Crepes de Paris - Irvine
Never underestimate the power of suggestion. We just happened to run into the Crepes Bonaparte truck--the closest thing OC has to a Food Network celebrity after that Great Food Truck Race show--while it was parked on a random side street in Downtown Fullerton. And that was it: we needed, wanted, craved, demanded crepes for dessert.
The problem is that we were headed somewhere else for dinner. Somewhere not far from it, across the parking lot actually, where we were still able to see the truck serving a brisk and steady stream of customers from our seat. But it was too far away to run after it when it suddenly left before we finished our supper.
To be fair, it didn't just decide to retreat on a whim. Checking their Twitter afterward confirmed that they cooked their last crepe at exactly at 8 p.m., just when they said they would.
But its departure now left us with a crepes-for-dessert mission; a mission to satisfy a jones that no other dessert could fulfill--not frozen yogurt, not Strickland's ice cream, not cake. We desired nothing but a crepe, made hot and thin in front of our eyes, oozing with Nutella, bananas, covered under a furious flurry of powdered sugar, and served as a folded triangular envelope. Dollop of whipped cream, optional.
This is how we found ourselves at a Crepes de Paris at Diamond Jamboree in Irvine--one of a few non-Asian eateries at the decidedly very Asian plaza--and ordering exactly this. Inside, chick-lit cartoon drawings flitted about the walls like it was actually animated. A very nice woman took our order. Ours would be the last one of the night, she said. She relayed it to her partner, a man in the back whom I spied through a window where the crepe griddles were hot and visible.
He poured onto them a ladle-full of batter. His wooden squeegee swirled it around to spread the off-white liquid wide and thin. After a minute, he flipped it with a skinny spatula, revealing a browned, mottled reverse-leopard-spot disc of our soon-to-be-dessert. On one quadrant, a fistful of sliced bananas and a copious drizzle of Nutella went on. Then with two quick folds and a powdered-sugar and chocolate shower, our crepe was done.
Witnessing our crepe's birth was just as essential to the enjoyment as eating it.
We took it outside to the courtyard full of patio tables and chairs, where others were sinking teeth into 85C Bakery's breads. Our crepe we tore up ravenously--a slightly thick stock, chewy with a playful rubbery pull, Nutella turning into sauce, sugar melting into it, and banana slices lost somewhere in the milieu.
It was good, not earth-shattering, but exactly what we needed at the moment we needed it.
Now it must be said, I don't recall ever buying a crepe in my life until now. I have always made my crepes. Of all things in the Larousse Gastronomique, it is arguably the easiest dish to accomplish with nothing but common ingredients (flour, butter, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, and salt) I always have laying around.
So after paying the almost $7 toll for the treat, I'm still of the opinion that when it comes to this basic banana-Nutella model, the economics is wholly in my favor if I continue to make them myself. I've yet to sample their more elaborate versions.
But I won't rule out surrendering more money for even the bare-bones ones if the mood should strike, especially if that Crepes Bonaparte truck sashays in front of us again and plants the idea that we must have it that instant like DiCaprio in Inception. I think it has something to do with those irresistibly hilarious outfits they wear.
Crepes De Paris
2710 Alton Pkwy. Ste 125
Irvine, CA 92606
Update: As an extra topping to this post, I'm adding the Will Ferrell/Sacha Baron Cohen crepe scene from Talladega Nights. Thanks to Anonymous and digkv for bringing this up in the comments section!
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