Off the Griddle with IHOPapotamus at…Christophe’s Crepes

Bonjour Fancakes.

So, I may have been a little deceitful in my last post.  I promised you I would be eating pancakes in traditional restaurants.  Yet somehow, I found myself eating a crepe from a food cart, specifically Christophe’s Crepes.  At the time, it was parked in Fairfield, Connecticut, by the public library.  From what I gathered, Christophe has been cruising around Fairfield County for the past eight months serving up some tasty crepes.

 

(image from Google maps)

I strolled up to the back window and requested a Belgian Waffle.  To my chagrin, the chef informed me he had stopped serving them.  Apparently, they weren’t popular enough to warrant taking up the limited storage space in his van.  My disappointment was quickly alleviated when I bit into my chocolate and strawberry crepe.

(view of the truck from the secretingredientonline.blogspot.com)

To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had a crepe, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was pleased to find it was filled with rich, thick chocolate, made even sweeter by a generous helping of powdered sugar.  The strawberries were fresh and complemented the chocolate very well.  My only complaint would be that it was a little more chewy than I would have preferred.  Perhaps that’s just how crepes are; as I said I can’t recall the last time I ate one.

 

(one of Christophe’s crepes from ctpost.com)

My appetite is nearly boundless, but the crepe was so rich that even I was debating whether I should finish it.  My brother decided he would save half for another meal.  Saving it for dessert might be more appropriate considering the chocolate and sugar on this thing.  It might make a good treat to share between two people or a dessert for those with a sweet tooth.

Christophe himself was very nice; he plays the part of the French gourmet chef quite well.  My brother and I sat on the grass in front of his truck and he leaned out his window to ask how we enjoyed the meal and pass the time with small talk.  He is a real Frenchman, so if authenticity matters to you count that as a bonus.

(Christophe! from ctpost.com)

Eating the crepe from a food truck was a bit of an odd experience.  I was there about noon on Sunday, so foot traffic by the library was non-existent.  This allowed me to comfortably perch on the grass and eat on my lap.  I was a little surprised that the crepe was just served on a paper plate, instead of the “to-go” container food carts normally utilize.  As I mentioned, he’s only been at this about eight months, so I suppose he’s still working on the logistics of his crepe cart.  I was also disappointed I didn’t get my Belgian waffle, but barring a horde of fancakes and wafflemaniacs descending on his truck demanding them I doubt Christophe will start restocking them.

If you happen to see his truck, it’s worth taking a stop.  From what I gathered he’s also available for catering (no idea what he’d charge for that).  His email is davidfwi@yahoo.com and telephone number is (646)596-6879.

Adieu!

Overall, I would give this 3 Paul Bunyans: 

Advertisements

Let Them Eat Crepe!

If you have a little bit of patience, a non-stick pan, and you’re looking to impress, you should definitely try this out.  (Get my directions here, and the ones I followed, here).

So it was my roommate C’s birthday this past week and we celebrated in true so-you-think-you-can-pancake fashion, with a crepe cake.  There are a couple of recipes floating around but this one seemed the most legit so I went with it.  It’s actually pretty simple to put together, just make a whole bunch of crepes, a big batch of pastry cream and start layering it up.

On a crepe note: While I’ve previously blogged about crepes (here), I think the crepes in this cake are slightly better – they definitely come out thinner and are a bit easier to whip up.

The original recipe calls for 20 cakes, but since C turned 24, I went with a 24-layer-crepe cake – it still used the same amount of ingredients as the original.

I thought there was actually a little too much cream for my taste but everyone else thought the cake was just right…so perhaps in this one circumstance my tastebuds were a little off…maybe…

(side view)

The recipe is pretty easy to follow and besides the Kirsch (cherry liqueur), all the ingredients are pretty basic.  I substituted some framboise (raspberry liqueur) and I’m pretty sure you can substitute almost any berry liqueur – the very helpful girl at the liquor store suggested that amaretto would also work…I’ll let you all try it out and let me know.

4.25 out of 5 stackies: 

Blini, vedi, vici

I think bagels with cream cheese and lox are one of the best meals on earth.  If you think like me, but want to mix it up, then you should definitely try these buckwheat blini with gravlax and creme fraiche!

(Get my directions for the blini and gravlax here!)

Each bite of these little morsels was basically perfect, full of salty-dill-y gravlax, lightly tart and cremey creme fraiche, and soft buckwheat-y pancake.

Speaking of pancakes, I followed Ina’s (Garten, that is) recipe and the blini came out really nicely (I would expect nothing less from an Ina recipe, of course).

On their own, they had a light buckwheat flavor but were otherwise pretty bland.  I did think they came out a little on the thick side, but I think that could be easily fixed by thinning the batter out just a bit.

The more exciting part of this whole breakfast experience was the gravlax.  

Have you ever heard of gravlax?  It’s basically dill-cured salmon, “gravlax” is the Danish word for it, “gravad lax” is the same thing…but in Norway.  This article from the kitchn was really informative, the new Martha Stewart has a feature on smoked and cured fish, as well!

(getting ready to be cured…but what was it sick with? sorry my friend Eric was being particularly “funny” when I was telling him about gravlax)

My recipe was the result of several days of internet scouring and a melding of these two sets of directions: cookstr and the Nordic Recipe Archive.  The only directions I ignored were to baste the fish (I was too lazy to keep wrapping and unwrapping it + I wrapped it so tight that there wasn’t a whole lot of liquid leaking out) and I scrupulously ignored any directions to add liquor/liqeurs (alcohol cured fish just does not sound appetizing to me.

Make sure you cut the gravlax thinly – it should come off the skin fairly easily – it did for me and I have a terrible knife/cutting skills.

(begging me to be sliced)

I can hardly wait to make more gravlax, IT WAS SO GOOD.

4 out of 5 stackies (for the whole shebang (fish + pancakes)): 

Me So Corny

Some of you may remember my antipathy towards cornmeal pancakes (blogged here and here)…well, I decided to give cornmeal yet another chance, and this time, I got it right!! (Get my recipe here!)

The first time, the recipe was entirely cornmeal-based which resulted in very heavy and granular pancakes.  This time, the cornmeal was treated more like an additive than a base (so cornmeal:cornmeal pancakes::blueberry:blueberry pancakes).  The pancakes came out fairly fluffy with a bit of a corn-grainy texture and some great corn flavor.

(lookin’ fluffy)

One thing to keep in mind is that these pancakes overcook really really easily, I had to keep my eyes on them the whole time and I still burned a pancake.  

(butter honey – recipe here!)

I also decided to experiment with my pancake toppings.  When I think corn, I usually think butter.  So when I was thinking about cornmeal pancakes, I thought of honey butter…but I wanted my honey butter to be more syrup-y. Instead of your “traditional” honey butter, made by whisking honey into softened butter, I decided to make “butter honey” by melting butter and whisking it into the honey.  I actually ended up making both honey butter and butter honey – my apartment consensus was that the butter honey was superior even though I used exactly the same ingredients in the same ratios for both.

4.25 out of 5 stackies (with the extra 1/4 stackie for the butter honey):