If there was ever a crêpe-eating contest, I would win, hands down. This is ironic considering I gave my parents considerable side-eye during a childhood trip to the Magic Pan in Boston. The magic was indeed lost on me at the time, and I thought crêpes were weird.
That all changed when I fell in love with crêpes last year, and I owe it all to the mobile crêperie cleverly named Crêpe Elizabeth. It serves traditional French crêpes, and there’s something about their paper-thin perfection that I find immensely satisfying.
Crêpe Elizabeth typically sets up shop at breweries, festivals, public parks (seasonally) and local businesses, including mine, in the Greater Portland area. I can hear the crêperie before I see and smell their creations, as it is always playing music that you’d expect to hear coming from a Parisian coffeehouse in the 1930s.
Crêpe Elizabeth offers three sweet and three savory varieties, plus daily specials, all for $7. The regular menu includes La Complete (traditional crêpe with cage-free egg, spiral ham and cheese) on the savory side and the Fluffah Nuttah (peanut butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips and marshmallow, dusted with powdered sugar) on the sweet side. Life in the sugar-free lane keeps me away from the sweet ones, but boy does that Fluffah Nuttah sound divine – plus, it has the added bonus of being really fun to say. I have enjoyed the savory sensation of La Complete probably about four times in the past year, including in December at a Thompson’s Point event.
The last time Crêpe Elizabeth set up shop at my office’s cafe, I decided to branch out and order one of the daily specials. I mean honestly, how could anyone of the meat-eating persuasion not want the Reuben crêpe? It was as delicious as it sounds, and at one point, I had to take a bite and walk away, as that was the only way I could stop myself from inhaling it faster than you can say Eiffel Tower. The holy trinity of ingredients – corned beef, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese – seemed to enjoy being tucked within the folds of the hot-off-the-griddle crêpe.
I also ordered a cup of soup that I was fairly certain I wouldn’t like. I was wrong. The white bean and rosemary hit the spot with just the right amount of flavor. It also was there right when I needed it, at the moment when I felt a pang of despair over having swallowed my last bite of crêpe. Speaking of which, and I say this carefully because I suspect several people with smaller appetites won’t agree, but I think the crêpes could be a skosh bigger. Not much, perhaps 10 or 15 percent more filling. But keep in mind, this is coming from the gal who said she could win a crêpe-eating contest.
Now, about those dessert crêpes. As luck would have it, a work friend ordered the Funke crêpe (bananas, chocolate chips, pretzels, marshmallows). Turns out she also struggled with eating hers slowly. “I wanted to savor the Funke, but before I knew it, my crepe was finished … much too soon,” she told me. Girl, do I feel that pain! She also said the first bite was sheer delight because nowhere else could a person get that rush of melty chocolate chips and marshmallows with nutritious bananas and the salty crunch of pretzels. “The Funke was just enough to satisfy that little craving for a bit of sweet.”
Crêpe Elizabeth will be at the Strong Women Summit on Friday at Evo Rock + Fitness in Portland and at the Maker’s Market at Thompson Point’s Brick South Building on Sunday. You can also find it at Goodfire Brewing on Feb. 16. Keep an eye on its whereabouts on the calendar page at crepeelizabeth.me.
WHERE: Greater Portland, rotating locations; (207) 808-0039, www.crepeelizabeth.me and on Facebook
WAIT: Less than 5 minutes when there’s no line
PARKING: Depends on location
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Depends on location