels has ever really been on my list of must go places. Reading this post, however, I am so inspired.

I love having new places to want to go.

10:46 AM, June 02, 2008  
Blogger Anna said...

Mmm, I've never been to Brussels, but I have been pretty obsessed with waffles for a while now. There's a tiny little shop in Chicago that makes the "good" kind of waffles, with pearl sugar, just as you described, and ever since I tried them, I've been trying to make them. I'm still not there, but it sure has been fun trying. One day I hope to find a good deal and a few willing friends and make the pilgrimage to the waffle holy land. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

1:19 PM, March 10, 2010  

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