Sunday, October 31, 2010

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
(949) 727-2096

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!

Bari Bari Japanese BBQ - Tustin


At 12:15 AM, Blogger brekkie_fan said...

Next time you are craving crepes (and not wanting to make them yourself), hike over to La Creperie Cafe in Long Beach. I know, not OC, but I think the best in a 30 mile radius.

At 6:23 AM, Blogger Bill said...

LOL talk about serious craving and hell yeah that's fugin pricey. Imagine how many In-Out cheese burgers you can get;-)

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

The power of suggestion: when I was 17, I stayed up to read one of my two novels selected for my AP English term paper. Anna Karenina. About halfway through the book one of the characters mentioned eating pancakes. And 4 hours later, at 4:30 a.m., when I finished the book, I went to IHOP and got pancakes. Amazing what can worm its way into your brain and not let go.

So yeah. Crepes. I've never had one in my life, but I imagine if my choices are a) drive to Long Beach; b) chase down a food truck; or c) spend $7, then when I do decide to try them, it will be at home. ;)

At 10:00 AM, Blogger digkv said...

Shame you missed out on Crepes Bonaparte, their crepes are pretty good. Much more successful than at Crepes de Paris, and cheaper too!

At 11:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crepes? A fancy name for skinny pancakes.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger digkv said...

Melissa: Making crepes is great but I think you should also try it out at a proper place if you have the chance. There's a difference with crepes cooked in a proper crepe pan that gives it the proper amount of caramalization and everything.

Anon: don't you mean really really thin pancakes? always reminds me of ricky bobby.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

brekkie fan,

Believe or not, I was already researching La Creperie as I wrote this post. Now, *THAT* is a crepe shop!


Three! Three cheeseburgers!


With your skills, you can whip up crepes with one eye closed, a hand tied behind your back.


Oh yes! I'm still looking forward to rendezvousing with Crepes Bonaparte. Now if only my schedule and theirs can criss cross just once!

Anon and DigKV,

I totally forgot about that scene! There were so many great moments in that movie. But that one, I have to say, takes the cake, or should I say, pancake!

At 10:53 AM, Blogger PapaKaster said...

I love crepes, my grandmother is French-Canadian and used to make from scratch when I was a kid. I don't think I have a good crepe since then but will have to give this place a try.

At 10:52 PM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Wow, that's pricey for a crepe! I haven't had one in a long time. I've tried to make crepes at home, it didn't really work out but I should try it again someday...what recipe do you use?

At 4:46 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I'd say this was a good, honest, and decent crepe. Of course, I've only had these and then my own. I'm partial to the ones I make (especially the cost). And I'm sure mine can't hold a candle to your grandmother's!


Alton Brown's recipe is a good one that I refer to. The trick is a flat griddle or a wide skillet. I've been meaning to make myself one of those squeegee thingies. A wooden chopstick with another wooden chopstick drilled into the middle might work nicely!

At 8:30 PM, Blogger digkv said...


I'm surprised that your love for chow didn't make you post their how-to vid on making crepes:

I prefer this recipe to alton brown's since it contains more milk and no water. But still gotta say, making crepes at home sure is delicious but it really requires someone trained to make crepes and a proper crepe pan to get that deliciousness that a true crepe is. Of course, I'm talking about the restrained kind of crepe that just has sugar and butter and maybe lemon or cinnamon. Once you put nutella and bananas and strawberries in anything, it all tastes the same, sure it's orgasmically good sameness but it's still this monotony that makes me think the crepe could be replaced with potatoes and still taste good.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Thanks! I've never seen that before! And I love the "You're Doing It Wrong" series. It's better than a lot of Food Network's stuff these days.


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