Gaufree - Irvine
Ever since Bruxie showed the world that waffles can be more than maple syrup delivery devices, it’s been a waffle gold rush out there. The old adage “selling like hotcakes” should probably be revised. And right now there are so many me-too waffle sandwich shops opening, it seems a repeat of what happened with food trucks after Kogi and frozen yogurt after Pinkberry.
Though it's neither the first nor the last waffle sandwich shop you’ll ever see, Gaufree--owned by ex-circus acrobats--does everything you expect with its waffles. It’s used as the bun for a burger, as the platform for sweet desserts, and as everything else in between. They are decent waffles…doing what waffles do, which means they stay crisp long enough for me to eat the whole sandwich without falling apart. But I don't like the waffles at Gaufree as much as I like what goes in between.
The fried chicken, which is not like Roscoe's nor Japanese katsu, is the bastard child of both, a lightly battered boneless plank of poultry that tastes like something your mom would make on a cast iron pan. If you ate it with mashed potatoes, you'd consider yourself well fed. Yet as we all now know as fact: it tastes pretty damn good in a waffle.
But to me, what distinguishes Gaufree from all the other Bruxie carbon copies are the homemade sauces. The curry mayo is divine, kind of like a Indo-European mash up (and something I swear I've tasted before in Brussels). The best sauce may be the homemade ketchup, which one might first mistake for barbecue because it's so complex.
Now if only they had waffle fries...
3851-A Alton Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
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