You might not think that waffles and fries go together, but in Belgium—and now at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market—they’re a match made in heaven. Patrick Pirson grew up in Belgium, where waffles and fries were traditionally sold together on street corners. When he started the Liége Waffle Company here a few years ago, fans of Belgian culture flocked to get the waffles, but then they asked, “Where are the fries?” So Patrick filled the need.
The waffle irons are traditional Belgian cast iron devices that are incredibly hot. Patrick points a laser thermometer at the contraption to read the temperature. He uses an ice cream scoop to load blobs of batter onto each hot iron and closes the lids.
It’s a yeast batter, almost like bread dough. Patrick makes it from scratch with butter, honey, his homemade vanilla sugar, and an imported key ingredient from Belgium –pearl sugar. Let me tell you, it’s all about the pearl sugar. As the waffles cook, the sugar inside melts, but the pearl sugar on the outside caramelizes. So this is no ordinary waffle. It’s a dessert waffle like you’ve never tasted: chewy, sweet and substantial.
“It takes about a day for the dough to rise,” Patrick says as he serves up another waffle to a customer. He asks the little girl if she want powdered sugar and she says yes. There are chocolate and caramel sauces available as well, but the waffles are sweet enough without them. “I try to discourage sauce use,” he says.
Patrick and his wife Shelly started their home-based business about two and half years ago. “We were walking here doing our shopping and decided we should sell our waffles and fries.” Now in their second month at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market, Patrick and Liége Waffle Company are drawing a crowd.
The pommes frites are available in two sizes: small for $5, or large for $7, with one free sauce. Patrick makes his own mayo, which is the base for all the dipping sauces. He keeps it interesting with options like chipotle mayo, and cilantro lime sauces. He plans to have vegan versions of all the sauces soon to fill the growing demand.
When asked what they use to fry the pommes frites, Patrick says, “traditionally the fries are cooked in animal fat, but we don’t do that.” Since Mar Vista’s Farmers’ Market only allows non-GMO oils, they use peanut oil.
The waffles keep for several days and can be reheated, but you’d better finish your fries at the Market—that is, before someone else eats them first.
Liége Waffle Company can also be found at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market on Sunset strip and Thursday downtown LA market. Get your waffle on two ways: 5 mini waffles for $5 or 20 mini waffles for $16.