“You chose possibly two of the most delicious things on the menu!” the waitress exclaimed. I had an issue choosing what exactly I wanted to eat. I was in La Crêperie Café downtown on Sansom St on the most beautiful day of the week, and needed to choose what my main course would be. I ordered a pumpkin soup for an appetizer, and was now making a crucial entrée decision as I sat in my wicker-backed chair sipping mint water.
“Well, it’s really a matter of deciding whether you want chicken or seafood.” That made the decision easy. “I work at a chicken place, so I’m getting seafood”, I replied. That particular selection involved seafood and curry, two things that I adore. Nothing can be wrong about that.
When sitting by the window, the whole dining room is in view. Mind you, it’s not a sprawling space; on the contrary, it’s small and intimate. The majority of the tables are mainly small and for two diners, with a 4-top or two added in, and towards the back end of the restaurant on the left was a bar with a coffee machine that had a few white porcelain cups stacked on top. On the one wall were two panoramic pictures of the lavender fields in Provence, and on the opposing wall were pictures that I recall seeing in my various French classes. On it would be written the name of the place, and it would be a cartoon-type of drawing of a map where the location is, and some type of caricature on it. Sometimes I wonder if the guy that did the “Le Chat Noir” poster did all of those others as well.
The soup was very savory and had a peppery note about it. I thought the apples in it would lend sweetness, but they did not; it was almost like eating potatoes, but not quite as hearty. The dollop of creme fraiche in the center of the soup citrouille added tang and freshness. Although the soup had a full and rich flavor, it was light. The entree was out just as the last spoonful was consumed. Perfect timing!
The crêpe was salty, crisp and tasted like butter. Atop of it was a melange of seafood: a chunk of salmon and a small piece of white fish, mussels on the half shell, and big chunks of carrot that have been loved by a curry sauce that I think may have been an Indian type of curry. Admittedly, I’m still learning the difference between my curries; if you ask me, they’re just all delicious.
As I consumed that first bite, all of these flavors together were just downright magical. Though I sat, my mind and taste buds were dancing around the restaurant in praise to God, so happy to have tried something so perfect in its combination of flavors and textures. I should’ve ordered two of these instead of an appetizer! I considered this initially; now, I know better.
Leaving without dessert wasn’t an option, so a crème brûlée was swiftly put on the tab. I had to try this since crème brûlée is one of my favourite non-chocolate desserts. I found myself conjuring ways to knock this one out of the park as I ate it. An actual caramel would’ve been perfect for the “burnt sugar” component. If it wasn’t supposed to be like crème brûlée, a rum sauce would’ve been divine! It did have raisins in it, which is probably why rum came to mind. It left a bit to be desired, but it wasn’t bad. You can’t go wrong with creme anglaise, after all.
Since I had taken the liberty of eating a lot, the rest of my time in Philly was spent walking. I walked up the street from that place and saw a man outside of a church playing bagpipes. Then I kept walking to Front St, across the bridge to Penn’s Landing, walked past a couple of boats (including Moshulu), then walked down South St for a bit. Then I walked back towards Market St and hit up Reading Terminal Market for honey and PA maple syrup. The latter had been missing from the larder for longer than it should have.
Now, it was time to go home and quilt.
It was a beautiful day spent in the way that it should be: primarily outside, enjoying the sun on your face and skin, and finding good food. Quiet spots in a city are a treat to find, and I found yet another such place… as well as a few along the way that I’ll have to check out some other time.