Here We Go A Waffling

waf·fle 1 (wfl)n.A light crisp battercake baked in a waffle iron.
waf·fle 2  (wfl) Informalv. waf·fled, waf·fling, waf·flesv.tr. - To speak, write, or act evasively about.

Something strange happens as you walk along Robson St approaching Denman in downtown Vancouver. It may take a moment to detect the conspicuous absence, but as you walk past the McDonalds on the corner of Robson and Bidwell, the smell that overtakes your senses is not that familiar greasy fry.  By some miracle, the tiny Nero Belgian Waffle Bar located next door has eclipsed that ubiquitous aroma with the sweet sugary scent of their delightful delicacies.  And if the smell alone isn’t enough to lure you inside the small but very pleasant interior, the friendly Belgian owners and their incredible talent for making their most famous national dish should convince you.

The first time we stumbled upon this I myself was not convinced. I didn’t even order a waffle. You see, I don’t consider myself a waffle lover by any stretch. In days gone by, I would have voted pancake every time – hands down. But I have been converted and I have now visited Nero for breakfast every weekend for the past three weeks. I have tried the Savoury Brussels waffle with Bocconcini, cherry tomatoes, cucumber salsa, olive oil and lemon zest, the Parisienne waffle with brie cheese, walnuts, honey, and added strawberries, the sweet and chewy Liege with Belgian chocolate, and the light and crispy Brussels waffle with ice cream and strawberries.

I quickly put aside the notion that this is something I could create myself by procuring a waffle iron of my own. These guys do it so well, that I am happy to return again and again rather than try in vain to recreate the perfection they seem to achieve unfailingly. And as an added bonus, the espresso and atmosphere make it a great choice for a coffee stop! There’s nothing to waffle about here! I will bring everyone I can to this cozy little wooden sided secret spot. I’m even inviting you right now!

Visit Nero at 1703 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC.

Masthead photo courtesy of digiyesica’s photostream on Flickr

Levi’s Pie – THE Perfect Dessert

Like many Gumbooters I spent the long weekend cooking and eating with family and friends rather than slaving in front of a computer writing my blog post.  Luckily I was able to recruit a guest to write my post this week rather than make something up.  Here’s a post from my mum, Judy Burns, on why Levi’s Pie is THE perfect dessert.  Enjoy!

Well, I don’t actually know who Levi was – a lovely chap I’m sure.  I first encountered this recipe in “Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens” by Marie Nightingale and that was the title.  The rest of the world knows it as Apple Crisp.  It’s simple enough.  You slice up some apples and throw them into a dish and then mix together rolled oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon with butter and toss it on top.  You put it in the oven for half an hour or so and there you have it, the perfect dessert.

So why would anyone call such a plain ordinary dessert perfect?  Well it is plain and it is ordinary and that is its secret.  It’s the dessert anyone can make and that everybody loves.  With the apples and the oatmeal, you could even say it is good for you (it has a lot less fat than pie).  Now I’m not saying that this is the only dessert I like.  I have a killer squash pie recipe and anything made with chocolate is fine by me.

So what does any of this have to do with community?  This is where the word “perfect” comes into its own.  This is the dessert you choose when you are teaching   your child to cook.  What more important community is there than the one of parent and child?

This is also the dessert you choose when you are cooking for the people you love.  I remember a number of years ago my son, Ned, decided to cook dinner for me as a Mother’s Day gift.  And of course, he chose Levi’s Pie for dessert.  Apparently I had been preaching on the subject of the perfect dessert for years.  He told me later that he makes it often when he wants to impress.  After all, who expects a twenty something male to even know where the stove is.

So, there you have it, simple makes perfect.