In San Francisco, I fell in love with crepes at a place on Polk Street called the Crepe House. There, my sister introduced me to the Miami Heat crepe, filled with cheddar cheese, chicken breast, avocado, scallions and homemade hot sauce. I was hooked.
But on my return to Tampa Bay, I became keenly aware of a crepe-specific void in my brunch menu. Enter La Creperia Café.
I admit I’d never dined on one of the crepes from their food truck at the Saturday Morning Market or their original sit-down restaurant in Ybor. The food truck line was always too long, and Ybor City was always too far to go on a weekend morning, at least for a St. Pete resident like myself.
Then, inside a shiny Airstream trailer on Central Avenue, retrofitted with a kitchen made just for crepe construction, I found my salvation.
On a late Saturday morning, La Creperia really ought to be packed. There is ample non-street parking, always a plus at a downtown restaurant. The Airstream is attatched to a wooden patio with shaded tables, benches, and chairs. With Mr. Doom, my sister, and toddler-aged niece in tow, we pored over La Creperia’s pocket-sized yet humongous menu. There are 81 items to be exact, and 66 of them are crepes with names like the Mona Lisa, Romeo y Julieta, and Evita.
The task of deciding on just one is too daunting, so we order five.
The Marie Antoinette comes filled with Nutella, topped with fresh strawberries and bananas, drizzled in Bailey’s liqueur. The only thing that could make it possibly more decadent would be an automatically filled diamond-encrusted champagne flute. The whipped cream is fresh, so fresh that it can only handle a few seconds in the scathing Florida sunshine.
Certainly for our near-3-year-old, pancakes topped with whipped cream and chocolate should have been like manna from heaven. Yet the combination was too good to be true for the tiny lass, and she found herself drawn more to the simple aspects of La Basic. Composed of eggs, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, and ham, La Basic is an all-encompassing breakfast plate. The crepe is made from whole wheat flour and garnished with a really lovely side salad of romaine, tomato, cucumber, olive oil and cracked pepper.
The Blintz oozed sweet ricotta, raspberry jam and sour cream. Made with baker’s flour and topped with whipped cream and just a sprinkle of powdered sugar, it’s everything you want a sweet crepe to be and so much more.
The Diva comes with chestnut cream and banana. Chestnut cream, or crème de marron, is a preserve made from puréed chestnuts, brown sugar and vanilla. It's very much like almond or cashew butter, but with a sweet and elegant edge.
In memory of our favorite West Coast crepe, my sister and I go for the Southwest. Filled with two kinds of cheese, eggs, guacamole, jalapeños, and tomatoes and topped with thick sour cream, it’s as close to the Miami Heat as we’ve found. The crepe and eggs meld into a crispy but tender exterior, giving way to an inside rich with fresh guacamole.
There are plenty of coffee drinks, but no beer or wine like their Ybor location (we hope this will change soon). Crepes are heartily sized, like a giant slice of pizza, but more than an inch thick. Everything on the menu (for the most part) is under $10. Most of the crepes run $4-$9, and one is enough to have your fill and possibly a take-home box.
I may have left my heart in San Francisco, but I found it once again at La Creperia Café.
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