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José Andrés‘ cocktail laboratory Barmini is kind of obsessed with the waffle. First, it introduced the foie gras-stuffed “foieffle.” Now, there’s also an avant-garde twist on the Philly cheesesteak called the Philly waffle. Filled with an aged Vermont cheddar espuma and topped with caramelized onions and carpaccio-thin American Kobe beef, the $12 dish practically dissolves in your mouth like cotton candy.
ThinkFoodGroup Director of Research and Development Ruben Garcia says one of the first trips he took in the U.S. 11 years ago was to the City of Brotherly Love. He and a group of chefs from now-closed Café Atlántico spent an entire day eating the city’s signature sandwich. “We went to all the Philly cheesesteak places that we could find,” he says. Their own fancified cheesesteak—served in a torpedo-shaped shell, not a waffle—went on the menu at the original Minibar many years ago and later at the Bazaar in Los Angeles.
The waffle version was introduced to Barmini about six months ago. To make the waffles, the chefs put the dough in a nitro-charged canister that aerates it. When it cooks, the waffle becomes hollow inside and crunchy outside, making it easy to fill. The Barmini team has also experimented with a twist on chicken and waffles where the waffles were filled with yogurt espuma then topped with crispy chicken skins, hot sauce, and blue cheese.
“I think already the waffle is an icon of our menu at Barmini,” Garcia says. “If offers so many opportunities, so we’ll keep playing with it.”
Photo by Jessica Sidman