The Off-the-Menu Item at Blue Bottle You Haven't Heard Of
"Ooooh, I wonder what that is," people whisper to each other when you order it. The assertive even ask: "Excuse me? What is that?" Everyone loves exclusivity. We all can't be invited to Michael Bauer's secret holiday party like some of the city's top chefs, but we can at least console ourselves with the fun little off-the-menu item from the Blue Bottle stall inside of the Ferry Building.
The Dapper Diner
At this point you might be saying to yourself: "Oh, are you talking about the Gibraltar? Almost everyone knows about that. What's so exclusive about that off-the-menu beauty?" Well, you're wrong. Yes, the Gibraltar -- an espresso and milk concoction served in a short glass -- is great, but you know what's better? The Waffle-gato (also Waffo-gato, What-a-gato, and Waffle-gate-o). This isn't some oddball item using a cat as an ingredient, but rather a combination of Blue Bottle's affogato and their sweet Liege waffle, and while it's not a new invention by any means, it is one of the best versions in the city.
Dr. Forrester may have thought waffles were just a vehicle for butter and syrup much to the dismay of Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew on the Satellite of Love [Ed: Holler to all the die-hard MSTies out there], but the Waffle-gato changes all that, turning it into a vehicle for caffeine and ice cream. The Liege waffle, unlike the Brussels waffle most people know, is based on brioche dough, making it a little chewier but much sweeter due to the pearl sugar that caramelizes on the waffle's surface. These are definitely not the kind of waffles that should be drowned in butter or syrup.
When you order a Blue Bottle affogato, you get a shot of their amazing espresso poured over scoops of Humphry Slocombe ice cream. Where the hot espresso directly battles the cold of the ice cream, a velvety textured cream of bitter coffee and sweet ice cream is created while the remainder of the cooled espresso pools at the bottom of the bowl, hugging the base of the cold scoops. Now imagine tossing in a warm waffle to soak up all that coffee and slowly melting ice cream. Or imagine breaking off chunks of waffle and spooning on some ice cream and espresso. Welcome to the magic of the Waffle-gato.
And since the whole thing is served in a bowl, you can easily carry it around with you, making it a great walking brunch or snack. However, prepare yourself to be stalked and asked by those wanting to know what it is you're eating and where to get it if you do this. Such are the dangers of being "in the know." Now if I could just get an affogato on top of some cereal...