Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
Now that the food truck is a fixture on our culinary landscape, those who would succeed must develop a menu to separate it from all the various chow trucks roaming the streets of Little Rock. One of our newest trucks, the Waffle Wagon, has managed to do just that by taking the ordinary waffle concept and bending it into such a wide variety of sweet and savory offerings that folks used to their morning Eggo will hardly recognize these tasty waffles as even being the same sort of pastry.
Being used to waffles of the butter-and-syrup-drenched variety, we were initially intrigued by the savory options available from Waffle Wagon. Lucky for us, the truck's signature Chicken and Waffles ($10) combines the best of both worlds into a thick, Belgian-style waffle topped with real maple syrup, then topped again by three large buffalo-style chicken strips. We expected the typical pre-breaded and frozen chicken and were pleasantly surprised to see fresh chicken breaded to order, fried up right there in front of us, then tossed in a spicy sauce — all in just about the exact time it took our waffle to come out piping hot from the waffle-maker.
Our second savory option was a cornbread waffle topped with slow-cooked purple hull peas and jalapeno jelly ($8). We've eaten a lot of peas across the state, and these beauties could stand up to any of them with their good texture, bits of ham hock, and a pot liquor that soaked into that cornbread waffle perfectly. And while we're not normally fans of pepper jelly, the dollop of bright green jalapeno on top of this dish was a good addition, spicy and sweet.
For folks who want their waffles to be sweet, the Waffle Wagon skillfully rises to the challenge. A waffle flecked with pear, grown locally at Dunbar Garden and diced, and small crystals of sweet brown sugar ($8) was delicious. First timers might be expecting a heavy, goopy, overloaded waffle here, but Waffle Wagon's offerings are anything but. The sweet waffle was light and airy, yielding under the lightest touch of a fork. The pear and brown sugar was stuffed inside the waffle batter, to good result.
We were so impressed with their pear waffle, we decided to see what they could do with banana on our follow-up visit. We chose the banana brown sugar waffle ($8) that came lightly drizzled in maple and topped with another generous pat of butter. Banana and brown sugar have been dear friends since the dawn of man, and for good reason, too. Here the maple accentuated the aromatic, ripe banana perfectly. The entire waffle was consumed in record time. The same can be said for a similar sweet waffle stuffed with Granny Smith apples ($8), again showcasing the truck's ability to combine fresh fruit with their light batter to create a dish that truly becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
It takes a brave chef to stake his culinary reputation on something like a waffle, but after the first taste of the Waffle Wagon's wares we had no doubt chef/owner Matt Clark and his truck would be a valuable addition to our local food scene. Clark's menu changes with the seasons, guaranteeing that much of the fruit is at its peak of freshness and flavor. Besides, is there anything more fun than indulging one's inner child by having waffles for dinner? When the waffles in question are this good, we submit that there is not.
Like all mobile eateries, the best way to hunt down the Waffle Wagon is to follow it on social media for locations and daily menu specials. The wagon takes phone and text orders, too.
Vary, check social media.
All major CC, no alcohol