Check out the chicken and waffles on this new food truck in the Tacoma area
When Crystal and Bakaffa Casey were stationed in Italy while Bakaffa was in the Army, taking a trip to another European country became a weekend tradition.
Those mini vacations allowed them to eat their way through Europe and discover all kinds of delicious obsessions.
Like liege waffles.
The yeasted waffles are distinctive for their richness and ethereal texture, which comes from a long ferment.
Belgium was where Crystal developed a real taste for yeasted liege waffles. “The key things to eat in Belgium are mussels, french fries, beer, chocolate and of course, these waffles Everybody talked about these waffles.”
Those waffles form the foundation for the sweet side of the menu of Munch Munch Waffles, the family’s new food truck that debuted over the winter.
FOOD TRUCK FRIDAYS IN PUYALLUP
For their first season, they could have been sidelined by Covid-19 restrictions that canceled all the events they had booked, but instead they got scrappy and regrouped their business plan. They started serving at private events and grabbed any other opportunity that came along.
That’s how they became part of the Food Truck Fridays series in downtown Puyallup, which features a different food truck from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Find them downtown this Friday, July 10, 2020.
The event is hosted by the Washington State Food Truck Association. https://www.facebook.com/events/puyallup-city-hall/food-truck-fridays-in-puyallup/799643797183822/
They’ll also be debuting at the Lakewood Farmers Market starting with this Friday’s farmers market (July 10, 2020). If you had not yet heard, the Lakewood Farmers Market has moved to a site more easy for social distancing. The market operates from 3-7 p.m. every Friday at Fort Steilacoom Park. https://cityoflakewood.us/lakewood-farmers-market/
Both those events are where you can get a taste of Crystal’s liege waffles, rare to find here. Savor Creperie served liege waffles until it closed earlier this year. They’re labor intensive to make, which is why you won’t find them everywhere.
THE FAMOUS LIEGE RECIPE
“I let mine sit overnight. The yeast and the sugar need time,” said Crystal. “A lot of recipes are two-hour proofing. So the first one I did they had that texture, but I thought, ‘Something’s missing.’ It was always that yeast formation and the yeast flavor,” she said. An overnight ferment helped develop that specific flavor she was after.
“The pearl sugar is from Belgium. I use Kerrygold butter, only European butter. I want to maintain the integrity of what I ate in Belgium. I use organic milk, the yeast, the butter and pearl sugar are all high quality ingredients,” said Crystal.
She also cooks the liege waffles on an HVD waffle iron from Belgium which “helps to cook the liege in the authentic way,” said Crystal.
“I want people to have a taste of Belgium like I had the 5 times we visited Belgium. I don’t want this to be the same old waffle you can get anywhere.”
OPENING A MOBILE RESTAURANT
Crystal Casey has spent her career as a pharmaceutical rep, but while she and Bakaffa lived in Italy, she focused her attention on coordinating and raising money for the Family Readiness Group for her husband’s Army unit.
For a fundraiser, she brought a taste of home to everyone in the unit: chicken and biscuits. “We sold out every time. I perfected my recipe for the chicken overseas. That gave me the taste for the chicken that I serve with my waffles,” she said.
They returned to the United States and their daughter was born in 2017. The truck name is also the nickname Crystal uses for her daughter, “Munch.” Crystal took a leave from work and that’s when she found time again to tweak her recipes for liege waffles and her fried chicken.
“It definitely takes time to develop a recipe. I can’t even tell you how many iterations I did. I’m not a baker. This is totally different,” she said.
Her husband retired from the military at about the time they were trying to figure out the next act of their lives as they were moving to Bonney Lake.
They both have demanding careers: Crystal’s in pharmaceutical sales and Bakaffa’s in IT. They didn’t think a restaurant would be something they could fit into their schedule, but when friends started to encourage them to consider a food truck, they started looking at starting a mobile restaurant they could operate around their careers.
In November 2019 after a considerable amount of research, recipe testing and planning, they debuted their food truck. The first six months have not gone as planned, but they’re making the most of it. Her master’s degree in public health has been put to use in this pandemic. She said they’re employing sanitation methods and other precautions to ensure everybody’s safety.
THE MENU AT MUNCH MUNCH WAFFLES
The liege waffles are at the foundation for all the sweet waffle creations on the truck’s menu. They serve a plain liege coated in powdered sugar, plus versions topped with mango, tropical fruit coulis and toasted coconut and a super popular sweet waffle called O Europe that comes with sliced strawberries and bananas, whipped cream and a choice of chocolate or nutella on top.
While I’m fascinated by the truck’s liege waffles that are served with the truck’s sweet waffles, Crystal also makes a cornmeal waffle for their savory menu items. The savory menu includes dishes such as the cornmeal waffle served with buttermilk marinated fried chicken with apple-cranberry slaw and a maple drizzle.
For newcomers, Crystal recommends exploring their brunch-themed waffle items. They also are known for throwing in a little Cajun flair on the menu.
To find the truck, follow the links below to their social media or scope out their schedule at https://streetfoodfinder.com/munchmunchwaffles
MUNCH MUNCH WAFFLES
KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN SPOT COMING TO THE AREA
Did you catch my story this week about the Korean fried chicken restaurant opening here? BB.Q Olive Chicken will open this summer. Read all about that here.