Melt Waffle – experiments with sugar and yogurt

Google Seattle recently checked out Melt Waffle & Frozen Yogurt, north of Seattle in Mountlake Terrace, and I had the chance to check it out with Charles Koh and the Google Places crew. And it was a blast!

Melt is not too far off exit 181 from I-5, but the parking lot has difficult entry points. Once you succeed in parking and actually walk in, it’s white and open. With 90s pop/dance music playing and edited quotes from former presidents about waffles on the walls, the mainly white décor reminded me of a lot of the bubble tea and crepe shops in the area. There are small tables for gathering with friends, and comfy chairs in the corner.

Melt Waffle

But you’re not going to go here for crepes or bubble tea. No, Melt serves ‘pearl sugar waffles (also known as ‘Liège waffles’) and frozen yogurt: individually, in sundaes, and ‘build your own.’

Tasty, tasty waffle

First, a quick primer on pearl sugar, or Liège, waffles. They’re a cousin of American waffles, so if you’re expecting huge, fluffy, batter-based waffles, you’re going to be disappointed. Originally from Liège, Belgium, pearl sugar waffles are small waffles made from a yeasted dough liberally mixed with pearl sugar. After a few minutes in a waffle iron, these lovely treats are dense, chewy, and caramelized, kind of like eating a very special, flattened brioche. Sweet Iron in the U-District and downtown Seattle makes the same kind of waffle, so that’s much closer to Melt’s works than going to I-HOP.

In fact, Sweet Iron and Melt have very similar waffles. As these waffles are best fresh out of the iron, I can’t compare them side by side very well, but they’re both fantastic waffles, and the shops use very different topping options. (Sweet Iron goes for more seasonal offerings, like compotes, and Melt is big on the candies and fruits.)

Back to the menu. At Melt, one waffle is $3, two waffles with two toppings is $3.99, and it’s $4.95 for the Melt waffle, a single waffle with frozen yogurt and two toppings. Listed menu waffle options are priced accordingly. Eugene Yang, the owner, and his staff are super friendly, so definitely ask questions if you’re not sure what to order.

Strawberry-caramel Melt waffle

The base menu of waffles ranges from Strawberries N’ Cream (two waffles with strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup) to the Chocolate Meltdown (Reese’s Pieces, M&Ms, chocolate chips, hot fudge and whipped cream). The Chocolate Meltdown is incredibly rich, but the Hawaii 5-0, with mangoes and coconut, is far more refreshing.

If you don’t think you can handle the dense richness of pearl sugar waffles, or you just want some yogurt with your waffle, go for the Melt waffle. The yogurt, which cools the waffle as you eat, works really well in cutting into the waffle’s gustatory gluttony.

Melt has two types of toppings – free condiments (caramel, chocolate syrup, etc) and toppings, chilled and dry. You can get every condiment if you so choose, though given that that would mean getting honey, maple syrup, and marshmallow syrup on one waffle, that could send you to a dentist after finishing. Dry toppings range from granola to gummy bears, and chilled is a variety of seasonal fruit and mango.

They currently have five flavors of yogurt, including a vanilla/chocolate swirl, but it’s written on a dry erase board so they can update the list with seasonal flavors. They had Whopper and Strawberry Lemonade while we were there, which were accurate but sweet. The vanilla yogurt was a non-tart variety and on the sweet side, with a lot of yogurt for the price. I wouldn’t go here to replace my Menchie’s addiction, but I liked it with the waffles.

I ordered three waffles while there: a plain waffle, a vanilla/chocolate yogurt, strawberry and caramel Melt waffle, and a Melt waffle with vanilla yogurt and every fruit topping and mochi. The plain waffle was exactly what I was hoping for, hot, crisp, and fluffy. The first Melt waffle was a little disappointing, but I think that was more because strawberries are out of season, as the behemoth fruit waffle was amazing. I especially loved the warm, pillowy treasures of mochi hidden underneath all the fruit.

Melt waffle in progress

If you’re still hankering for fluffy, fluffy waffles, don’t despair – they have a secret menu where you can also order Belgian waffles! Eugene said he is currently testing customer interest, but I saw some tantalizing Belgian waffles pop out of the waffle iron while I was there.

Finished Mega-Melt waffle

I think it’s a neat idea overall, though I admit I’m not up in Mountlake Terrace enough to really take advantage of the place. They’re talking about expansion for 2012, though, so I’ll be watching for a Melt near me.

Melt Waffle & Frozen Yogurt
4311 212th St SW Ste 110
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043

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