Sunday, July 15, 2007

Crêpe du Jour

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort! It's Bastille Day, y'all! At least it was yesterday anyway. And I set my sights on French food. One problem: most French restaurants are scarily expensive, so my sights were set more on a crêperie. And I know of a few good ones in the city. There's Sofi's Crepes, right on the other side of the Charles from Tapas Teatro. Also coming to mind is Mount Washington's Crêpe du Jour. There are probably others, but these are the only two I know of. I wanted more of a sit-down thing - Sofi's offers only a handful of tables - so I went to Mount Washington.

I had in the back of my mind one worrisome thought - a three-peat of my St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo dining experiences. Both fell on a Saturday this year. I wanted Irish food on March 17, but could I get in? Nope, couldn't get in. I wanted Mexican food on May 5, but could I get in? Again, no. So I was half-prepared to not get in for July 14's Bastille Day celebrations either. Luckily for me, most Americans don't know much about French holidays (myself included), so the place wasn't standing room only. It was very busy, but there were a few tables up front still available, and several on the sidewalk. Apparently the entire back of the restaurant was totally crowded, and reserved for the duration of the night. And strangely, a friend and former co-worker was seated in the restaurant with a friend of his. We had bumped into each other a few weeks before, after not having seen each other for the better part of a year. Small world! I'd go into more detail about other people I ran into tonight that know people I know whom I had no idea they knew, but I'd give myself a headache.

Crêpe du Jour offers a breathtaking array of crêpes as well as other French foods. This would have me scratching my head for most of my meal as to what to order next. Fortunately for me, Crêpe du Jour offered a handy Bastille Day prix fixe menu! For $25 - $30 with a glass of wine, white or red - you get a three-course meal that would easily cost $40 otherwise. Normally I would eye the cheapest crêpe on the menu and maybe have dessert and wine or beer. But this really helped me get a good perspective on a full-blown French meal, and it was a pretty good deal. And I had to make less of a decision!

As I sipped on my Chardonnay, I got my first course, a choice of fromage or escargot. Being adventurous, and not in a cheese mood, I went with the snails (normally $9). They were served up in a wonderful sauce with chopped tomato, garlic and slices of crusty bread. Strange, but my very first bite or two were vaguely reminiscent of the flavor of braunschweiger! That's not so bad, I mean I like braunschweiger. But the snails were tasty. Never imagined eating snails before? Try it at least once.

My second choice was between two entrée crêpes. I forget what the second one was, a chicken and mushroom crêpe. I went for the crêpe normande (usually $18), whose name, of course, I butchered in front of my host - I apologized, he said it was alright. This crêpe was a seafood crêpe with squid, shrimp, and a wonderful sauce. It was a very big, stuffed crêpe, and one of the best parts of it, despite the wonderful seafood and sauce, was the crêpe itself. A little sweet, but not in a dessert-y way, and very tasty.

My third course came in a while. I knew it wouldn't be like my friend's dessert, a large crêpe with ice cream, caramel and whipped cream on top. Instead it was a choice between the crêpe suzette (usually $9) and an icy fruit dessert. Yes, I went with the suzette. This was very hot coming out, with its caramel and orange sauce. It was heavenly. That's all I can say.

For this hefty French feast, I paid a total of $31.50 after tax, plus a $5 tip. Not bad for food that usually costs a lot more.


Fairfax said...

Sounds yummy... I've only been there for lunch. BTW: Sophie's is opening a second location at the cafe section (lower level) at the Woman's Industrial Exchange.

John said...

It was very yummy! Sofi's in the WIX. I hope I'm allowed in! :)

Yes, I'm just being silly.

Fairfax said...

Two things... have you been to the Trinidad & Tobago restaurant in Waverly? It's near the farmer's market.

My mother said she read about your eating your way around the beltway somewhere - and it was NOT on your blig... did you get some PR?

John said...

Not been to the T&T Market. The second thing is probably the Baltimore Restaurant Blog. They're mentioning a lot of foodie blogs in the area, and your food blog is listed on it also!

Fairfax said...

nah.. the only blog my mother reads is MINE!!! she's 82 and not too up on this blogging stuff... i bookmarked mine for her, so she could keep up.