Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crêpe Attack

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that last week I had a serious craving for crêpes. They've been missing from my diet ever since I moved back to the U.S. in August and I guess I just couldn't take it anymore. All I could think about was that light, fluffy dough warm off the griddle and made just the way I like it: with beurre and sucre. Cassonade if it's available. Luckily, this craving has a very simple solution in Washington, DC: There is a fabulous crêpe stand at Eastern Market that has just what you're looking for. With a beautiful forecast in store for Saturday, I made plans to head out in the early afternoon and treat myself to a snack, French style.

I tried making crêpes at home once, but it was a total disaster. I don't know if it was because I didn't follow the recipe correctly, or didn't have the appropriate pan, or didn't have the technique down, though I think it was a combination of the three. Add in the fact that I'm not French and it's no wonder I failed on my first try. Living in France taught me nothing if it didn't teach me that Frenchmen and women have an almost instinctual knowledge of crêpe making. They know the recipe by heart, they have the right tools (a flat pan, well greased), they know when and how to flip it so it doesn't tear or land on the floor. Basically, they're crêpe experts. I mean, making crêpes looks like it should be easy, kind of like making pancakes. But the truth is that it takes skills. Making crêpes is an art; an art I'd rather leave up to the French. And the guys at Eastern Market.

After wandering the market and finally making my way to the crêpe stand, I noticed that everyone in DC had the same idea I had. The line was crazy long! With the hottest sun of the year beating down on me, I didn't feel much like waiting, craving notwithstanding. Disappointment was ready to set in until my eyes caught a sign for a sorbet stand. For $4 I could get a heaping serving of cool and refreshing pineapple peach sorbet without waiting in line. It was a no-brainer. And while the sorbet was everything I hoped it would be (cool, refreshing, tasty), I have to admit that the craving is still hanging around. I might have to brush off my crêpe-flipping skills, after all.



7 comments:

Karen said...

Not advertising here, but there is an awesome "store-bought" crepe mix from your home state. Check out Sturdiwheat Crepe Mix from Red Wing, MN at your grocery store. I have found that a real crepe pan helps immensely, as does a very large spatula.

Tanya said...

@Karen, I'm always wanting to hear of great things coming out of my home state. And a yummy Red Wing crepe mix sounds right up my alley! I wonder if they sell it in DC...

pat said...

Haha I agree with what you wrote about the instinctual knowledge of Frenchmen. I hosted a French girl in my flat two years ago, and she was just able to make crepes with my worn-out pan and whatever ingredients she found in my fridge. The flour, which was a Chinese brand, was bought somewhere in the wet market. Finally we had crepes with eggs, cabbages and sugar. :D

Zhu said...

I'm from Brittany, so even though I don't miss crêpes too bad, I like the dish a lot.

Can't make them myself... it's a disaster every time. I used to have a French friend who had a crêpe machine; but he left to Mexico.

I found crêpes in Canada were more like expensive pancakes...

Lou said...

Mmmmm, banana neutella. I would eat these for every meal if I could. There is an amazing stand on a semi pedestrian street near Av Bosquet that I stopped at several times last time in Paris. Good post TB's, it also brings back memories of the crepe party at the college...sweet (not savory) memories!

Anonymous said...

I just want to tell you that I absolutely love your blog! I am an American studying here in Paris for a couple of months, and I am so glad that stumbled upon your this little Parisian treasure!

Tanya said...

I'm glad you're enjoying my blog! And I hope you're having a fabulous time as a student in Paris. It's a great place to be. Enjoy!