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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Public Shaming of the Waffle Truck Guy

Posted By on Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 4:57 PM

click to enlarge The waffle man and his lumps of dough. - MEGAN GORDON/BAY AREA BITES
  • Megan Gordon/Bay Area Bites
  • The waffle man and his lumps of dough.
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Grab your pitchforks and torches and head to SOMA!: Have we all lost our minds re: street food? Yesterday at Chow.com, Lessley Anderson dropped a big j'accuse on Waffle Mania, the Belgian waffle truck that parks Tuesdays and Fridays near Chow's offices on Tehama. Under the scream-y headline "Fauxtisanal Food Truck Alert," Anderson explained:

A Belgian waffle truck parked near CHOW, believed by employees to be an artisanal food truck, was revealed through investigative reporting to be a franchise operation. Although the truck is operated by a legit Belgian dude, the tasty, yeasty waffles are in fact baked from premeasured dough supplied by Belgian company So Good Belgian Waffles in egg carton-esque containers.
In her next paragraph, Anderson stepped back from outrage to offer a bit of perspective. But only a bit:
The truck never claimed to be peddling handmade treats. It basked, quietly, in the warm interest of those who assumed it to be a humble start-up operation in the spirit of the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. This is surely not the last fauxtisanal scheme. Is it?

NBC Bay Area's Sajid Farooq went on to paint the waffle guy (if we're going to accuse him of passing off a fraud, couldn't we at least get a name?) as a charlatan, thanks to the headline "The Waffle Truck Is Not All Its Cooked Up To Be."

Really? Are we flogging a guy for not being the artisan he never claimed to be? Really? We're with commenter (and Chowhound) Ruth Lafler, who said: "Does it really matter whether it's 'artisanal' or not? If the waffles are good, they're good, and if they're not, they're not."

And we're not sure what kind of investigative reporting went down at Chow, but we venture to say it didn't include reading Bay Area Bites on Feb. 22, when Megan Gordon blogged about Waffle Mania (and took the trouble to get the waffle guy's name ― Alain Dupont), referring to the fact that Dupont does not whip up the dough from scratch: She even links to the So Good site. Props to Gordon. And c'mon people: Are we going to publicly shame food sellers who don't live up to the fantasies we spin about them?

Oh, and we expect the waffle haters to call out Bi-Rite's new soft-serve: The mix comes straight from Straus dairy.

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