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Not So Ooh-La-La

Crispy CrÊpes Is Good, But Too American

By Ruby Lam

Crispy CrÊpes CafÉ

512A Park Drive

Boston, MA 02215

(617) 859-9585

The best crÊpe I have had in my life was the one I bought at a street stall near an open market in Paris many years ago. Nothing fancy really, the crÊpe was just topped with nutella and banana. But the crÊpe was thin, crisp on the outside with pieces of thinly sliced banana covered with melted nutella in the inside. Wrapped in a piece of parchment paper, I ate it while walking on the rainy sidewalks in the streets of Paris during the springtime. It was a truly memorable experience. Ever since I came back, I have always wanted to relive it.

However, finding a good crÊpe place in Boston is not as easy as it seems. True, there are some crÊperies around the area, but they don’t offer the authentic Parisian style crÊpes. When I used to work near the Galleria, I’d get crÊpes for lunch from the Paris CrÊperie in the Galleria food court.

However, having burrito-style filling in a thick piece of crÊpe shell just doesn’t do the trick.

Also, like most servings in America, the portion for the fillings is just too generous, so generous that it becomes too overwhelming for the crÊpe itself. And the crÊpe has become another kind of burrito shell rather than an authentic French crÊpe.

In addition to the Paris CrÊperie on Charles Street in Beacon Hill and in the Galleria, I recently discovered another small crÊpe place near Brookline, Crispy CrÊpe CafÉ, located in the heart of a group of BU dorms. This place is small though; it can fit fewer than 10 people. It used to be just a crÊperie but they have recently added pasta, salads and eggs to their menu, which is great for the BU students nearby, but I usually go there just for crÊpes.

For sweet crÊpe fillings, in addition to nutella, chocolate and banana, you can have coconut shavings, toasted almonds, sliced apples, glazed strawberries, and apple sauce. For savory crÊpe fillings, you can have almost anything you want -- turkey, tomato, spinach, cheese, roasted mushroom, zucchini, bacon, ham, etc. The crÊpes are filled with so much fillings that one crÊpe is a full meal.

Though there are many crÊperies in Boston, I still miss the crÊpe I had in Paris. The French treats crÊpes as a snack, not a complete meal. The crÊpe shell itself should be the highlight, not the filling. On the other hand, the American version of crÊpes serves like a piece of tortilla or bread. It acts as a shell to wrap around the fillings. I have yet to find a crÊperie in Boston that serve authentic French crÊpes. If you know one, please let me know. Or will I have to return to the rainy sidewalks in Paris to relive the experience?