No longer will it be necessary to check twitter in order to try to find the moving target that is the massive empire of mobile Belgian waffles… err, excuse me, wafels. Wafels & Dinges officially has a permanent home! The surprisingly spacious real estate on the corner of Avenue B and 2nd Street in the East Village has a modern, clean, and inviting look. And it smells delicious.
Here are some first look photos of the new place…
That familiar tune… it starts out faint, growing louder and louder by the second. Your ears perk up, your posture straightens. Instantly, you bolt for the door, grabbing your wallet on the way. It’s Mister Softee, and the truck is heading your way! You walk (run) up to the truck to find that those familiar sprinkles have been replaced with the unexpected , including wasabi pea dust, toasted curried coconut, dulce de leche, pumpkin butter, and even sea salt. You realize this is no Mister Softee. You, my friend, have stumbled upon the greatness that is Big Gay Ice Cream.
Co-founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff began Big Gay Ice Cream as a humble ice cream truck experiment in the summer of 2009. The combination of serving up that nostalgic old-school soft-serve covered in new, imaginative toppings was an instant success. In September of 2011, the pair expanded into their own brick-and-mortar shop in the East Village, located at 125 East 7th Street. This is where I have been a frequent happy customer over the past couple of months. I find my car driving itself to 7th Street all the time, all by itself. Weird…
Taïm (Tah-eem) is a place that lives up to its name. Meaning ” highly pleasant to the taste, delicious” in Hebrew, Taïm is home to some of the best falafel in all of NYC. Falafel, a ball (or patty) of ground chickpeas mixed with various herbs and spices, is nutty, earthy, and deep-fried deliciousness. It is a dish that has become a staple throughout the Middle East. With an all-vegetarian menu, Taïm must be doing something right… NY Magazine, Serious Eats, and Village Voice all declared Taïm to have the best falafel in Manhattan.
Taïm Falafel is located at 222 Waverly Place, just steps off 7th Ave and a couple blocks away from amazingly delicious gastropub The Spotted Pig and the overrated Magnolia Bakery (for your cupcake fix, go to Molly’s Cupcakes on Bleeker Street instead). Owned by husband and wife Chef Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger, the decision to open up Taïm came about as they realized NYC was missing the amazing falafel they were used to eating in their native Tel Aviv. Creating their take on street food fare with a gourmet twist ended up becoming a winning hit for the pair. They found instant success with Taïm, and soon gave birth to the eatery’s food truck sidekick, Taïm Mobile, which brings the taste of Taïm to the streets of NYC.
I didn’t grow up eating a lot of Korean food (or any for that matter), but had I known what a delicious treasure it truly is, I would have started enjoying the flavors of Korea long, long ago. A couple NYC food trucks are working hard to put the delicious cuisine of Korea on the culinary map of America. One such truck is Kimchi Taco. Combining traditional Korean flavors with comfort foods we Americans love, the Kimchi Taco Truck has rapidly become one of my favorite food trucks in all of NYC. The flavors are bold, the ingredients are fresh, the prices are great, the staff is friendly, and most of all, it’s so delicious.
Philip Lee, owner and founder of Kimchi Taco, wants to revolutionize Korean cuisine and change America’s perception of his native food… and in my mind, he’s succeeding. There are many great food trucks roaming the streets of NYC, and Kimchi Taco can hang with the best of them. Here’s why:
I like ice cream. I like cookies. Ice cream and cookies all at once… euphoria! What’s not to like about the old time favorite ice cream sandwich? I remember being very excited as a kid when I would hear that familiar high-pitched tune, signaling the one, the only, ice cream man! Approaching that ice cream truck, with all the different sugary choices colorfully plastered around the service window, I would very often choose the good ole’ chipwich. A prepackaged vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two frozen chocolate chip cookies, it was all a kid could hope for. Ah, youthful days… But little did I know!
When I walked up to the Coolhaus food truck for the first time, I expected a decent, good, tasty ice cream sandwich. That isn’t what I got… not even close. It was SO much more than that. I have never had an ice cream sandwich this good. It was stupid good. So good I now literally compare all other ice cream sandwiches to the pedestal I have erected for my ice cream sandwich love: Coolhaus!
I’ve had plenty of ice cream in my life. I consider it to be one of the major food groups that I should consume on a regular basis. My fiance would probably say I like ice cream a little too much, but c’mon, it’s so darn delicious! And I know I’m not alone. You can all probably think of your absolute favorite brand and flavor of ice cream within 4.2 seconds. Or if you are like me, you might have a couple of favorites. But let me tell you, vanilla is not on that list for me. It just screams “boring” to me. Mundane, artificial vanilla flavor is not something I’m excited to eat. However, when I tasted Van Leeuwen’s vanilla ice cream, it was like the gates of vanilla paradise were finally opened and I saw the true potential of that little pod. I was a changed man.
I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m slightly obsessed with Bobby Flay. I love his shows on Food Network, and I get excited when I’m watching Iron Chef America and he’s the one chosen to battle. Having dined at all 4 of his restaurants numerous times (Bar Americain, Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay Steak, and Bobby’s Burger Palace), I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy his food and the flavor profiles he creates. He has transformed the way I cook and eat. With that being said, I love when he loses on his t.v. show Throwdown. It is a constant reminder for me that there are SO many great chefs and cooks out there doing their thing day in and day out, without the recognition or fame that comes with being a celebrity chef. One of those underdogs who sent Bobby packing is Belgian native Thomas DeGeest and his Wafels and Dinges Food Truck.
The next big thing to hit New York’s food scene? Gourmet food trucks, and the invasion is already well underway. A movement that began on the West Coast, California is already accustomed to the gourmet food truck scene and they embrace it with open arms. Okay New York, before you start thinking half-cooked pretzels, nuts-for-nuts, and other abysmal food cart atrocities, think again. Today’s food truck is not your ordinary sidewalk vendor. These gourmet food trucks cook up fresh, high-quality ingredients. Some food trucks even sport menu items with local and/or organic produce. Menus are much smaller compared to that of a restaurant, as the trucks focus on limited but creative dishes that run the scope of ethnic and fusion cuisine. Often times, successful food trucks have a very creative, unique niche. Several food trucks fuse together different types of food, like Mexicue’s blend of BBQ and Mexican fare, while others (like Van Leeuwen’s Vanilla Ice Cream) take old time favorites to a brand new level of culinary genius.