I've always been a big fan of trying out the crazy, over-the-top desserts that have been taking over all of our Instagram feeds recently.
So when I scrolled by a dish called "WTF Waffles" from Clinton Hall (a food hall located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), my sweet tooth simply couldn't resist the chance to try it.
If 5-year-old me had been given the opportunity to pile all of her favorite foods on to one giant plate, this would have been it. I visited Clinton Hall to find out the real inspiration behind this decadent dish for TODAY Food's new original series, "Is Bigger Better?"
It turns out that the man behind this dish was actually inspired by his childhood to make this dessert. Telly Hatzigeorgiou, who founded Clinton Hall, is originally from Greece. Growing up, he said that he and his friends would always visit a restaurant called “Milky Way,” located in a suburb outside of Athens.
“As 12-year-olds, we would scrounge up every dime we had," Hatzigeorgiou said. He went on to describe the dreamy dish he enjoyed with his buddies: "It basically had a giant waffle, a mountain of ice cream, a mountain of whipped cream, and then chocolate syrup poured all over the top. So it was like a volcano!”
Hatzigeorgious has created a volcanic-sized treat of his own and he says that the most fun part about the larger-than-life dessert is watching customers try to figure out how to eat it when it comes to the table.
The team behind this particular dish created many iterations, using a variety of dessert ingredients. The end result was a beautiful, instagrammable dessert that's 2 feet tall!
I went into the kitchen to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Clinton Hall chefs actually stack this thing. To put the waffle tower together, chef Darryl Harmon carefully layers big scoops of ice cream (with sprinkles, of course!) between fluffy waffles. The stack is then topped with a slice of birthday cake — the dish is available in chocolate and red velvet varieties, too — more ice cream, and a swirl of rainbow cotton candy to form a cloud-like base. And did we mention the lollipops?
The end result is an edible Jenga tower of sweet treats that precariously sways just a little bit.
In addition to different flavors, the dessert is also available in limited-edition holiday varieties, too.
Despite its impressive height, the dessert tower didn't actually come apart until I started to devour it. I asked Hatzigeorgiou if anyone had ever dropped the dish on the way to a table and he admitted that while he has seen a lot of dirty faces smothered in whipped cream, there haven't been any mishaps before a dessert made it to diners.
The WTF Waffle, which will set you back $25, is definitely the kind of treat that's best enjoyed with a group of friends, and it makes for a really fun (if not pretty messy) dining experience. Before attacking this thing, I'd also recommend carefully disassembling the pieces and using a fork and knife ... or you could just do what I did and try to take a giant bite.
The verdict? Bigger is definitely better at Clinton Hall because you get about five desserts in one, so there's truly something for everyone.
Also, if you were wondering, no, I did not ask about the calories.