Off the Griddle with Ihopapotamus at…Crepes & Things!

Fancakes, the never-ending quest to find new pancakes, waffles, crepes and other breakfast treats has brought me to Hoboken.  Birthplace of baseball and Frank Sinatra.  Neither of which is really relevant to this story, but interesting bits of trivia to be sure.  Try breaking them out next time you’re at a fancy cocktail party.  You could talk about how Old Blue Eyes always enjoyed going to baseball games, but that of course only made sense since he was a Hoboken kid at heart.  People will think you’re really clever, but not in an obnoxious or intimidating way.

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(Frank Sinatra and Joe DiMaggio! Picture from the NY Daily News 1949…also they’re at Yankee Stadium but you get the idea)

And then, you can really razzle dazzle folks by recommending a restaurant in Hoboken where they can get a great breakfast.  Specifically Crepes & Things, located at 123 Washington Street just a few minutes from the PATH train.

crepes and things map

(from Google Maps)

Crepes & Things has a small, cozy indoor space and when the weather’s nice outdoor seating.  The people watching on Washington Street is usually a fun way to pass sometime on a lazy weekend morning.  I was there around eleven on a Saturday morning, so I had the place to myself and sat inside.

The inside does boast two amusing murals detailing the birth of both the crepe and the waffle.  The owner, a friendly Frenchman, swears the murals depict the true origins of each of these dishes.  I was willing to accept his word for it.  It felt very European of him to swear to the veracity of these somewhat legendary origins.  I also feel very much like an American tourist in Europe with my skeptical belief.  The truth of these stories does not mean enough to me to warrant my own investigation.  I’ll take the amusing story when it comes my way.  Incidentally, this is also the approach I take with every story I hear about Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.

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(birth of the waffle!)

By now you must be wondering what the crepes tasted like.  I couldn’t tell you; I got the waffle (see the rest of the menu here).  Specifically, the French Affair (le French Affair), a Belgian liege waffle topped with banana, strawberry, Nutella and a mountain of whipped cream.

Faithful readers, this thing is decadent.  I ordered it at eleven in the morning, but maybe I should have had it as dessert instead.  I think I had one bite of the waffle that was not covered with some or all of the toppings.  And it was a fairly large waffle I may add.  Mind you, the waffle being smothered in the toppings is no cause for complaint.  The whipped cream is light and fluffy, while still being quite rich.  The strawberries and banana were all quite fresh.  They had a robust flavor that I also associate with fresh fruit and how it’s supposed to taste.  Every bite of the French Affair (le French Affair) was a culinary pleasure.  My only regret is that I ate it too fast, in that I then couldn’t eat it anymore.

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The presentation is outstanding.  I watch enough Food Network to know that some chefs are artists not only in the cooking but also in the way they present it.  Chefs who can make food look like art.  In my quest for the Holy Pancake I have yet to come across a place that has done as much as Crepes & Things that has made their food look this good.  Readers, your friend Becky (because face it, this friend is always named Becky) would definitely post a picture of this to Instagram.  If the hashtag was yum, Becky would have the gist of things.

The only thing missing was a brunch drink special.  No mimosas here, which seems criminal at a French restaurant.   That and the admittedly small space are probably the only main detriments at this restaurant.

Four and a half Paul Bunyans:Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1.5

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Off the Griddle with IHOPopotamus at…Wafels and Dinges

(Editor’s Note: IHOPopotamus is officially doing the waffle thing (and the pancake thing)…so I guess we do waffles now!?)

My friend and I recently dared to venture out into the brutal weather New York has been experiencing to taste the offerings of the food truck Wafels & Dinges.  In hindsight, we should have waited for better weather.

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(image from the Wafels & Dinges twitter)

The truck’s display is very polished and glossy, meaning it appears to be a brand new truck.  The chief told me there is more than one of these trucks cruising around New York, so it is entirely possible I caught a new one. 

My friend described the whole truck as having a very “Williamsburg” vibe, and that’s probably the most apt description anyone could make.  The last time I visited a food truck (Christophe’s Crepes) the owner/chef was a friendly, outgoing Frenchman who seemed genuinely interested in making sure you enjoyed your meal.  This time around, the guy working the truck seemed a little smug.  He was polite, but not really all that welcoming or friendly.  Granted, the weather was dreary when I went, but isn’t that an anticipated hazard of the food cart industry?

 

(bacon waffle from Serious Eats)

On to the waffles.  They were fine.  Not especially filling, and a little overpriced because they weren’t all that filling.  They do get some points for creativity.  I thought I ordered bacon “and” waffles.  I received bacon “inside” the waffle.  It was an interesting twist that was fun to try.  Unfortunately, it came presoaked in syrup; I would have much preferred to pour my own syrup.  I like syrup as much as the next guy, but I’d rather not have my waffles and pancakes completely saturated in it.

My friend ordered a waffle with pulled pork and coleslaw on top.  He seemed satisfied, if not particularly enamored.  It did not look all that appetizing to me. 

(pic from the Wafels & Dinges blog)

Longtime readers might recall my discussion of the difference between food and cuisine when I visited Richie’s Place.  This whole truck, and the pulled pork waffle, seems like an attempt at cuisine without ever really achieving it.  It sacrificed the joy of a relatively simple and tasty food for a sophistication that it never actually reaches.  The truck sounds like a better idea than it actually is.  Keep it simple and get a little friendlier.  People are coming to the truck because they don’t have time for a meal at a restaurant, not because they want to be bohemians.

I give it 2 Paul Bunyans.  If the truck parks near you, it’s worth a shot. There’s no need to seek it out: 

P.S.  I still have no idea what a “dinge” is.

(Editor’s note: a “dinge” is a topping.)