Imagine a restaurateur’s delight to be featured in Jay Leno’s monologue your first week in business. Bruxie’s “bold fold” waffle concept intrigued the entertainer, as it did the lines of customers queuing up at the Old Towne Orange eatery.

Dean Simon, Bruxie’s managing partner, found out fast that the idea for gourmet waffle sandwiches could capture a loyal audience. Now there is a Bruxie in Brea, with another to open soon in Rancho Santa Margarita.  His two sons, both Orange County college students, work at Bruxie, pitching in as cashiers and runners.

Simon agreed to bring his waffle iron and cook with me in my home kitchen and tape a video. I knew he couldn’t share Bruxie’s recipe for its signature waffle, that not-too-sweet, crispy- light yeasty wonder that teams so well with sweet or savory filling. That would be giving the store away.

But he explained that he turned one of the popular filling into The Bruxie Salad after many guests requested a gluten-free option.

As with everything on the menu, the salad utilized the highest quality ingredients, such as Laura Chenel goat cheese from Sonoma, organic wild arugula, and super-fresh herbs. Whether waffle-folded, or assembled on a large dinner plate, the mixture of greens, roasted mushrooms, grilled chicken, herbs and sun-dried tomatoes is delectable.

The Bruxie Salad
Yield: 2 large servings
Balsamic Syrup:
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Roasted Mushrooms:
1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed, cut in half if large
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil combined with 2 tablespoons canola oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Goat Cheese:
8 ounces soft, log-style goat cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4 ounces each, grilled, chilled
2 cups roasted cremini mushrooms
Optional: 1/3 cup drained, patted dry sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), cut into narrow strips
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups baby arugula
Optional garnish: fresh chives
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare balsamic “syrup:” In a small nonreactive saucepan combine balsamic vinegar and sugar. Cook on low heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Set aside to cool.
2. Prepare vinaigrette: In a small bowl or a glass measuring cup with a handle whisk juice, salt and pepper. When salt dissolves, add oil in thin steam, whisking constantly. Set aside.

3. Roast mushrooms: On a rimmed baking sheet, toss mushrooms, salt, pepper, oil and thyme. Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until tender and nicely browned.
4. Prepare goat cheese: In medium bowl, combine cheese, sour cream and basil. Stir to combine and set aside.
5. Toss romaine and arugula. Stir dressing and add enough to lightly coat leaves; toss. Divide between 2 large plates. Cut chicken on the bias and place atop greens. Add a large scoop of mushrooms next to chicken (refrigerate leftover mushrooms and use with steamed vegetables or more salads). If desired, add sun-dried tomato strips. Pinch off portions of cheese mixture and scatter over salad (refrigerate leftover cheese and use atop other salads or sliced tomatoes or crackers). Put cooled balsamic syrup in squeeze bottle and drizzle syrup over salad.
Source: Dean Simon, managing partner, Bruxie – Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches, Orange, Brea and soon in Rancho Santa Margarita


Luscious Melissa’s baby kiwi are available March to mid-April, September to October. These fuzz-free babies are edible, skin-and-all.

MELISSA’S TIP:  Baby Kiwi are delicious combined with mixed berries and a mint-infused maple syrup, especially atop crisp waffles. To make the fragrant syrup, bring 1/2 cup water to boil and stir in 1 cup fresh mint leaves and 1/2 cup high quality maple syrup. Cover and place off heat; steep for 30 minutes. Strain and toss with mixed berries and baby kiwi. Spoon over hot waffles, french toast or pancakes. If you like, spread a little mascarpone on the waffle or french toast before adding the fruit.