Specializing in creating artisan waffle sandwiches, Gaufree could very well give Bruxie, Orange County’s OG waffle sandwich house, a run for their money. So what makes Gaufree distinct from Bruxie? While both sell exceptionally crafted sandwiches made from waffles, personally (and I know there are Bruxie die-hards who will disagree) the nostalgia Gaufree’s spot offers in both its food and vibe does it for me.
Gaufree reminds me of a place you can just show up and relax while hanging out with your friends. Something along the lines of Saved By The Bell‘s “The Max” or California Dreams‘ “Sharkey’s.” You can walk in, order your food, sit down and kick it. They even have a Do You Know Me? game at every table and an ice cream parlor in the back.
Now, I’m not looking to start a flame war or anything, because I do enjoy Bruxie, but my money’s on the new kid on the block.
The family-owned establishment is just starting to set their roots in the area and, frankly, they’re off to a phenomenal start. Between their sandwiches and desserts, they pretty much hit the ground running. But you probably don’t want to read about how much I like it when you can see for yourself.
I’ll let my camera tell you the rest.
Louisiana Tasso Ham with Swiss Emmental Cheese
Hands down my overall favorite. We started off with the Louisiana Tasso-Style Ham and Swiss, which was topped with a house-made garlic aioli. Mind you, this was the first time I tried tasso ham, but I can say with honesty that I haven’t felt that special flutter in my heart since I was introduced to a little thing called pastrami.
House Famous Pulled Pork
A close second in Peter’s Gaufree adventure: the Pulled Pork. Soaked in their special BBQ sauce and horseradish yogurt, every bite was a medley of flavor. The best part is that the sauce soaks into the waffle bun, creating a sponge of pulled pork juiciness.
Organic Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Who doesn’t love chicken and waffles? Between the crispy chicken breast and the special chipotle molasses sauce, the Buttermilk Fried Chicken was a great way close out my waffle sandwich feast. Not too heavy or greasy, it left plenty of room for dessert.
Ketchup. Ranch. BBQ. Garlic Aioli. All their sauces are house-made from scratch and their flavors prove it. The ranch is thick and rich, the BBQ is sweet and a little spicy and the ketchup has just the right kick to it. None of that processed crap. I would go just for these sauces and a stack of fries alone.
Brussels Street Waffles with Chocolate
Now that the savory part of the tasting is over, it’s time to move onto the sweets. Gaufree’s Street Waffles are dusted with powdered sugar and served with several kinds of dessert dipping sauces. The combo made me feel like a kid again, dunking waffles in my favorite sweets.
Peanut Butter Pie Waffle
Peanut butter is where it’s at. The Peanut Butter Pie Waffle was, for lack of a better word, bananas! (Disclaimer: there were no bananas.) Spread with peanut butter whipped cream, more whipped cream and garnished with salted caramel and peanuts, the pie was a masterpiece George Washington Carver would be proud of.
The waffle pie is layered with a house-made peanut butter whipped cream. Chef handed me a spoonful of this beauty and told me to put it in my mouth. Pause. Mmmm… peanut-buttery goodness.
Finally, my adventure at Gaufree ended with a taste of their Sauce & Raspberry Coulis. Ugh, just look at how sexy that looks. Now, imagine how it tasted. Exactly.
3851 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606