The Disabled Foodie and Words I Wheel By’s Wafels & Dinges Factory Tour Event & Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus, Brooklyn) – September 19, 2015
September’s exciting event involved teaming up with Emily Ladau from the popular blog, Words I Wheel By, to tour the Wafels & Dinges factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Wafels & Dinges are the popular food trucks around New York City that serve phenomenal authentic waffles in true Belgian style. I want to thank Emily for co-planning this event with me. I also want to thank everyone who attended. It was great to finally meet Ron from the drool-worthy food blog, Gratuitous Foodity, and Taylor from Zomato, a restaurant review website. I appreciate Stephanie from Wafels & Dinges for arranging everything for our tour. Thank you to Tyler for taking us on the tour of Wafels & Dinges, and for making the delectable Liège (pronounced lee-ehzh) waffles for us.
Prior to hearing an episode on The Sporkful about Belgian waffles, I, like most Americans, did not know that there is no true Belgian waffle, as each town in Belgium has its own waffle made in its own way. Wafels & Dinges (W&D) makes Brussels waffles (made from batter) and Liège waffles (made from dough filled with pearl sugar). After listening to that episode, I immediately visited the W&D website, and I learned that for $10.00 a person you can tour the factory and enjoy a freshly made waffle with unlimited toppings.
The W&D factory is in their food truck garage. In the rear of the garage is the kitchen where employees make both Brussels waffle batter and Liège waffle dough. Check out videos (including Liège waffle dough being made and Tyler making Liège waffles) from the tour on my Instagram (Click here to visit Instagram).
After the tour, Tyler made each member of the group a Liège waffle. I topped my waffle with spekuloos (pronounced speck-you-lohs) spread on one half of the waffle. This is a spread made from caramelized gingerbread cookies. Emily described the spekuloos spread accurately when she said, “It tastes like magic!” It’s spicy and sweet, and is exactly what it sounds like, spreadable gingerbread cookies. On the other half of my waffle, I asked for their seasonal pumpkin pie topping, walnuts, strawberries, whipped cream, and crumbled spekuloos cookies. The waffle itself was light, fluffy, and sweet from the pearl sugar in the dough, which caramelized beautifully. The entire thing was a decadent treat and the perfect indulgence.
Accessibility Rating for Wafels & Dinges Factory
I used my wheelchair to visit the Wafels & Dinges Factory.
- Entryway – 5: There is one large garage door, which was open while we were there. There are no stairs at the entrance. The transition from the sidewalk to the inside of the factory is smooth.
- Bathroom – 2: The doorway to the bathroom is narrow. It took some maneuvering on my part to get inside. The toilet does not have any grab bars around it. I was unable to get close to the sink in my wheelchair as the sink had a cabinet underneath it. The faucet has short handles. I was able to make a 180º turn while in my wheelchair inside the bathroom. The bathroom is well lit with outside light from windows. I was unable to find the light switch while inside, but the ambient light was adequate for me, but I could imagine this being difficult for a person with a visual impairment.
- Walkways/Space – 4: The interior is spacious and passable, with the exception of the bathroom door and some cracks and divots in the floor. The space is moderately lit, with the kitchen being the most brightly lit part. Most of the noise came from vehicles passing outside since the garage door was open.
- Staff – 4: Upon our arrival, the staff that was there was unaware that we had a tour scheduled for that afternoon. After describing that I had spoken with Stephanie to arrange the tour, everything was sorted out. Our tour was scheduled for 1:00 PM, but Tyler did not show up until almost 1:30 PM. This made our time schedule tighter, as I had Access-a-Ride scheduled for our return trip at a specific time from the Ample Hills Creamery Gowanus location. This made the experience feel a little more rushed, but it all worked out in the end. The staff did not react to the users of mobility assistive devices at all, which is great to be treated equally, but we also were not asked if there was any way to meet our needs to make for the best visit possible.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus at the factory, but Tyler described everything in detail to the entire group.
Following our visit to the Wafels & Dinges factory, I could not resist visiting the nearby location of Ample Hills Creamery in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Having been to their Prospect Heights location (Click here to read the review of that location), I am a huge fan of their ice cream. I, personally, believe it is some of the best ice cream that I have had in New York City. I had not been to this location before, but my husband had ordered and picked up a cake for my birthday (It was divine!) from this location last year. Ron joined us on this part of our visit to Gowanus.
I ordered one scoop in a cup of a flavor they only offer at this location: It Came From Gowanus. It is a salty dark chocolate ice cream with hazelnut crack cookies, white chocolate pearls, and orange-scented brownies. Naturally, I had to have rainbow sprinkles on top. After all, I am an overgrown five year old when it comes to ice cream. The flavor was deep and complex with bitter and salty flavors from the ice cream itself. The other components added chewy texture and the flavors of nuts and oranges. It was a unique flavor experience that I completely enjoyed.
Accessibility Rating for Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus)
I used my wheelchair to visit Ample Hills Creamery (Gowanus).
- Entryway – 5: There are two wide doors at the entrance. There is a ramp that goes up to the doors. There are stairs at the entrance. The transition from the ramp to the inside of the ice cream parlor is smooth.
- Bathroom – 3: There are two grab bars around the toilet. I was able to get underneath the sink with ease. There are short handles on the faucet. The bathroom is dimly lit. I was able to make a 180º turn while in my wheelchair inside the bathroom.
- Walkways/Space – 3: The interior space is largely passable, but the area at the ice cream case where orders are placed was quite crowded while we were there. The space is brightly lit. There was loud music playing while we ate. The table area is tight for someone using a wheelchair because there is no convenient area where I would have been able to sit at a table (They were all banquettes) and not have been sitting in the middle of people walking past.
- Staff – 1: The staff did not acknowledge me at all. There was no offer of help, nor was there anyone who asked how they could accommodate me to make my visit better.
- Braille Menus: They do not have Braille menus.