Interns at Lunch: Taste of Belgium

We pick up the tab while our editorial interns eat lunch and report back.

May 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm
click to enlarge (L to R): Taste of Belgium's Italian Crepe and the Belgian Baja Galette - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
(L to R): Taste of Belgium's Italian Crepe and the Belgian Baja Galette

Ah, the perks of being an unpaid summer intern — sometimes your editor sends you to lunch. In this recurring online Eats segment, we’ll be picking up the tab while our interns eat lunch and report back. This week, we sent them to Taste of Belgium to try the resurrected buckwheat crêpes.

Taste of Belgium just reintroduced their buckwheat crêpes — dairy- and gluten-free brown and bubbly creations made using ultra-fine buckwheat batter, with flour imported from Brittany, France.

“Our new and improved crêpes come in a selection of unique flavors and styles,” says Taste of Belgium owner Jean-François Flechet in a recent press release. “Some savory (gooey cheese and cured meats), and some sweet (fresh fruit and melted Belgian chocolate).”

Inspired by a breakfast he had during a visit to Brittany, Flechet spent years trying to recreate the texture of traditional buckwheat crêpes using flour from various North American producers, but to no avail.

“A few years ago, I was invited to a wedding in Brittany, France, a beautiful seaside region located in the northwest. The morning after, we went to our hosts’ house for breakfast atop a beautiful cliff overlooking the water. On arrival, I noticed breakfast consisted of crêpes and galettes prepared by a Briton. It was the galette, the savory version of a crêpe, that caught my eye. Beautifully light, the cooked batter looked like lace. Then there was the filling — ham, egg and gruyere cheese — just what I needed after a night of revelry. I took a bite and thought, ‘Oh my God. I’ve been doing everything all wrong.’ I spent the morning learning everything I could about these galettes, and finally I uncovered the secret: It’s all about the quality of the buckwheat batter.”

Recently, Flechet had enough restaurants — there are six Taste of Belgium locations now — to warrant the cost of importing flour from France, and as of yesterday, buckwheat crêpes have been resurrected on Taste of Belgium’s menu.

Intern Amanda

Ordered: Belgian Baja Galette

Cost: $10

Drizzled with chipotle ranch and topped with fresh cilantro and corn and black bean salsa, the new organic buckwheat batter, mixed with just salt and water, is flaky, thin and a little bit sweet. Folded inside rests a mound of fresh turkey and melted cheddar cheese, making the Baja Galette the perfect lunch alternative to the classic turkey-Swiss sandwich. Although it could’ve used more chipotle ranch — then again, you can never have enough ranch — the newest addition to Taste of Belgium’s menu was a filling creation based on classic south-of-the-border cuisine. I would definitely order this again.

What else would you want to order if you went back to eat here again? Mushroom Galette; $9 — roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, fontina, boursin, fresh herbs and arugula.

Intern Mackenzie

Ordered: An Italian Crepe

Cost: $10

The presentation itself was snazzy. The crêpe was thin and flaky. The ends of it were folded inward with basil pesto, cherry tomatoes and cheese pooling in the middle. The buckwheat batter was refined with a slight sweetness to it. The cheeses — a mix of fresh mozzarella, parmesan and provolone — weren't overwhelming either. The pesto really sold me. It reminded me of my mom's, who grows basil and rosemary in her suburban garden. The texture and consistency were on par. The basil itself tasted fresh. All together, It delivered both in taste and personal sentiment.

Would I order it again? Here's the deal: I've been a vegetarian for nine years. When I got back to the office, upon looking up capicola, I realized that it was actually pork. The menu had a 'V' beside the dish, so I assumed it was vegetarian and the capicola was a kind of cheese. Oops. In my defense, I skipped my usual morning coffee so I was lagging a bit. So yeah, I'd order it again but I'd ask for the meat-free version. Forgive me, vegetarian gods, for I've broken a nine-year streak.

Taste of Belgium will make any of these dishes vegan or vegetarian; just ask and read the menu more carefully than I did.

What else would you want to order if you went back to eat here again? I would opt for one of the sweet crêpes along with a cup of coffee. The thought feels dreamy. I'd also be interested to see how the batter compares between the savory and sweet crêpes/galettes.

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