Ink Waffles Redeems the Waffle Sandwich

When I heard last year that Anepalco's Cafe's chingón owner Danny Godínez was opening a waffle-sandwich concept, I had to admit I cringed. Bruxië cornered that market years ago; other, lesser imitators now dot Southern California. The idea seemed beneath Godínez, who was already working on his El Mercado concept and seemingly didn't need another project on his ever-busy mind.

So forgive me, Danny, for being a pendejo and doubting you for even a second: Ink Waffles is great, one of the many must-eats in SanTana's new 4th Street Market, and it shows Godínez knows how to delegate. As with most of the food court's eateries, Ink Waffles is really just a stand, sticking to just seven waffle sandwiches. The prices are solid, the servings large. And Godínez has brought on as his chef Jaritza González, a rising star who's part of the second generation of the Northgate González family (though when I met her and called her “one of the Northgate kids,” she offered a wearied smile—so forgive me, Jaritza, for being a pendejo). This is her first OC place, and she's already carrying on Godínez's tradition of expanding the definition of Mexican food while establishing her own multicultural reputation.

Consider the Chino Latino: crispy chicken glazed with a plum sauce, decorated with sesame seeds, then wrapped in a crunchy waffle made of pandan batter. It's simultaneously fluffy and dense, crunchy yet wispy, with great tang and savoriness. I'm not sure what's exactly Latino about it, but it doesn't matter: Eat it. More Mexi is the buñuelo waffle, with González creating a stunning chocolate-ganache dip to pour onto the cinnamon-dusted fried waffle; after this, fried ice cream should be banished as a dessert at Cal-Mex restaurants forever.

All of Ink Waffles sandwiches are great, especially its namesake, which uses squid ink batter in ways not seen since Cuban seafood. And it's already one of the more popular spots at 4th Street Market. So kudos to González for her great debut, as well as to Godínez for continuing his empire. And to the two of ustedes: Forgive me, again, for being a pendejo. Now, let's eat!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *