When I was younger, I remember walking by myself around downtown Seattle on a really windy day. Being short and delicate, the breeze pushed me around fairly easily; my friends joked I was a kite without a string. I felt some serious nostalgia about those days last week as I tried to stay upright while waiting for the crosswalk light to turn green to walk to Sweet Iron Waffles.
After I passed that first test – and managed to shut the door – it was relatively peaceful inside. The staff were prepping the waffle machines and eating lunch, and as I ordered another guy joined us to eat a waffle and read the newspaper. You could still hear the wind howling outside, but it was slightly drowned out by Modest Mouse.
The small shop uses a mainly white setup like Melt Waffle & Frozen Yogurt, with white tables and cute retro-styled white chairs, but invokes a coffee shop more than a crepe store. Wood paneling with neon red lighting makes up one wall in the background and local art is aesthetically placed along two of the walls. The cutlery is stainless steel or compostable, with lovely waffle-friendly plates if you’re eating in. (You do bus your own dishes, but that means walking all of two feet. And, hopefully, you’ll have little to clean.)
I ordered two waffles, one plain ($3.25) and the seasonal ($6), with orange marmalade, whipped ricotta, and dark chocolate shavings. The first one, lightly dusted with powdered sugar, was waffle joy. For starters, it’s a larger waffle than Melt’s, and a bit more vanilla based for the dough. The pearl sugar was nicely integrated, creating an evenly caramelized exterior and a chewy, yeasty, vanilla-scented doughy interior. If you’re new to liege waffles, you should definitely try it.
The seasonal one was a bit more of a challenge for me. The main issue here is that the marmalade they use is a foghorn of citrus, graced with the ability to drown out all other flavors in its wake. The rinds were further intense bursts of flavor, in strips of a size I once thought were only meant for orangettes, and very chewy. And there is a lot of marmalade on this waffle. A lot. Please don’t interpret this as my disliking the waffle, or even the setup. I just was expecting a gentler marmalade experience, so I got distracted by comparing bites of marmalade with rind and waffle to rind-free marmalade and waffle. I’m sure marmalade enthusiasts would squeal with delight over this treat.
Once I got past my miniature marmalade moment, it was great. The ricotta was fresh and delicate, and with a rind-less dollop of marmalade it was just right for my palate. The chocolate didn’t sing through as much as I hoped, acting more as a background note than a major player. And that’s okay, as the marmalade was definitely the star of that show.
If you’re not a sweet waffle fan, fear not! They have savory waffles ($3-$6.50), ranging from brie and basil to the current seasonal offering of dates and blue cheese. And that coffee shop vibe isn’t just for show – they’re slinging Stumptown coffee with a lovely espresso machine and even make seasonal drinks like hot cranberry cider. As the shop went quiet after I inhaled my waffles, Paul and I chatted about ingredients and their Globe stand mixer, which I covet, and complained about the Seattle Freeze. Sweet Iron is a place to grab your coffee, chat with the uber-friendly staff, and wait out the passing storm. I just hope I can drop by again soon, and maybe make myself into a regular.
Sweet Iron Waffles
1200 3rd Ave, Suite 110
Seattle, WA 98101