Once again, Kaitlin Steinberg is eating her way through Houston and counting down her 100 favorite dishes as we work our way toward our annual Menu of Menus® issue and culinary extravaganza. She'll compile a collection of the dishes she thinks are the most delicious, most creative and, of course, most indicative of our ever-changing food scene. It's a list of personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that are uniquely Houstonian.
I love waffles. I love smoked salmon. I was pretty sure, however, that I wouldn't love smoked salmon on a waffle.
Lox and bagels? Sure. Salmon in pasta? Yes, please. Tartare on toast? Absolutely.
But something about the slight sweetness of a waffle just doesn't seem like it would lend itself well to pairing with the briny taste of seafood and the accompanying vinegar. So, of course, when I saw this dish that couldn't possibly work on the menu for The Waffle Bus, I had to try it.
The dish has been on the menu forever, but it took me multiple visits to the truck to notice it. Somehow I never get past the chicken and waffles or Nutella and waffles on the menu before I decide it can't possibly get any better, and I stop reading. Eventually, though, I scoffed a little and went for it. Turns out I needed to be giving those waffle guys a little more credit. After all, why would they put something on the menu that wasn't good?
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The smoked salmon waffle is much less heavy than the burger or the fried chicken, so it's a great lunch option when you're trying to avoid the 2 p.m. slump after a big meal. It's still served on the signature waffles, though, which makes it feel just a little indulgent.
If you're a fan of lox and bagels, you'll like this sandwich--or, rather, waffle taco. There's a generous portion of bright pink smoked salmon, spinach, tomato and a smear of cream cheese folded into a waffle that's ever-so-slightly sweet. The salmon is rich and has a definite aroma of smoked wood, while the veggies brighten up the dish. There's a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, too, for some acidity, which is needed with the bready waffle and buttery fish.
It's also light enough that I usually find myself craving a little something more once I finish it. Fortunately, there's never a shortage of Nutella waffles at the Waffle Bus.
The list so far: No. 92, Chirashi Lunch at Sushi Miyagi No. 93, Finocchiona Sandwich at Siphon Coffee No. 94, Combo Catracho at Mi Bella Honduras Restaurant No. 95, Tamal de Puerco at Andes Cafe No. 96, Cheeseburger at Sparkle's Hamburger Spot No. 97, Mi Quang at Simply Pho No. 98, Helado de Lúcuma at Pollo Bravo No. 99, Fat Fries at Fat Bao No. 100, Fish Bánh Mì at La Baguette