Our exposure to crepes started when Mom, an avid Julie Child “The French Chef” cooking show fan, would practice recipes, including crepes, on us youngsters. (The PBS show aired from 1963-1973, and she said the Courier-Express printed the recipes the day after.)
Thanks to her, in 1976 we were well-prepared for a meal at the historic Maison des Crepes on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, D.C., during our bicentennial visit. We watched chefs flip crepes in huge saute pans and were allowed to eat chocolate crepes loaded with whipped cream for dinner. We watched spectacular fireworks on a blanket at the National Mall.
It was an experience to remember and our affinity for crepes was cemented.
When we learned of the new Wholly Crepe near the University at Buffalo's Main Street campus, we were immediately on it.
The cute café has tables and chairs that can be pushed together for bigger groups. Walls are graced with Shepard Fairey “We The People” prints and there’s a reading area with a “take a book, leave a book” case.
The crepe choices are basic: savory ($6.43), sweet ($5.51), egg and cheese breakfast ($4.59) or make your own ($3.67) with 92 cents for each added ingredient.
Scanning the menu board, our first question was, “What’s the Crepe Diem”? A joke, and we did laugh, but quickly advised them that they should seize the opportunity to make one up.
From the five savory crepes we went with a chicken, mushroom, cheese and a breakfast crepe. (Veggie, lox, turkey club and Caprese are the others. Wholly uses good ingredients like cage-free eggs.)
While our younger days are past, we are still intrigued by the process and couldn’t resist watching the batter on the flat crepe griddle get spread with the cutest tool that looks like a wooden rake. After the moment of truth (the flip) we sat at a table to sip a huge cup of good Americano coffee ($1.84) as we waited. Other coffee drinks include espresso ($1.84), café late ($3.22), iced macchiato ($3.22) and iced coffee ($2.30).
Because of the nature of the process, crepes take a little longer, but are worth it. The neat large triangles arrived with a generous amount of filling hidden in the folds.
Diving in, the tender chicken and savory mushroom were bite size, so we could use just a fork to cut and eat. There was just enough sharp cheddar - too much would have overpowered the chicken and mushrooms.
The crepe was thin and delicate, but slightly chewy as it should be. What really came through was the fresh ground pepper we watched the gal grind over the filling before folding.
The breakfast crepe was filled with perfectly scrambled fluffy eggs and a good amount of cheddar. (Folks looking for bacon or sausage are out of luck, as they aren’t on the menu.)
Ever watch a thin dry sponge expand when wet? Well, we could feel our stomachs expanding the same way the further into the crepe we ate. Yet we were determined to sample a sweet version. Monkey business (Nutella/banana), strawberry cream, apple harvest, lemon ricotta or berry Nutella?
When in doubt, it never hurts to go with a classic combo like lemon ricotta and blueberry. We weren’t disappointed. The creamy ricotta was sweet with a fragrant lemon flavor that wasn’t overpowering. The blueberry sauce was perfect, not too sweet and a little tartness to cut the rich ricotta.
The next time we might just start with a sweet crepe, and have another for dessert. Because like Julia once said, “Life itself is the proper binge.”
3292 Main St.; Facebook
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Monday.
Price range: $3.49 smoothies to $6.43 crepes (add-on ingredients extra)
Gluten-free: Not yet, but on the horizon.