November 1, 2013
“Look, he’s leaving!” Alison pointed to a yellow van pulling away as we came to a stop in the middle of Place Flagey. The five of us looked at one another in disappointment as we stood holding our umbrellas under a slight drizzle. We had just emerged from a local bar that allowed us to devour our double fried fries from Frites Flagey, a Brussels sensation in the world of frites, or french fries, chips, whatever you want to call them. We had fulfilled our savory craving, and now it was time for sweet. Our quest for a double whammy of Belgian delights was seemingly doomed as we were one step too late to catch the Belgian Waffle van.
“Let’s drive to Sucré Salé [sweet salty], it’s close by” Peter, our local friend, suggested as we progressed to a brisk walk towards the parking garage. Peter has lived in Brussels for 12 years and we were counting on him and his wife Kamini to navigate. We were in a race against time as our next appointment was in a mere 45 minutes, a guided tour of Art Nouveau tombs at the local cemetery. Peter dropped us off in the rain as he went to find a parking spot. The three of us, including Saori, a 2 year resident of Brussels burst into Sucré Salé hoping to find some warm waffles and a spot at a table. The quick conversation in french between Kamini and the staff went over my head, but Kamini gave a nod. I let out a wide grin… finally, some freshly made waffles! I stood in the middle of the busy cafe and dreamt about cold vanilla ice-cream melting over the warm, crispy dough, but I was jolted back to reality. “Wait! We don’t want it anymore” Kamini shook her head, scolding the waitress holding a bag of frozen waffles. Once again we burst out into the rain. Kamini was already on the phone with Peter. “He is going to pick us up at the that corner” She pointed across the street. 30 minutes left. We piled back into the car.
“Frozen waffles!” Saori declared disapprovingly. “What about Haagen Dazs? Shouldn’t they serve fresh waffles?” Kamini suggested while tapping on her iPhone. We were dead set on getting these desserts into our bellies and we agreed, unanimously, to give it a shot. Somewhere in Brussels a fresh waffle must be found!
“Hey, look who’s here!” Alison pointed to that same yellow van, now parked right outside Hagen Daaz. Wow, I thought, the waffle gods must be rooting for us. Although now we only had 20 minutes to either stand in the pouring rain to gorge down some waffles or hop into Haagen Dazs and hope for a table. “Screw it, should we skip the cemetery?” I blurted out as we stepped into Haagen Dazs looking for a seat. As soon as I spoke, Kamini turned us around towards the door. “Now we have time to do this right. Let’s go to Dandoy!” Saori smiled from ear to ear and nodded repeatedly “They are the best!” Waffles 1, Art Nouveau Tombs 0.
I thought to myself “A perfect ending to a determined quest for sweets…”
PS. Another fabulous place to get your frites is at Maison Antoine. It’s absolutely fabulous and there is always a line!
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