It was late morning on a recent Thursday when I rose from my desk and proclaimed to no one in particular that I was going to sashay over to Sip of Europe. Sip of Europe is pretty much on the base of Munjoy Hill in that block or two of businesses that include LB Kitchen, Ramen Suzukiya, Ferdinand Home Store and Otto pizza, among other cool spots.
It’s an unassuming spot with just enough European flair to have its name make sense, and it’s owned and run by a woman named Yulia. That’s all it said on the business card I grabbed off the counter, and that was good enough for me. The world has Madonna and Cher, and now it has Yulia. Sip of Europe opened over a year ago, and I sure hope it’s doing well because the crepe I had was pretty life-changing. More on that in a moment.
Yulia, as far as I’m concerned, is a total rock star because Sip of Europe not only offers a wide array of sweet and savory crepes, you can get sangria, mulled wine and milkshakes in three sizes (small, medium and large are $3.50 to $4.50). One of them is called a True Mainer and has blueberry jam and maple syrup in it. For $5.55, if you’re of age, Yulia will even whip you up a port wine milkshake.
But let’s get back to the cornerstone of Sip of Europe: crepes. As I’ve mentioned in Eat & Run reviews before, I abstain from eating sugar, so the sweet crepes were off limits to me, but they sure looked tempting. The chocolate dream is made with cocoa batter and has chocolate chips in between the layers. It’s then decorated with chocolate sauce, condensed milk and whipped cream. The menu suggests you order it with strawberries and banana. This all sounds like a divine way to part with $5.95, as does something called Lemon Power, made with freshly squeezed lemon juice and powdered sugar for $4.95. It’s the eatery’s best-seller and of course makes me nostalgic for Lemon Coolers, a favorite cookie of my childhood.
I was there for lunch, anyway, so the savory menu was what I was seeking. The savory crepes range in price from $5.25 to $6.45, and there are several add-ons, including crumbled goat cheese, pesto, capers and bacon pieces, which you can order á la carte to jazz up your crepe exactly the way you want it. The third one on the list is where I landed, and for $5.95, I ordered myself a Mustard of Roast Beef served with melted mozzarella and Dijon mustard. I repaired to a table by the window, knocked back a few swigs of Diet Coke and a few minutes later, Yulia put a thing of beauty on my table. I gazed in awe at the perfectly cooked creation then woke from my reverie and dove right in.
From the moment fork met mouth, my taste buds felt as a symphony was being played just for them; it was glorious. It took every effort I could muster to not inhale this marvelous creation without stopping to savor every flash of succulent flavor, but I managed to slow myself down enough to truly appreciate every morsel of this incredible crepe. Could I have eaten two of them? Sure, but was the one enough? Also yes.
Meanwhile, a young man had come into Sip of Europe while I was eating and soon after, a milkshake was delivered to his table. I did what I had to do. I got up and walked over to him and asked him what it was. His name was Jake, and it was the chai milkshake, which he told me was delicious. I asked if I could snap a photo of it, and he obliged my request and also let me return a few minutes later when his amazing looking Italian Fiesta crepe arrived. I snapped the shots, then before leaving, asked Jake to summarize his lunch. “Everything about this meal was exactly what I wanted on my lunch break. The crepe was excellent, and I’ll be bringing a lot of people here,” he told me. Needless to say, I’m with Jake 100 percent on this. Yulia, you and your crepes rock, and I can’t wait to get back there.
WHERE: 229 Congress St., Portland. sipofeurope.com
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
WAIT: About 10 minutes
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: There’s about a 4-inch step up to get into the front door.