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Thursday, July 9, 2009

On the side

A street cart named desire

Posted on Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 4:00 AM

Downtown's newest lunch-on- the-run option is black and white and sweet all over. Parked on the corner of Central Boulevard and Court Street from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, the striped-canopied Crepe Company cart is a quick source of street food en français, made right in front of you. Friendly pâtissières (decked out in faintly silly French-maidish lace caps and aprons) pour batter onto a hot griddle and fill it with your choice of savory or sweet ingredients, then fold it up to go in a polka-dotted paper cone.

The front of the cart is lined with jars of Nutella, the French hazelnut-chocolate spread, so I was reassured as to the crepes' authenticity, at least on the dessert side of the equation, and I wasn't let down by the 'sweet heartsâ?� crepe: The creamy Nutella melted around perfectly ripe strawberries in a flawless blend of nature's sweetness and manmade sugariness. My savory choice, the 'club royaleâ?� (turkey, bacon, egg, tomato and avocado ' sort of a Cobb salad in a pancake) tasted fine, but fell to pieces when I picked it up. That's one thing about a street crepe: none of the usual sauces, because they'll run down your wrist. Go for something with cheese, which will melt and hold the crepe together.

Waits can be long, since everything is cooked à la minute. (Tip: Phone ahead to pre-order. Also good to know: Owner Traci Sihle just added post-bar hours, 10:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. at 37 N. Orange Ave.) Sihle wants to keep prices low, so the crepes are $4-$5; only one hits the $6 mark. Sweet deal.

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