When imagining a creperie, I tend to think of a classic French bistro with white tablecloths on the patio and the smell of sweet warm crepes slathered in jam or topped with a mound of goat cheese and smoked salmon—you know, the romantic version of crepes.
When I stepped into AB Crepes, I wasn’t expecting the whole rom-com eatery in Paris scenario, but I also wasn’t expecting what I got. And I’m not talking food just yet—let’s focus on the physical interior for a minute.
The walls are Sunny-Delight yellow. The other walls are a different shade of bright yellow. The T-shirts are yellow and lime green. The logo is a grinning chef that looks to be plucked directly from a clipart gallery. There are something like 18 identical blue canvasses on the wall, each stamped with darker blue rings. Hanging among it all is a student painting of Marilyn Monroe’s face.
Above our table, three pots of geraniums hang from the ceiling. Between the patio plants and the fluorescent lighting, time seems to stop as the space welcomes you into a wormhole of mixed messages; what time is it? Am I indoors or outdoors? Where are the visual cues that inform me of what my eating experience is about to be like? It looks like a dorm room sprang to life and decided to become a creperie on a whim.
But what matters most is the food. Although the place is lacking in finesse, the crepes are made beautifully. Chatting while they twirl their crepe wands, the staff effortlessly churn out perfectly textured, browned and mottled crepes that they stuff with toppings and fold into quarters. They are massive, and probably better suited for their late-night crowd than their lunch crowd.
My boyfriend ordered the Hawaiian with cheddar, local ham and pineapple ($5.95). Even though it only had three ingredients, a drizzle of Tapatio made it a fun and unusual lunch.
I ordered the garlic chicken pesto ($7.95) with onions, tomato and mozzarella, and enjoyed it mostly because it tasted like a favorite pizza of mine from Papa Murphy’s. It was a flavorful and filling crepe, and definitely worth the two extra dollars it had on the simpler menu items.
Because sour cream goes with everything, I asked for a little on the side and the server heaved out a tub and spooned it directly onto my plate for me. I appreciated the effort, but it was immediately clear that they could do with a little condiment bar with salsas, sour cream and maybe some basil, cilantro or cheese. For the prices, though, you certainly can’t complain.
Along with other savory options, they also include several breakfast items that looked simple, tasty and easy on the wallet. The dessert menu was the most appealing to me, and my friend ordered the Strawbana ($5.95), a Nutella-slathered strawberry-banana luxury crepe. It was intensely rich and 100 percent terrible for your health, but that is not the point of ingesting a crepe, and we both enjoyed it without remorse.
Their specials change on a regular basis, and the s’more crepe sounded like a brilliant, highly Americanized and unapologetically awesome idea that I hope to try in the very near future.
Owned and operated by cheerful, upbeat 20-somethings, AB Crepes has a lot going for it. Peering in on a recent trip home after work at 2:30 in the morning, I saw several tables of weary bar-goers eagerly awaiting their sustenance.
In my opinion, downtown Bellingham can never have too many open-late eateries, and AB Crepes is a welcome addition to the list of hungry-drunk options. Inexpensive, basic and with crepes in a variety of universally enjoyed flavors, this weird little pocket of a restaurant is definitely worth a shot.
Check out Sally’s blog at http://www.wolfsoup.com
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