La Crêpière – simple pleasures and twee Parisian decor

I’ve passed by this crepe place, nestled right next to my favourite bookstore for far too long without ducking in to see if the taste was as good as the always-inviting smells of seared vanilla that emanated onto the street.

The menu is classic and clean, offering a decent array of both sweet and savoury crepe-things – all quite simple and quite affordable, ranging from about 5-10$.  They DO also have a kind of table d’hote that involves 1 crepe + 1 tea/coffee + one verrine dessert, which def. sounds nice, but on that morning it was a low-appetite kinda vibe, so we just went with one crepe each, and a lot of coffee.

I ordered the crêpe pêcheur (with tuna, olives, anchovies, tomatoe sauce & cheese), and Cloudy a Crêpe with apples and walnuts – both on buckwheat, of course!  How Breton, sha sha.

They came quickly and adorably folded, mine with a little attempt at a salad, and his with a bit of fruit, which was nice.  The crepes themselves were tangy, and very crispy on the edges, and I found the filling in mine to be a bit overly salty (anchovies!  but you know), and the amalgam not quite anything beyond the basic ingredients involved, but tasty enough for a light breakfast.  Cloudy muchly enjoyed his, and especially after requesting some maple syrup to slather on top, to add a much-needed touch of sauciness and sweet.  (It’s worth noting that the apples were cooked perfectly and the walnuts were toasted).  They obliged very nicely and didn’t charge for it, and I’ve also heard you can replace the nutella listed on the menu with real dark chocolate, if you so desire.

One thing to note about this place.  It is KITSCH TO THE EXTREME ZOMG.  Ha, and in the best, most quaint bed & breakfast kinda way.  Every inch is decorated to the nines in adorable knick knacks, and it does feel like a breezy oasis in the middle of St-Viateur.  It also seemed pretty popular with families and friends alike, lots of turnover and well-behaved kids maybe out with uncles and cousins and such on a quiet sunday.  Nice atmosphere.

Not the best crêpes in the world, obviously, but I liked it, and certainly cheap enough.

La Crepiere on Citeeze

La Crêpière on Urbanspoon

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comfy noshing Polish-style at Euro Deli Batory

Euro Deli Batory is the kind of place that’s going to make this upcoming winter worthwhile.  What better way to bundle up against the winds than with steaming, groaning plates of sausage, potato, cream and spices in a place painted red and wooden?  Done completely authentically and sold for as cheap as any regular sandwich, this place is going to be my sweater, slightly more stylish than a reindeer-knit but only just slightly.  There is, after all, a giant woollen eagle decorating this place like a guardian of your Polish auntie’s rec room.  Amazing.

If you need Hunter’s stew, sausage, potato dumplings, pierogies, mustard, sour cream, Montreal-style coleslaw, salad and cabbage roll in tomato butter sauce all on a big plate (swirl that fork through the tangy sauces… SWIRL IT!  :D), than I recommend the Polish Plate (or, in our case, a generous 1/2 plate for 9.75-ish$).  Not the kind of thing I would recommend finishing alone unless you’re hungry, but then again, if you’re hungry it’s perfect.

On the side – a nice little light snack, and a new offering at the Deli – a bundle of the most tender spinach and cheese crepes ever in an awesome buttery sauce (8$).  Sproingy crepes and zingy fillings, totally a winner, and also with vegetables for health.  They also have versions with bacon and cheese, and sweet crepes with fruits and cheese for the same price, prolly also Mmmamazing.  (pronounced “Ma-mazing, ie; delish way of expressing astonishment, now you know).

I came back the next day (!!), with a newly empty stomach to try the Flaki – a traditional Polish soup, swimming thick with ethereal swathes of beef tripe (MMMM!) in a smooth and warming broth reminiscent of a healing chicken soup, but thicker and spiced heavily with nutmeg, paprika, marjoram and pepper.  Euro Deli’s version was a tad salty, but otherwise fantastic and especially with bits of buttered rye bread dipped into it.  Winter?  Fah!  We will win winter.  We will win winter with soup.  Rarr!  (4.75$, I think).

Oh and specifically favourited things tried so far?  The sausage is snappy, the cabbage is deep dark and moreish, the cabbage roll is addictive, and the slaw is some of my favourite straight-up coleslaw in the city.  The pierogies I found to be hit and miss (there are 3: Meat: a bit like rillettes; Potato/onion: not distinctive; Cheese; melty fatty goodness), and the potato dumplings are not as good as some gnocci I’ve had, but like, whatever, it’s all good and you know you want it, especially slathered with that Hunter’s stew.

I come to enjoy the top 40 hits.  I come to enjoy the hilarious service that has forgotten my coffee every single time and to hear the neighbourhood thrive (locals, hipsters, geezers and travellers convening to talk about politics and deli meats).  I basically still have the whole menu to eat through, though, and I haven’t even tried the sweets yet.  Polish cheesecaaaaaake!  Eeek.

Euro Deli Batory on Citeeze

Euro-Deli Batory on Urbanspoon

Sautéed Apple & Cheddar Crepes for a stormy Sunday

 

Hurricane Irene passed through Quebec this weekend, demoted along it’s way to a “tropical storm”, but still chilling and blustery enough to make brunch the only sensible option for a bunch of skids on a cozy Sunday morning.  Cloudscapes came over early to make crepes, and after braving the icy rains for some apples and cream, we headed on to the kitchen to get the butter-sugar-flour-eggs-vanilla from the cupboard to find….. butter-sugar-flour-eggs-vanilla already laid out and toasty morning-pan smells coming from our rickety stove and wafting back through the hall.  Room-mates/great minds thinking so alike!  They were making sparkle-cakes, though.  Ie; pancakes doused liberally with good cheer and party sprinkles.

It wasn’t much work to throw together a reliable crepe batter – Alton Brown’s does the trick – cook some fruit up with maple syrup and whip up a bit of fresh cream, and soon breakfast was served.  Eeeeek!  Finally.  Starved by then, and happy to see that the sangria could be enjoyed alongside straight white wine, since it was after 3 PM by the time we sat down!  Aha!

A little Balderson cheddar goes a long way…..

Basic Crepes

Recipe by Alton Brown

makes 17-22 crepes

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar or maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons liqueur (optional)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • butter, for coating the pan

In a blender combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce (2-3 tablespoons) of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

Sauteed Apples

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large cooking apples (Granny Smith or Yellow Delicious are nice)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey or golden syrup
  • generous grating of fresh nutmeg
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • zest of half a lemon

Cook butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to brown.  Add apples and sauté until tender, about 9 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients; stir to blend. Cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Putting it All Together…

  • grated sharp white cheddar
  • syrup
  • icing sugar
  • whipped cream and chocolate (if you feel like going over the top… we did this but I don’t think it was necessary)

Preheat your oven to broil.

Take a crepe and spoon some of the hot apples into the center.  Top with a small handful of cheese and broil until the cheese is just melted through, then fold up any way you like and top with your favourite things.