Chicken and waffles may have been so 2013, but everything old is new again thanks to a West Palm Beach-based food truck.
Waffle Wagon co-owners Kelley Leafe and Salvatore Accardi are serving this classic combination, along with a number of sweet and savory waffles, from their newly launched food truck.
"We wanted something popular, trendy, and easy to execute as well as kid-friendly," says Leafe, who drew from a family recipe for fried chicken for the truck's hand-breaded chicken tenders, a light flour-based batter that fries up to a beautiful golden brown crisp with just a touch of heat.
What makes this truck unique, however, is the couples' recipe for Liege-style waffles.
A special bread-like pastry dough based largely on 18th- and 19th-century brioche, Liege waffles are made using bread flour, milk, and a near obscene amount of yeast. That means once the truck runs out of waffles for the day, there's no whipping up a fresh batch, adds Leafe, who lets each ball of dough rise for up to four hours before it's ready to bake.
"Most people are surprised when they try our waffles for the first time. They're expecting something bigger and fluffier," says Leafe. "The Liege waffle is unlike anything I've ever tasted before, but once you try them, you're hooked."
Aside from the yeast, what really sets the Liege waffle apart from the classic Belgian waffle is the use of Belgian pearl sugar — large, bead-like globes of glucose made from beet sugar grown in Tienen, Belgium. Baked into the waffle mix, these candy-like pearls caramelize within the waffle as it cooks, resulting in a crunchy pocket of sweetness.
The result: a dense, cake-like waffle with a slightly sour note to it, perfect for pairing with Leafe's all-white-meat, buttermilk-soaked, fried-and-breaded chicken tenders.
The Waffle Wagon serves several savory waffle dishes. There's the popular New York Chicken & Waffles (Buffalo-hot-sauce-marinated chicken tenders served with a waffle and blue cheese or ranch slaw) or Wu Tang Waffle (sweet teriyaki chicken tenders served with a waffle and soy ginger slaw). For purists, the standard Chicken & Waffles (plain chicken tenders served with a waffle and choice of maple syrup or dijon maple mustard) will hit the spot.
If you're looking for something on the sweeter side, the truck also offers seven dessert-like options, everything from the S'maffle Waffle (a waffle smothered in graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate) to the favorite OG Waffle (a waffle covered with shortbread cookie spread, white chocolate sauce, and strawberries).
"It doesn't matter if you're hungry for dinner or dessert. You can have either or both," says Leafe. "It's the best of both worlds."
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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