When you're dining at a good restaurant, you're immersed in the cuisine. It's hard to picture the chef doing or eating anything else. Why would you even?
When I met Matt Troost, he worked at Fianco, a restaurant that got great reviews ... and then closed about a month ago.
The menu at Fianco was Italian.
Matt wanted to waffle Korean food.
Are you familiar with bibimbap? I wasn't.
It's a Korean dish. Traditionally, the rice is not waffled.
In this version, kimchi (pickled vegetables) and an egg are laid atop rice waffled with marinated vegetables.
As Matt points out: "The marinated vegetables, sesame oil, soy sauce, kimchi and hot pepper paste are all things I keep at home for simple late night meals. Those things aside, all you need for this dish is some rice and an egg or two."
The variations on this recipe are practically endless.
The faint, nutty sweetness of the rice met the tang of the kimchi. The heat of the chili paste met the comforting familiarity of the egg yolk.
It was immensely satisfying.
We sat at the bar. Matt and I talked about our jobs and our travels while I cleaned the plate.
I think I let him get a bite, too.
- 2 cups slightly overcooked rice
- 1/2 cup marinated vegetables (available prepackaged at most Korean markets)
- 2 eggs
- gochujang (hot pepper paste), as needed
- kimchi, as needed
- sesame oil
- soy sauce
1. Preheat the waffle iron and brush with sesame oil.
2. Place a handful of rice on the waffle iron, distributed evenly.
3. Sprinkle on some of the marinated vegetables and then cover with another handful of rice, evenly distributed.
4. Cook until crispy. (This will take somewhere around 8 minutes, though your waffling time may vary.)
5. While it's cooking, place a non-stick pan on high heat, add oil and fry an egg sunny side up until it's crispy on the bottom and soft on top (about a minute). Season the egg with salt and pepper.
6. Assemble your plate with the crispy waffled rice on bottom, egg on top, a spoonful or more of hot pepper paste (depending on taste) and kimchi.
7. Season with soy to your preference and enjoy.
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My thanks to Paste Magazine for including me in "25 Foodies to Follow on Twitter."
If you're not on Twitter — and Twitter is fairly ridiculous, so I can certainly see where you wouldn't be — it's pretty much just as good if you pause a few times a day to imagine me talking about a sandwich I recently ate or responding to a comment about whether something or another should or could be waffled.
Mobliving.com did a write-up about Waffleizer, which pretty much sums up my attitude toward certain blogs too, and which you should read, though be warned that it contains some colorful language. (I am fond of colorful language, but I realize that you may not be.)
Finally, Mental Floss included Waffleizer in a round-up of niche food blogs. There are some great blogs in there.
Now, "niche food blog" is an absolutely accurate — and even kind — description of this blog. That said, is it odd to see the thing on which you spend so much time and energy labeled a niche food blog?
Maybe a little.
But not as odd as seeing yourself lumped together with Tom Selleck, sandwiches and waterfalls.
Who am I kidding? Not lumped together so much as listed after.
It's always good to know where you stand.