After converting a former consignment shop into L’Etoile du Nord Café, baker Olivier Vrambout walked away from the superb croissants, éclairs, galettes and breads that were his hallmark during his tenure at the Bikery in Stillwater. Instead, he’s firing up cast iron waffle irons, imported from his native Belgium. What’s the French word for wow? His recipe, a traditional two-day yeasted-and-sugared dough, results in firm, chewy, golden brown waffles, and they’re treated with the reverence they deserve, whether he’s crowning them with a house-made Nutella that will forever leave the commercially prepared version in the dust, or going with a tender pear poached in pinot noir and whispers of allspice, anise and vanilla bean. So delicious. 320 5th Av. N., Bayport; 651-439-7507; letoiledunordcafe.com

Best of Minnesota 2015

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