“Mon dieu! J’ai une romance douce-amère avec ces crêpes fantastiques!”
It was sometime around noon last week when I stood up in the middle of the Creperie and European Café, 2839 S. Douglas Blvd. in Midwest City, and announced to the few surrounding patrons—in perfect French, mind you—this beautiful realization of my newfound queen of hearts.
True, it was a mildly embarrassing euphoric rush of Francophile proportions that came over me, but as I engaged in flagrante delectable with my first-ever taste of crepes—first of the sweet, then of the savory—Gitanes-smoking angels puffed away and played a Gainsbourg tune overhead for me on their harps, eyes full of holy jealousy as I lovingly caressing an edible piece of Europe in this small Oklahoma café.
The Creperie and European Café is an unassuming eatery, located on the tail-end of a strip-mall in AWACS country, one that would be easy to pass on by if you weren’t looking for it. But this day, I was very much looking for it and what I found was a sacred cache of cross-continental eats, orchestrated by a Ukrainian owner with a culinary knowledge that is practically a Eurorail ticket across the entire landmass.
My hungry travelogue started with a Traditional Shepherd’s Pie ($9.95), which was preambled with a bowl of cabbage, chicken and potato soup. The server told me that it came from a customer’s suggestion and made only a couple of hours prior. Warm and nourishing, I’ve always enjoyed cabbage and felt like it is an underrated and underused ingredient in soups and stews that only Eastern Europeans have truly bothered to master.
The Shepherd’s Pie, graciously, was a wholly traditional taste the came out in a very hot dish—watch those fingers—and was covered in an orange blanket of crestfallen cheese. Carefully peeking under the sheet, however, was a heady compilation of mashed potatoes, beef, onions, peas and carrots. It was undeniably a hearty English dinner that, on this cold and windy day, warmed me up to my very cockles.
But these crepes…ooh-la-la, these crepes! I wish I knew what I know now about them. Anytime I had even heard of crepes in the past, it was always drunken sailor’s tales of the oh-so-sweet kind, so that’s what I started out with…and garçon, were they right.
The choice Nutella and Banana Crepe ($4.95) was positively rambunctious, like a Parisian bordello. With powdered sugar lightly dusted across the thin pancake-like sheath, it could barely contain the fresh bananas and famed hazelnut spread inside; a perfect combination for a lunch like this, the brown paste momentarily smeared across my lips and chin, leaving me a satisfied customer.
But it wasn’t until I cut into the immemorial BBQ Chicken with Smoked Gouda and Sauteed Onion Crepe ($6.95) that I learned what érotisme culinaire truly was, a delectable mélange of savory flavors, brought together under this seductive wrapping, the rounded sides bursting open with each helping.
The chicken, with just a touch of barbecue sauce, was entirely brilliant, the smoked Gouda and the sautéed onions adding a heartbreaking coda to this exquisite French wrap—I dreamed a dream and it came true this day. Satisfied with the Creperie and all it had to offer, I cast my used plates off to the floor, cocked my black beret to the side and, under my breath, whispered “Achetez-le maintenant!”