Crepes are tasty little envelopes that can deliver fillings as disparate as sweet liqueurs and hearty eggs. They are versatile, quick and fairly inexpensive -- and, if prepared correctly with quality ingredients, among my favorite things to eat.
So it was with a modicum of triumph that I stepped into La Petite Creperie, the first of its kind in Anchorage. Finally, I thought, a place where I could simultaneously indulge my cravings for breakfast and dessert.
La Petite Creperie is whimsical and cheerful. Rainbow walls and brightly colored art lend a sense of sunny personality to the space. Owner Kate Larson-Markiewicz plans to add more organic touches with tree branches, hanging flowers and plants. She hopes to create a beautiful natural environment that guests will want to visit time and again.
The restaurant focuses on supporting local businesses and using organic ingredients when possible. It offers espresso and organic loose-leaf teas in flavors like African nectar, chocolate mint truffle and spring jasmine ($2.25 for large). The menu is divided into the sweet and the savory. The dessert crepes are numerous and delightful-sounding. White chocolate pistachio ($7), Grand Marnier and sugar ($7.25), and peanut butter and M&Ms ($6) are just a few of the combinations. There are also daily specials that make use of seasonal ingredients.
Keep in mind that someone is preparing these crepes to order, in full view of curious diners, and the buttery smells of cooking batter permeate the air. It is very distracting. It took me about 10 minutes to read the menu, as I kept being drawn to the crepe station.
I watched her prepare a Cajun chicken crepe, with blackened chicken, cheddar, spinach and sour cream ($9.50). The batter was carefully smoothed out with a wooden dowel scraper, then allowed to cook for a few moments until the edges barely curled up. Then the ingredients were added, the crepe folded and sauces drizzled over.
The North African onion crepe with caramelized onion, garlic, spices, tomato and gouda ($8.50) and the salmon caviar crepe with cream cheese and dill ($11.50) beckoned. But I succumbed, as usual, to my breakfast instincts. I ordered the lox and capers crepe ($10.50) and scrambled egg and bacon crepe ($9.25) with avocado ($1.50).
Choosing a dessert crepe was especially difficult, and I settled on the campfire crunch ($7.25) as an homage to the upcoming camping season.
The crepes were sizable, but the fillings didn't overpower the delicate construction. My favorite was the egg and bacon crepe; cheesy, with a bright hint of something acidic to cut the richness, and no need for toast. I pulled off pieces of the crepe and used it to scoop up the filling. The crepe itself was light and smooth, tasting slightly of browned butter.
My fiance liked the lox crepe best. My only complaint was that the heat of the crepe cooked the salmon, compromising its velvety texture. Its flavor, punctuated with tangy capers and onions, was good.
We agreed wholeheartedly on the campfire crunch: delicious. Melted chocolate studded with dollops of marshmallow fluff and graham cracker bits all wrapped up in a warm, buttery crepe and topped with whipped cream. I began devising ways to cook crepes over a campfire.
My next visit was a quick in-and-out for lunch, a Thai chicken crepe ($9.75) to go. The restaurant was busy, and crepes were being whipped out left and right. I enjoyed the show as I waited for my order.
This crepe featured moist morsels of seasoned chicken, red bell pepper, fresh spinach and a generous dousing of Thai chili sauce. It tasted healthy and light while still filling me up.
Also coming soon to the menu are authentic Belgian waffles, caramelized confections with soft, sweet interiors.
La Petite Creperie is meant to embody the spirit of European creperies, a place where friends and family can gather for a quick meal or a leisurely brunch. This creperie offers a sense of community with its kaleidoscope of crepes.
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By Riza Parsons
Daily News correspondent