Review of Gaufree Artisan Waffle Sandwiches
Gaufree Jumps into the Waffle Sandwich Craze
If you haven’t noticed, there is a trend of Waffle Sandwich shops sprouting up all over Southern California. The brand, Bruxie, helped to pioneer waffle sandwiches as a mainstream restaurant concept. Although like any popular food trend, there are numerous competitors sprouting up. The latest is a single store restaurant called Gaufree, which is located in the Alton Square Center, just off Alton Parkway.
GauFree literally translates to waffle in Hungarian, Dutch and French. The Owner Paul Hortobagy was an Executive Chef at the JQ Marriot hotel before he decided to jump into the waffle sandwich business.
Gaufree offers a Savory waffle that is made with yeast, instead of malt, like most traditional American waffles. The result is a platform that stands up well to savory ingredients. Gaufree ingredients are locally sourced and use free range chickens and grass fed beef. The menu features both sweet and savory waffle sandwiches, salads , ice cream and full service coffee bar. I recently attended the Gaufree open house event to taste test their waffle sandwiches, below are my reactions.
Organic Buttermilk Fried Chicken
A nice filet of chicken is dipped in a sweet and savory buttermilk batter and deep fried crisp. The fried chicken is nestled between two waffles and garnished with lettuce, tomatoes, and a Meyer Rum Chipotle molasses dip. Overall good execution of this dish. I liked the savory and sweet flavors and crispiness of the chicken. I would have added more sauce to this dish to make it really pop.
Organic Eggs and Apple Wood Smoked Bacon
This was a fairly simple preparation of the eggs and waffles dish. The eggs and bacon were both good, although it really needed more of the herb pesto and the waffles needed to be cooked a little more crispy.
Brussels Street Waffle with Chocolate sauce and Raspberry Coulis
This is a classic waffles dish for any of the sweet purist out there. The raspberry coulis had the right blend of sweet and acidity to match the chocolate sauce. The two toppings complimented the flavor of the savory waffles. I loved this dessert.
Peanut Butter Pie Waffle with Sea Salt caramel
For my personal tastes, this waffle had too many flavors and it overwhelmed the waffle. This dish is made with crème, bananas, toasted peanuts and salted caramel sauce. This was not my favorite dish, although my table mates loved it.
My Final Thoughts
Overall I enjoyed my meal at Gaufree. I think they are still working through some minor adjustments to the recipes; although, they are on the right track. If you are in the neighborhood, they are definitely worth a try.
The obvious question is how does it compare to Bruxie? I thought some of the dishes are just as good, although Bruxie still has the benefit of many years of practice. Gaufree appeared to be still working on their waffle crispiness and dialing in the right amount of sauces and supporting ingredients. I would come to eat here again and would try a couple other dishes like the pulled pork or the waffle burger.
Note: I tried Gaufree for a second time recently and I noted significant improvements to their dishes and customer services.
3851-A Alton Parkway
Irvine, California 92606
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