Location: SW 9th and Washington
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-3pm; Sat, 10-2pm
Some believe that opening a cart in the dead of winter in Portland is a bad idea, yet, there have been a few very successful launches in the last couple of years that are still going strong. Portland appreciates their carts and supports them even during the cold and rain. The Gaufre Gourmet is one of those carts that has that confidence.
Gaufre is French for waffle. Charline Wesler and Michael Susak are the chefs creating these amazing treats. The Gaure Gourmet focuses on liege style waffles made with a brioche style dough mixed with pearl sugar they import directly from Belgium. Pearl sugar is just what it sounds like – sugar in the form of little pearls. These aren’t the traditional waffles you get at your local diner, they are smaller, but thicker and fluffier. The cart is located on the corner of 4th and west Burnside at the Chinatown gate and the entrance to old town. I asked Michael if they had experienced any issues being in Old Town and surprisingly enough, they hadn’t. During the dead of December, when business was both slow and the weather was colder than normal, they decided to offer up free waffles and coffee to the area residents as a way to give back during Christmas week. That goodwill has resulted in them being welcomed into the community.
Michael stated that in Europe, the liege style waffle they serve are like snacks on the go. The Original, about the size of one’s hand, is a single waffle topped with powdered sugar. With the pearl sugar, some melts and some doesn’t, so you get a sweetness throughout and bits that didn’t melt to create a sugary crunch. One thing I will warn you about – don’t breath in while taking a bite or you get powdered sugar down your throat. If this is snack food for the French, I gotta respect their choices. While the liege style waffle is the cart’s specialty, they expand on it by adding local ingredients to create either sweet or savory concoctions. The Porklandia is a cornbread jalapeno liege style waffle topped with pulled pork, cabbage and apple slaw. You definitely need a fork for this one.
I enjoyed visiting the cart for lunch, but after enjoying that simple waffle, I now want to put it on my morning routine. They even serve up coffee drinks using illy brand coffee. Charlene and Michael have something new to offer the cart world and even the late night clubbers of old town. If you’re looking for a new treat, small or large, head on down to The Gaufre Gourmet and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.
Update, June 2011: Gaufre Gourmet has moved to NE 20th and Everett and will be open there as of June 21.
Update, October 2011: Gaufre Gourmet has moved to SW 9th between Alder and Washington and no longer offers late night nosh.
- The Original: liege style waffle with vanilla powdered sugar – $2.50
- Belgian Chocolate: liege style waffle drizzled with chocolate – $3.25
- Maple Bacon: bacon, need they say more -$4.50
- ABC Waffle: arugula, bacon, Camembert and fig – $6.50
- The Milk and Honey: goat cheese mousse, pistachios, balsamic caramel sauce – $6
- Banana Split Waffle: bananas, 3 ice creams, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, whipped cream, toasted almonds – $6.50
- Porklandia: pulled pork on jalapeno cornbread waffle with cabbage and apple slaw – $6.75
- Coffee and Espresso from illy – all kinds.