Crepes, Nutella & Protests, OH MY!

Pictures of protests and rallies should always have a slightly blurred look to them. Isn't that a rule somewhere?

Cheesy and silly headline, I know. I could not resist cause on my bike ride home it was all I could think about. In fact, it seems that chants at political rallies sound a lot like Dorothy, the Tin Man and Scarecrow as they walk down the Yellow Brick Road. Some of the rallies and attempts to make change in a system that seems to be breaking down around us seem a lot like that proverbial journey, so I think the comparison fits well.

Today I went to an event a friend organized that rallied in support of workers in Wisconsin. One could say I have a vested interest in any sort of cheese production, but also I think it is a damn good idea to make sure workers have supportive systems in place as barriers against managers and owners of businesses. In some small time business enterprises like restaurants, such needs are lessened by the facts of family run and organized workers – but those who work in corporations where profit is more important than humanity, checks and balances are very much needed, and unions play a role in that.

Warm red walls inside, warm red signage outside. I guess they are going for a warm and inviting vibe. I'd say it works pretty well!

But getting off of the podium of activism, I’ll get back to what I pretend to be good at, which is talking more about food. I pretend to be good at writing these articles, but my true passion is less in writing and more in eating, where this article just gives me all these excellent excuses to up my caloric intake.

This beautiful Saturday had all the making of an excellent lunch as I rode over the Kanawha River for a jaunt to Creperi Cafe (strangely two websites – click here for version two). The Creperi is a small restaurant where thinly stretched egg pancakes are the star. And a wonderfully bright star they are! I have fond memories of a restaurant in Eugene, Oregon where they make crepes, and I am amazed at the inventiveness in what can be added to the simple batter. Savory, sweet, salty – all can be equally excellent, and it is a great setup for an eatery.

If it were just the crepes, Creperi would get a big thumbs up from me – but they also have ESPRESSO! You may have heard of this invention before. It involves boiling hot water being pushed through coffee grounds in a pressured manner, leading to a strong brew of caffeinated yumminess. This particular aspect of the cafe uses Seattle’s Best Coffee, which is a great alternative to Starbucks. But more important than having that brand, Creperi has GREEK COFFEE!

I am now going to have to look up what Greek Coffee is. In my mind it is strong espresso with a very thick layer of coffee grounds that almost make a muddy sort of appearance in the drink. But Wikipedia argues that the drink is known as Turkish Coffee and mostly it has to do with the way the coffee is prepared more than any sort of flavor profile. I guess my definition was not too far off, and the tiny tea cup filled with the beverage was a very sippable and wonderfully strong drink. By the end I had a thick sludge at the bottom which was well crafted. I could not let all that caffeine go to waste – and this may be gauche – but I swirled a little but of iced tea in my cup and sucked down all of it. Even with that strange mix the drink was lovely and I was glad I did it.

Greek Crepe - look at those tasty wilted greens & feta!

However, the namesake of this cafe is where it’s at. To stick to the theme, I ordered a “Greek Crepe” which included greens, walnuts (great extra crunch), feta cheese, vinaigrette dressing, olives and tomatoes. It was perfectly cooked and the greens had a good wilt going on while the dressing managed to permeate the rest of the vegetables evenly and tastily. The crepe itself was appropriately eggy and light and the chef browned both sides evenly.

I had planned on sticking to the one crepe and the coffee, but I was sitting facing the menu and could not help but notice a good amount of space was given to a chocolate and an ice cream section. As I looked over the list of scrumptiously wonderful dessert like items, I noticed that the chocolate side offered Nutella as an option. I remember first being exposed to the chocolate hazelnut spread as a teenager. A friend of mine had lived in France for a year and came back talking about the stuff and how awesome it was.

This Greek Coffee looks much more tiny and cute in real life, but still pretty cute in this picture.

In Europe, Nutella reins supreme. Governments and leaders might come and go, but hazelnut spread rules everything. Seriously, it is good stuff, but for some reason it has failed to gain a significant foothold in the United States. To me, it is a dangerous thing best absent from my house so that I will not be tempted to sit down with a spoon and just eat it straight up.

Finishing up with a Banana Nutella crepe was truly a winning way to end the meal!

Now in a crepe, mixed with banana, it is divinity. There is something incredibly compelling about hazelnuts, bananas and chocolate and when it is wrapped into a delicate egg pancake with copious amounts of powdered sugar on top. It smelled so good off the grill one of the workers who had not tried that particular menu item decided he needed to get it himself sometime soon.

Was it dessert? Perhaps, but it was such a perfect blend of fruit and cocoa it could honestly compete in the breakfast category and come out a champ. It did not survive long on my plate, but getting back behind the podium from the first paragraph, in West Virginia’s capitol city the survival of protest is strong. On the bike ride home, the rally for workers had turned into support for Libya and the protest chant about ousting Qudaffi was great, but not nearly as good as the rallying cry against lions and tigers and bears OH MY!

Creperi Cafe on Urbanspoon Pretty good score on UrbanSpoon, however the other location gets a slightly higher grade. Not sure why? I’d rate this site as a solid A due to all the variety within the simplicity of the humble crepe.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Joe Skiles
    Aug 10, 2012 @ 17:26:36

    Awesome food. Awesome service. Awesome atmosphere. A big city feel to a small city establishment. For those few that didn’t like, I think they are addicted to McDonalds and Burger King. Charleston is privileged to have restaurant of this caliber.

    Reply

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