Jan Norris: Food and Florida

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EatBeat: Crepes By The Sea

October 11th, 2008 · 2 Comments

In downtown Delray Beach, I hit upon Crepes By the Sea around lunchtime with my photographer pal, Tim Stepien. We decided it was one of the neatest finds in a while for us both.

Crepes are a different way to eat a “wrap” at lunch. The traditional European light, airy pancake is artfully folded over a variety of fillings – both sweet and savory are on the menu here.

We were steered here by the proprietor of the next-door Turnaround Shop, who made a huge case for the roast beef with goat cheese crepe. So persuasive was she that Tim, normally a non-red meat kinda guy, went for it. “This is just great,” he said, in between mouthfuls. It had roast beef, red onioins, roasted peppers, goat cheese, arugula and was dressed with a horseradish sauce.

I concurred, but thought my turkey-cheese, topped by a farm-fresh, cage-free chicken egg, with the yolk oozing out with every bite, was superb. We also heard the Roma — with mozzarella, tomato, proscuitto and a pesto sauce — was tasty.

Bettina Seifts

Bettina Seifts

Bettina Seifts, of Austria, runs the small, four-table creperie with her spouse, Robert, an Italian-American. “It’s mostly take-out, but some people like to eat indoors,” she tells us. They’ve only been opened at the store since July 4, but have done festivals with their portable cart. They also use it to cater parties.

She expertly demonstrated the preparation of a proper crepe.

A small amount of the thin batter is poured onto one of the three greased, hot, round griddles, visible from the window so passersby can watch. Twirling a T-shaped wooden crepe spreader (it looks like bird perch, upside down) she smooths the batter into a thin circle around the griddle. After only 60 seconds or so, it’s ready to turn — a tricky job that requires a long (15.75-inch) spatula, deftly wielded so as not to tear the crepe as its slipped under the crepe, swiped into a half-moon and then laid on the next griddle for part two.

Once it’s cooked — a mere minute or so, it’s lifted once more at its midpoint, and placed on the prep board as a half-circle. The ingredients are scattered across it, then it’s folded into neatly into thirds, garnished, and plated.Folding the crepe

Bettina explained that the batter is made with lupin flour, widely used in France and gaining ground here among organic bakers. (One caveat: Don’t eat these crepes if you’re allergic to peanuts; this flour has been known to cause an allergic reaction.) “It’s the same flour used in the crepes at the restaurant at the Eiffel Tower,” she said.

Prices are reasonable: no crepe is more than $7.95 and there are meat, fish and vegetarian versions; all make a nice meal, though there are salads if you choose to add on.  Dessert crepes were difficult to pass up; several nutella versions, a PB&J one, and the lemon lambada. We had to have the “Hurri Cane” — a banana-brown sugar-nutmeg one. Sublime!

Bettina’s favorite is the rolled up Palatchinka, or Palatchinken. “My mother used to make them for me, and as a girl, I could eat three,” she said. It’s simply a crepe, spread with jam, and rolled up. Here, strawberry, apricot, orange, or blueberry jam are the choices; back in Austria, where this Hungarian treat was popular, strawberry was the traditional filling.

For those do-it-yourself cooks, she also sells the crepe mix, the crepe pan and the turning spatula and will happily give you directions. They’re quick and easy once you get the hang of turning them, and you can stuff them with whatever you choose.

I’d recommend this for brunch, or late-night dining, too, by the way. I love that they’re open till 11 p.m. — as a night owl, the more choices I have to go to that aren’t chains, the happier I am!

Crepes by the Sea

  • 6 N.E. Fifth Ave., Delray Beach
  • (561) 243-2004
  • Open Mon.-Weds., 11-9; Friday, till 11; Saturday, 10-11; Sunday, 10-4.

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ben // Oct 13, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Roast beef and goat cheese… a better duo than Batman & Robin!

    Although I am lactose intolerant, I will eat goat cheese morning, noon and night. There is something about this cheese that packs a wallop but does not overpower. I love it.

  • 2 Bettina // Jun 3, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Just a quick update…we are now open 7 days a week:

    Sun – Wed 8:30 – 6pm (7pm on we host Soirees, or cooking classes for parties up to 8 people)

    Thu – Sat 8:30 – 10pm

    Come by…we’ve got more specials than when we first started…and the coffee is excellent too!

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