An Ode to Belgian Waffles
Did you know you can survive on Belgian waffles? You absolutely can. I’m not saying it is a balanced way to live, but sometimes it’s nice to reassert your personal autonomy. Like the Lonely Island in their comedy-rap track “Threw it on the Ground.” Screaming “I’M AN ADULT” at a child is a nice way to remind them that, once you reach a certain age, you take full responsibility for your life decisions. And I get the most satisfaction out of the trivial: complete control over the music in my car and the option of eating dessert for every meal.
As they say, when in Rome! I arrived in Brussels on a particularly stormy Friday only to dump my bags and head straight for my fix. Sampling every waffle variety I could find, rain or shine.
Brussels waffles, liege waffles, vanilla waffles. I added all the crazy tourist toppings. Hot chocolate, banana, whipped cream, flambé. I purchased them from vans, metro stations, fine restaurants, and clear tourist traps (5 Euros for an espresso?!) But it wasn’t hard to choose the winner. A simple Brussels waffle with powdered sugar from the iconic tea house Maison Dandoy.
Founded in 1829, the shop is known for speculoos, but its waffles are made light, fluffy and fresh to order. I ate my first with both eyes closed, taking refuge under a nearby gothic alcove. My paper plate balanced on my knees, which shivered from the cold and the rain.
While I don’t like to push my poor decision making on others, we all need the occasional indulgence. Although, surviving on bread and refined sugar for three days tips the scales more towards self-sabotage.
Leaving Brussels with a full bellyache, my none-the-wiser ticket conductor told me I smelled nice. “Quel parfum portez-vous madame?” She asked. Odd, considering I don’t wear perfume. A few stops later, I found the culprit — an embarrassingly large patch of powdered sugar on my wool coat.
Unlike me, there’s really no need to let go of all self-control. Order on the ground floor to-go and eat at the steps of the UNESCO world heritage site around the corner. Or, people watch from a window seat at Maison Dandoy’s second location in the heart of the Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries. I guarantee you will never order a “Belgian waffle” outside of Belgium ever again.