Long Beach Lunch: Delightful Crepes Cafe
"Delightful" is one of those adjectives that almost makes you cringe from the doily-fringed feelings of charm it involuntarily conjures. The question "Isn't that delightful?" brings to mind images of crustless tea sandwiches, babies wearing bow ties and senior citizens who do yoga. But quesadillas made of crepes?
At Delightful Crepes in deep East Long Beach, sure, those can be delightful too.
Not that being full of delight is a bad thing, it is just that Delightful Crepes uses the word more as a catchall term for the cafe's scatterbrained usage of the thin French pastry. Taking up the last unit in a tree-filled suburban strip mall, the all-day food spot could easily also be called Eclectic Crepes, Adventurous Crepes or Weird Crepes That Are Actually Amazing and still not be lying.
Anyone expecting a strictly French bistro experience here, however, will likely only find satisfaction in the garden-style interior and delicate coffee-and-saucer sets because instead of just serving their crepes with traditional toppings like butter, sugar or Nutella, Delightful Crepes also insists on filling them with California-inspired ingredients from eggs and bacon to eggplant and feta cheese.
Each of the cafe's crepes uses the thin sweet pancake in a different way so that its menu reads more like an ode to the unexpected versatility of the pastry. For breakfast, there are yogurt parfait crepes--filled with bananas, walnuts and vanilla yogurt so that the crepe becomes a carby replacement for the absent granola--and a Crepe Italian--where the crepe wrap gives the eggs, bell peppers, mozzarella and marinara sauce an International-omelet feel.
At lunch, the crepe options turn even more bold with pizza crepes, fajita crepes, chicken chipotle crepes and something called a "crepesadilla," which replaces a flour tortilla with a sweet crepe and stuffs it with all the fixings for a nearly dessert-like chicken quesadilla. With an extra $15 to spare, you can even get a "California Crepe" with imitation crab meat and a dijon crème sauce or a salmon crepe filled with baked fish, spinach and mozzarella cheese--each wrapping its otherwise savory components in an unexpected hint of sugar.
Delightful Crepes leaves few stones unturned when it comes to Americanizing the crepe, giving it Mexican, Italian and other SoCal twists that are a far cry from the Parisian specialties served at nearby La Creperie on 2nd Street. Gluten-free and whole-wheat crepe options round out the probable menu blasphemy, though it should be noted that ordering either is the only way to get an unsweetened version of the wrap.
Operated by a local family since 2008, Delightful Crepes is a neighborhood cafe that could have gotten away with just being another breakfast and lunch spot with the typical menu of messy scrambles and over-portioned salads. But thankfully, the owners took a chance, bought a few crepe machines, drew up some oddball-sounding (yet surprisingly edible) recipes and have through the imaginative use of a simple French pastry, won the hearts and stomachs of suburban Long Beach. How delightful.
Delightful Crepes, 1190 N Studebaker Rd., Long Beach, (562) 594-9400, delightfulcrepescafe.com
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