This time last year, I had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to Montpellier, France. Through my school’s Study Abroad Office, two professors and twenty five students packed up a creative writing class and plopped it fifteen minutes from the southern coast. I can’t even begin to cover how wonderful that trip was, but I can tell you that the fantastic food left one of the biggest imprints in my memory bank.
In the land where ingredients are fresh and food is art, finding tasty treats were never hard to come by. They sold good food right out on the streets! It’s the one country that I can think of where asking for a stack of “croques” means you’re getting something wonderful in the end. One of the most common vendor’s ware are, of course, the crêpes.
If you’ve never had one, Google will define it as simply “a thin pancake.” I personally don’t think that quite fits the bill, so I’ll define it as an incredibly thin, fold-y piece of egg-y pancake deliciousness that’s either drizzled or stuffed with even more deliciousness. Nutella, honey, syrup, fruit spreads, whipped creams – no cans in sight. Near Paris they get a little crazy and add some espresso dust to their chalk board signs.
Now, when you can get a fantastic crêpe for a 2 euro piece on the street, one might wonder how there can be entire restaurants that focus solely on crêpes. Here’s the industry’s worst kept secret: les crêpes salées, or in plain ol’ English: savory crêpes.
As Americans, we often associate pancakes with dessert. The French, however, laugh at that restricted notion and ultimately create masterpieces because of it. For example, at the Café Breizh in Paris, a modern-looking crêperie that was a twenty minute walk from our hotel in Porte Dorée, the dish that forever changed my feelings about food was a buckwheat crêpe stuffed with goat cheese, caramelized mushrooms, toasted nuts, apples, and crème fraiche. My best friend almost cried into her meal out of pure joy; her crêpe was wrapped around sliced potatoes, a variety of cheeses, and duck.
Now, you can imagine my absolute pure delight when I discovered Simply Crêpes in our very own Canandaigua. Thinking it must be too good to be true, I held back some excitement until I could actually get there. Turns out, I can finally say that I’ve found a little piece of France right at home. As soon as I saw the gorgeous tiling in the bathroom I knew it would be the real deal; the French way doesn’t involve cutting corners around details. So, once you make it there, be sure to wash your hands and check out the awesome salle de bain. Then, if you manage to make it past the mouth-watering breakfast menu and don’t skip right to the desserts, I highly recommend the delectable morsel with goat cheese and arugula.
By Halie Solea