Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Portland, Oregon, July 17, 2012—
QUINTESSENTIALLY FRENCH, though not the least Parisian, the crêpe is one of those perfect dishes — though God knows it can be abused: for example, with Nutella, or pineapple, or bananas. There are of course fine sweet crêpes; the Suzette perhaps best among them. But I like the savory ones best.

I've found three perfect crêperies: a cart that used to stand on the Boulevard St. Michel at the entrance to the Luxembourg Gardens; a restaurant-style place up on Montmartre, also in Paris; and Chez Erik, a truck that parked on the beach in Papeete. At all three I always ordered my favorite: épinards-oeuf-gruyère, spinach with grated Gruyère and an egg, cooked on the crêpe-iron, the buckwheat batter poured over it, then turned, the cooked spinach spooned on top, and the circular crêpe finally brought to a square by folding its rim four times toward the center.

Did those places drizzle crème fraîche across the top of the finished crêpe? Aucune idée. A crêpe hardly needs it, seems to me; but it's a nice touch.

Years ago a nice little place opened in San Francisco, with the charmingly Breton name Ty Couz: haven't been there in years; don't know if it's still there, or if it's held up. Even further back, Lindsey and I used to walk down to the other end of our block, on Francisco Street, to visit David and Alice, who cooked delicious crêpes; then the four of us would walk back up to our apartment, where Lindsey would make a delicious dessert — and so was born Chez Panisse, according to one version.

Tonight's crêpe was quartered rather than squared, as you see. It was light and delicate, I thought, and beautifully balanced inside. I'd have preferred the egg a little more runny, and incorporated inside the crêpe, but I'm not complaining. This is a good place.
Lillet Spritzer (Lillet, Herbsaint, Cava: sparkly and refreshing: a rich man's cider)
Suzette Crêperie, 3342 Southeast Belmont Street, Portland; 503.546.0892

No comments: