Crepes Bonaparte - Orange County
It has been a year since Crepes Bonaparte rolled out to prove that you can, indeed, do crepes out of a truck and make it a viable business. Of course, some of it has to do with the instant celebrity status that comes from being a contestant on The Great Food Truck Race.
That they were eliminated somewhere in the middle of the Food Network series doesn't matter. The fact that the show did wonders to their concept is obvious. When I finally ran into the truck today in Irvine, owners Christian or Danielle Murcia weren't in it. Their signature berets were now worn by two dudes who I assume were employees they've hired.
Their formula, however, remains the same, and it is one that is identical to any crepe maker, and I don't mean the batter. Crepes Bonaparte knows the most essential part of a crepe is that the customer must bear witness to the creation. You can gild your end product in white truffles and fairy dust, but if the customer isn't seeing it, the customer isn't buying it.
Crepes Bonaparte's truck, unlike others, has low slung windows that you can see the whole process: batter being squeezed out of squirt bottles, wooden squeegees twirling in Zamboni circles to spread, skinny spatulas flipping the thin mottled membrane of pancakes over into half moons. Grated cheese finally goes on. Then meat, egg, or what ever must be laid on top before the two corners are brought together to hug the filling in an embrace of the crispy and the browned. You see your crepes from conception to consumption.
We took the Ranchero, an egg, cheddar, grilled onion and bell pepper filling goosed by a tart chipotle, and the Baby Bleu, a crepe filled with white meat chicken in snowy chunks, crumbles of bleu cheese, spinach and a squirt or two of raspberry vinaigrette. The structural integrity of both, um, sandwiches, succumbed to the weight and dampening might of their cargo.
The Baby Bleu, with its heavier load, was more than too much for the pliant pancake to contain. Picking it up meant losing some of the filling. The Ranchero was better able to be hand-held but not by much. We resorted to a knife and fork on both. Crepes, as it turns out, is kind of a wuss when it comes to being used as a wrapping medium.
But it is this delicateness that makes Crepes Bonaparte's classic Nutella and banana a better application for the crepe. The triangle tears easier than wetted tissue, apt to be drug across whipped cream. The supple nature of the pancake covering the mating of chocolate hazelnut spread and bananas like a blanket over two lovers.
THIS WEEK ON OC WEEKLY:
Renzo's A Taste of Peru - Irvine