Monday, May 23, 2011

Crepes-a-Go-Go, San Francisco, CA & Washington, DC

For reference, I have never been overly excited about crepes...until recently. On a trip to San Francisco last year, my good friend, Naida* and I decided we would head over to Berkeley for a day before attending the annual Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park. Parking around Berkeley for a few hours is fairly uncomplicated, just watch those meter times. After finding spot on a side street, Naida and I headed to Telegraph Avenue, which is one of the main drags through the town. Like Haight-Ashbury, Berkeley has a lot going on and all types of people of all ages milling about the neighborhoods. We window shopped at tattoo parlors, bought a few trinkets from street vendors and took in all of the sights. I happened to look across the street and spot a ‘Crepes’ sign. We had not eaten much that day and I thought a crepe might be a great snack to hold us until dinner. This was a hole in the wall spot that changed my view of crepes forever. They have a sweet menu (dessert or breakfast treat) and then a savory side (lunch or breakfast meal) from which to choose. All of them sounded delicious, so it was difficult to decide. You can have something as simple as sugar and butter or cheese and smoked turkey or a more creative version such as the King Samm (Nuetella, banana, coconut and Almond powder) or sauteed spinach with caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes and feta. Decisions, decisions. Naida knew she wanted the cheese, spinach and egg. I anxiously pondered - they all sounded great and I did not want to miss out on anything. Finally, I ordered the cheese, avocado and tomato. We both chose Swiss for our cheese and took a seat in the narrow space to watch the action behind the glass.

A gentleman quickly drizzled the crepe batter onto the crepe griddle with the ease that he had been making these a good while. Naida’s came out first and mine was close behind, both in roughly five minutes. These crepes were like no other. They were folded in half twice so a triangle shape is left, which was placed in a paper triangle holder so you can easily eat it on the go, if needed. The Crepes-a-go-go crepe itself is thicker than a typical crepe, somewhere between a pancake and a thin crepe, which can be too thin and ‘weak’ in form, in my opinion. They have a very thin crispy layer on the outside which I definitely liked! Naida and I could not take a bite without talking about how great these in, we said it in between EVERY bite. The tomatoes on mine were fresh and flavorful, as was the avocado. I decided Swiss was the perfect choice for this combination, but cheddar, feta, Monteray Jack and ricotta were also options. We did not want these crepes to end but had to finish up and continue on our Berkeley adventure. We paid a little over $5 per crepe. That’s a deal.

After our day in Berkeley, we settled down for dinner. Upon finishing, we decided to find out if other Crepes-a-Go-Go locations existed to grab a dessert crepe. We had satisfied our savory crepe fix earlier and now needed to try a sweet crepe to make sure Crepes-a-Go-Go was a good as it seemed. I rely on a friend to help me in these situations since to this date, I refuse to get on the smart phone bandwagon. He sent me address of another Crepes a-Go-Go in Berkley and then two in San Francisco. We were set! After our delicious dinner at Zachary’s Chicago Pizza (review coming soon), we headed towards the University Avenue Crepes-a-Go-Go. Thanks to Naida and her trusty maps, we found it fairly easily. It was empty, but we arrived close to closing time. Perusing the menu, we saw Nutella, various fruits and a variety of sauces (caramel, chocolate, etc). I quickly decided we should make our own and opted for peanut butter, honey, coconut and whipped cream. Naida was certain this would be terrible, but as she always says, she should trust me more. Our crepe was ready within minutes and turned out fantastic! Naida could not believe how tasty my concoction was. As I had presumed, it was a perfect combination. We satisfied our sweet tooth and headed home to rest and gear up for San Francisco’s two-day Outside Lands 2010 Concert.

Post day one of Outside Lands, Naida and I decided to check out yet another Crepes-a-Go-Go. Who says three times in thirty-six hours is too much? Not us. After visiting two locations, we figured finding the third would be easy. We were not quite expecting what we found at number three. Our difficulty locating this third Crepes-a-Go-Go was easily explained when we finally found it - it is a mobile food truck that sits on a street filled with a bunch of clubs. We were traipsing back and forth looking for a storefront and no wonder we missed it. Slightly nervous, we approached the the truck, but once we saw the menu, we relaxed. It was Crepes-a-Go-Go...on the go-go. Naida and I ordered straight off the menu for our savory crepe to share, roasted eggplant with zucchini, bell peppers, basil, sun-dried tomato and feta. We then tried our combo from the previous night but instead of honey, we went with maple syrup - even better! We sat in this slightly run-down picnic area, ate our crepes and watched the clubbers go by. It was a very mental and memorable moment. I would only have this experience with Naida and I am so glad I have her as a friend, with whom to share these bizarre memories and laughs. The crepes were just as delicious and this location stayed open until 3-4am to grab all of the clubbers with late night cravings.

While we were at the late night spot, the owner of the San Francisco area Crepes-a-G-Go locations, drove up to drop off supplies. We chatted with him for a few minutes and when we mentioned being from Virginia, he said there were Crepes-a-Go-Go franchises in Washington, DC and Maryland. I could not believe our luck! As soon as I was in the DC area, visiting Naida, we put visiting the Dupont Circle location at the top of our list. After a sobering, yet necessary experience at the United States Holocaust Museum, Naida and I needed a pick-us-up and headed for Dupont Circle. After being nailed by a parking prince of darkness in front of the museum, we were pretty cognisant about where we parked. After checking the meter about ten times, we walked into Crepes-a-Go-Go. While all of the locations have essentially the same menu, there were a few ingredient differences. Of all things, peanut butter was not listed, but we did not fret. We had already decided to order one savory crepe and one dessert crepe. Our museum visit lasted about three hours longer than expected and we had dinner in a short time, so sharing one of each type seemed like the way to go. Something we had seen at the late night San Francisco location, the sauteed spinach with caramelized onion, sun-dried tomatoes and feta caught our eye and along with that, we made a version of the dessert crepe from the west coast. Delicious! For the second, instead of peanut butter, we opted for Nutella, honey (no maple syrup on the menu), coconut and whipped cream. While the maple syrup is thicker and I still prefer that over honey, we still loved this crepe. Our treasures came out in under ten minutes and the place was pretty busy. Small, but cozy, this location was filled with some obvious Dupont Circlers, but I think a few others were like Naida and I, who had come from another part of DC to nab a crepe. Thoroughly happy that we had made it to one of the east cost Crepes-a-Go-Go’s, we relaxed for a while before journeying to our next destination. I cannot wait to go to DC again to get another crepe!


Check locations for hours.

2122 “P” Street, N.W. (just off DuPont Circle)
Crepes on the Walk -- 701 7th st NW (outside the Verizon Center)
514 Main Street Gaithersburg MD 20878 (in the Kentlands) (the DC & MD locations website)

2334 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley
2125 University Ave, Berkeley
350 11th Street between Folsom & Harrison, San Francisco
2165 Union Street, San Francisco
1220 Polk Street, San Francisco

Crepes-a-Go-Go on Urbanspoon

No comments: