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I’m not one to wake up early on Sunday mornings, get ready, and run out for brunch. Especially if early = before noon.
That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could grab these deliciously complex Liège-style (a.k.a. Belgian) waffles after noon, and until about 5 p.m., every Sunday. Even better: I could eat them outside, sitting at a picnic table in Providence.
These waffles are from Burgundian, an Attleboro, Mass. restaurant founded in 2017 by Shane Matlock, who serves them out of a pop-up near the Pedestrian Bridge in Providence on Sundays. Matlock is a US Army veteran who was once stationed on the border of France and Belgium. It was while he was there that he learned the term “Burgundian,” which simply means someone who loves all food and drink — both in quality and quantity. He immediately scrapped the word “foodie” from his vocabulary.
Liège-style waffles are made with a honey, vanilla, coarse pearl sugar that caramelizes on the outside, and a base that’s similar to a brioche dough. Making the dough is a two-day process. He transports trays of what look like perfectly-looking spheres of dough to the grassy section by the pedestrian bridge, and makes the waffles in front of you.
But just how “authentic” are these waffles?
Let’s put it this way: He developed this recipe with a “waffle master” in Belgium. And he said he’s had travelers from Belgium order his waffles plain, and say that they taste “just like home.” In Belgium, topping choices are limited to a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, butter, simple spreads, and soft fruit. But Matlock also offers toppings that could please any American.
On a recent Sunday I ordered two kinds (for research purposes, of course): The “Streets of Bruges,” named for the city in Belgium, spread with Nutella, Belgian cookie butter, ripe strawberries, bananas, and whipped cream, along with a savory waffle slathered with ricotta, fig spread, a heaping pile of bacon, and basil.
”The stuff that I do to waffles, a lot of Belgians consider blasphemy,” laughed Matlock.
But putting his own spin on well-traveled street food is exactly what he’s going for.
He’s creating bites that are inspired by places he’s been — both in the military and while working for Collette, the travel agency that’s headquartered in Pawtucket. The menu at his restaurant is constantly rotating, featuring Filipino street noodles, a Japanese Katsu fried sandwich, or a chaufa rice bowl with both Peruvian and Chinese influences like fried banana, toasted red quinoa, ginger, and twice-cooked rice.
Coming soon: A travel food show.
He told me that he plans on taking a camera crew with him overseas, highlighting the authentic versions of the street food that he serves at the restaurant. A portion of his sales will go to help the communities that inspired his menu.
“I want to connect people visually as well as sensory at the location,” he said. “I want to show them who the faces are behind the places and food we’re serving. And then I want to be able to give back.”
He’s got a video to give viewers a taste of what’s to come, and a production crew with ties to National Geographic is reportedly interested. I’ll be keeping my eye out for updates.
If you have recommendations or suggestions, shoot me an email at Alexa.Gagosz@globe.com.
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Alexa Gagosz can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.