So here we are, the first of May. It’s a jour férié, which means that almost nobody is at work today. Instead, they will gather at Place de la République to march in support of (or against) whatever issue is important to them. I stumbled into this défilé last year by accident, and I’ll be doing my best to avoid it this year. The Tamil Tigers have been there since Tuesday – I guess thay wanted to make sure to get a good spot. There are a few people working exceptionellement today, notably the scientists who work on things like genetic sequencing of flu viruses, for example. Which brings me around to why this post is a day late. Judging from the news last night, everyone was going to be dead of swine flu by morning, and I preferred to spend my last hours enjoying a bottle of wine with my husband.
Since it looks like we’re all going to live for at least another day, though, I’m going ahead with my last Breton cuisine post. (Anyway, it’s a holiday, so it’s not like May has officially started yet, right?) Last Sunday evening (!), Nick and I dined at Breizh Café, a mecca for enthusiasts of that quintessential Breton creation: the crêpe. Of course we ordered cider – we chose one that was described as “dry” by the menu, and recommended by the waiter. It was served in little earthenware bowls. I always feel kind of silly drinking out of a bowl, but when in Rome… The cider itself was less than impressive. It was dry, as in not sweet, but it had none of the tart apple complexity I was hoping for.
Fortunately, the meal looked up from there. We started with a rolled galette (savory buckwheat crêpe) filled with Andouille de Guémené and cheese. (“What kind?” I asked, hoping it would be some as-yet-unknown-to-me Breton cheese. “Gruyère,” came the reply. No dice.)
For the main course, more galettes:
Mine with onion confit, ham, cheese, and an oeuf miroir…
…and the same, with the addition of tomatoes and anchovies for Nick.
Is that a raw egg? Not exactly, but close. I think it could technically be called “sunny-side up,” but it appears to be cracked into the hot galette just before it comes off the griddle. The galettes themselves, made with organic buckwheat flour, were lacy and crisp, with the distinct earthy flavor of buckwheat. You wouldn’t think that a meal composed entirely of crêpes would be filling, but we were both quite satisfied after finishing off our galettes.
No so satisfied, though, that we couldn’t polish off a crêpe with salted butter caramel. The caramel sauce was about the consistency of maple syrup, with intense bitter caramel flavor punctuated by an underlying saltiness. This is what all caramel should taste like.
In addition to being open on Sundays, Breizh Café is also open continually from lunch on. It’s very popular, so I’d recommend going early, or making a reservation, as my first attempt at eating here was thwarted by a long line on a Thursday night, and made worse by an obnoxious Parisian telling me “Eet eez very deefeeculte. Nine-ssirty.” And then, rubbing salt in my wound as as I walked away, “Ze best crêpes een Paris.” He didn’t even work there! Why do they do that? I didn’t let it stop me from going back, and I’m glad to have another restaurant to add to my Sunday roster.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.