Friday, November 11, 2011

the dining experience: cafe crepe

There's this one restaurant in Toronto that is a bit of a go-to spot for me. Particularly when I'm out with Emma. (She introduced me to it, and we both adore it).

So we've not been doing a lot of social stuff together outside of work lately. Partly because we are bad influences on each others spending and eating habits (we both have big financial goals that give us very tight budgets and not much spending money and are both watching what we eat for very different reasons) and partly because I've been a really big homebody lately since Bunny's big career change. It has a weird affect on our friendship when that happens, because we are the "pick up where we left off" type people, but we are also (because of work circumstances) seeing each other every day (which is a really good thing).

But when someone you've been friends with since 3rd grade says they miss being your friend, you listen. So we're going to do stuff more out and about. Going to force me to be more social - and sometimes I need that. (And I know it!)

So last night, we went to Cafe Crepe. Now, I've been craving crepes for about a month now, and this place does them very well at a very reasonable price. Much higher quality and a better experience than the normal mall-type crepe places that are popping up everywhere lately, and it's great because it feels so much fancier. The staff seats customers, and there are servers, which makes the whole experience feel a little more upscale.

So we started just having savory "dinner" crepes. Emma, I think, had a ham & swiss cheese crepe, and I did the same but with the addition of mushrooms. (I needed some sort of vegetable in my meal. I like them a lot and I still don't eat enough.) I would have preferred spinach, but Emma was very adamant in reminding me that I wasn't impressed with the spinach last time I was there. I also had a really lovely green apple Italian soda. I love how you get the carbonation, the customized flavours, and it feels terrible for me than a normal pop. Plus, not too many places carry them so I tend to be inclined to indulge when I see them.

As far as the savory crepe went, I think I'd give it a B -. Not my favourite, but I enjoyed it. So the crepes come out, and they do triangles there, rather than wraps, which I like. The folded crepe just feels more authentic to me, whether it is or not. I kinda cheated, starting at the corner where all the best, gooey-est bits are ... but I know I never finish what I order and I wasn't leaving that bit untouched.

As far as the crepe itself, I found it overly sweet. There was enough sugar in the batter that things tasted a little bit off having that with savory fillings, but I was able to ignore it. I love how they do a super thinly sliced ham, just spread over the in layers. The first time I ordered it I expected it to be chunky and was rather shocked how much I enjoyed the thin slices. It works so well. The ham is cut thin enough to feel as if it melts in your mouth, but just barely thick enough to have texture. Then there's the lovely, gooey swiss cheese sprinkled on top of that, melting in between every layer. Actually, I might have reduced the cheese amount just a touch.

Really, the issue that pulls the crepe from being a strong B is the mushrooms. I wish that Crepe Cafe treated their vegetables better. I love me a veggie in my crepe. I didn't really feel like I had a veggie in my crepe, which kinda pissed me off because I paid an extra $1.25 for the shrooms. It was maybe a dozen tiny slices of mushrooms scattered throughout.

What I would have done had I made them? First off, I would have loaded up the crepe with a pile of mushrooms. There should have been as much mushroom as ham in every bite. I also would have done something with the mushrooms - sauted them up a little bit, seasoned them, instead of just tossing them on top.

The thing is, I didn't go to Crepe Cafe for the dinner crepe. I went for the dessert crepe.

It's the simplest thing ever. I had the lemon crepe. Lemon juice and sugar on a crepe. You wouldn't think it would be much of anything special, but I swear this crepe is heaven. The way each bite is the perfect pillow of thin, carby, crepe-y goodness with this lovely tart lemon flavour and just enough sugar to mellow out the acid. This crepe is one of the most delicious things I have ever consumed. It's so simple and yet everything just melds together into the perfect mouthfuls over delight.

It's not my favourite restaurant by any stretch of the imagination. (I mean, I'm not having my wedding there and I didn't get engaged there). But it is the single best crepe place I have ever eaten at, and I am constantly wanting to go back.

Price wise it's pretty perfect, too. A twenty was dinner, dessert, my drink and tip. More expensive than other crepe places, but not by much, and part of what you're paying for is the experience.

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