Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Crepes at Au Bon Port

Last Saturday, I finally walked into this creperie on Castro Street that I've been meaning to take Hugues, (since he's from Brittany, aka the birthplace of crepes).

Iwas one of those Saturday afternoons where you wake up, have breakfast, and look at the clock to see it's already 3pm! So we dragged ourselves around the hood on fruitless errands to feel productive, until we found ourselves in front of the window of Au Bon Port cafe.

Au Bon Port looks like a cozy cafe with a wooden table right by their window, but it starts to lose itself with too much space and lack of warm lighting once you reach their display case towards the back. Undeterred, we decided to order their Picpus crepe: lemon juice, sugar and butter. I'm not sure what it is about the word "crepe" because if you told me it was a blini or a blintz, I wouldn't be as critical. But I often find myself grumbling my way through what feels like raw chewy dough, overly cheesy, overly sweet, or just plain boring. And though I am no expert on them, I have assumptions on what a crepe should or shouldn't be - and I'd rather not eat it than be disappointed.

But the woman making it behind the counter looked calm and light-hearted as she spread the batter around the ceramic griddle. So when she placed the powder sugared plate in front of us, I knew it had at least been made tenderly. What I bit into was a lightly crispy crepe where the tartness of lemons, crunchy sugar, and soft melted butter filled my senses. The most balanced crepe I've had in a while - even better than the first crepe I had in France when I was 15, pushing sticky dough around my plate with a fork.

*****

So, I actually went back today to Au Bon Port after trying to catch Sean Penn filming his new movie, Milk, with no luck. I re-ordered the Picpus crepe but it was a bit too buttery this time, and the cook had forgotten to sprinkle the sugar inside. Sigh. Well, at least it reminded me it's about balance in all things.

I did have a chance to sit by the cozy window today, and someone actually came up to me as I was reading and said I looked "really intellectual." It is all about how you look that counts, right? It was probably the pen I was holding, along with the mug of coffee. That always helps. He then proceeded to ask me what I was actually reading, which was, unfortunately, a snoozy editing book. He forgave me though by saying, "well you make a nice vignette against the window."

Hugues and I hope to repeat the experience at home for Mardi Gras with some friends. Keep you posted.

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