Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The rural life: Holy crepes

A few months ago, I did something I felt a little funny about. I wasn’t sure it was OK to do, but I couldn’t stop myself. I used our local homeowners’ association email-address list to send out a message that wasn’t about homeowners’ business.

I know. Bad.

I rationalized, of course. I told myself it was about homeowners’ business — to the extent that maximizing your country-living experience by enjoying the occasional evening out at an exceptional local eatery is homeowners’ business.

Anyway, here’s what the message said, on behalf of myself and my husband, Hank:

“Friends and neighbors, if you haven’t tried the CrepeTown Café & Grill restaurant, please do. Even if you think you don’t like crepes. It’s in the Burkes Junction mall in Cameron Park, and it’s our new favorite place to eat.”

I went on to explain that both the savory and sweet crepes are “out of this world.” I offered my own recommendations: for entrees, the Verona (vegetarian) or Beef & Burgundy crepes, and for dessert the Granny Apple or Nutella & Berry crepes.

“To die for,” I gushed. “And the dessert crepes can be split.”

That last bit, about splitting, is completely true, though it’s not how I like to eat mine. I’m normally a diet-conscious diner, but at this place, I want a main course crepe and a dessert crepe all to myself, and woe to anyone who asks for a bite. (I’m like a girl-dog with a bone, if you get my drift.)

Anyway, I added in the message that the food was reasonably priced, and that Hank and I were helping to spread the word about the place because we wanted to see it thrive so we could keep enjoying it ourselves.

You see, I have no vested interest whatsoever in the CrepeTown Café, nor do I participate in those social-media tell-your-friends promotional campaigns. It’s just that the restaurant business is rugged, today’s business climate is dicey, and if this place were to disappear…(I don’t even want to think about it).

I remember my first time there. My friend Phyllis insisted we go for lunch. The cafe is on the corner of one of the main Burkes Junction blocks. It’s small; the decor is quaint and European; the staff are warm and welcoming. The menu offers a variety of crepes as well as a few other interesting choices, such as Hungarian Goulash. Most entrees are around $10.

At that first lunch, I did something I almost never do. I ordered dessert — the Granny Apple crepe — as my entree. Eating it was almost transcendental. I couldn’t carry on a conversation, or even really hear what my friend was saying. All my brain cells were focused exclusively on tasting.

It was sublime.

After that, I brought my sister Sherry for lunch and tried an entree, the Verona crepe — equally scrumptious. Then I brought my husband for dinner; he loved it, too (he had the goulash), and we both approved of the beer and wine offerings.

Then I brought my sister Caroline and my daughter, for Caroline’s birthday. We ended our meal with three different dessert crepes. Better than cake!

Two weeks after I sent the message to the homeowners’ list, I heard from my neighbor Chris.

“Thanks for the tip off about the crepe restaurant in Cameron Park,” she wrote in an email. “Lewis and I went there last night and loved it.”

Then, a month after that, neighbor Steve weighed in with a message to the whole group titled “I’ll vouch.”

“Great place, small and cozy, and smells reeeally good as soon as you walk in the door. Go if you get the chance. You won’t regret it, and the nice couple who run it will be grateful for your business.”

That nice couple would be Edi and Alma Zildzo, who are originally from Croatia and are now intent on providing patrons with a dining experience like no other.

And that may be the key thing here. I love Mimi’s and BJ’s and Macaroni Grill as much as anyone. But for something really out of this world…I recommend the CrepeTown Café.

Do us both a favor, if you would, and give it a try.

(For hours:

Jennifer Forsberg Meyer is a biweekly columnist with the Mountain Democrat.

Jennifer Forsberg Meyer

Jennifer Forsberg Meyer is an award-winning journalist and author with three published books to her credit. Currently she is a senior editor with Horse & Rider magazine. Jennifer lives in rural Latrobe with her husband, Hank; their daughter, Sophie Elene; and the family’s assorted animals.

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