As two students of Madame Miller’s French 5/6 class, we are clear experts on all things crȇpe and have decided to share our culinary opinions with the people. We bring you: the best crȇpes of Portland, Oregon. Disclaimer: we weren’t able to make it to every place in Portland that serves crȇpes but here are the three places we tested.For the purpose of our article, we decided to focus solely on dessert crȇpes.
To begin, some background. Traditional French crȇpes are a thin pancake-like food with a variety of different fillings, some savory and some sweet. They are generally very light and airy with a soft yet smooth texture. Nearly flavorless, the crȇpe itself serves as a vessel for fillings or toppings, however that does not diminish the importance of both the flavor and texture of the crȇpe. Those in a Franklin French class may be familiar with Crȇpe Day or La Chandeleur, the Christian holiday that occurs on Feb. 2, on the day that, in the United States, is celebrated as Groundhog Day. Religiously, Feb. 2 is known as Candlemass, marking the day that Jesus was presented at the temple in Jerusalem. One important aspect of the celebration in France is the eating of crȇpes, the reason for which is somewhat disputed. Some say that the tradition began with Pope Gelasius I who started a candlelit procession to Rome while handing out gallettes, a food similar to crȇpes, however salty, rather than sweet, to pilgrims who attended the procession. Over the years, the gallettes slowly transitioned into today’s crȇpe. Another theory is that crȇpes represent the sun, in both color and shape, and are eaten to symbolize the end of a harsh winter. One final theory is that eating the wheat from the previous year’s harvest, in crȇpes, was a way to create luck for the next crops. Whatever the real reason may be, crȇpes are enjoyed in the classroom of Franklin French teacher Madame Miller every Feb. 2; and even when it’s not Crȇpe Day there are lots of wonderful crȇperies to discover in Portland.
Our first stop on our crȇpe adventure: Urban Crȇperie. A restaurant in downtown Portland, Urban Crȇperie a great place to go if you’re looking for a coffee shop atmosphere. It’s definitely a sit-down place but otherwise pretty relaxed. Their sit-down experience is quite enjoyable as they play delightful background music and are decorated with light and airy colors. Once you sit down, they bring you a bottle of water as well. Everything on the menu is on the slightly spendier side; their crȇpes range from $12.00-17.00, leaning more towards the traditional yet delicious crȇpe. They had fast service and served us an absolutely beautiful Ricotta Cheese Crȇpe With Berries which was $13.00. It was pretty simple, a very thin and light crȇpe itself, which is how we think they should be. If you go here we recommend getting one crȇpe per person but sharing one is also fairly filling, more so with a savory crȇpe, which they have a lot of. Our only critique of this crȇperie was the location, as it is located on Morrison and 12th, which from Southeast Portland is a little bit of a drive. Along with this, parking in the area is very limited, and you need to pay to park. Overall Urban Crȇperie was a very comfortable place with delicious food and we would go back again.
Next, Frog and Snail, a small crȇpe restaurant on Hawthorne. Those who frequent Hawthorne may be familiar with Frog and Snail or its predecessor Chez Machin, but for those who don’t, it’s a potentially overlooked little French crȇperie where inside you’ll find a charming setup of bistro tables and chairs. The French music playing in the background creates the perfect ambiance. In comparison to Urban Crȇperie, Frog and Snail’s crȇpes are not as beautiful or delicate, however the flavor still delivers. It’s worth noting that we did not get to enjoy these crȇpes immediately after they were made and instead had them as takeout. For Frog and Snail, we tasted two types of crȇpes, the first called Berries and Cream, and the second: Strawbana. The Berries and Cream in comparison to the Ricotta Cheese Crȇpe With Berries from Urban Crȇperie was not as good. Comparatively it was slightly bland and the texture was less silky. On the other hand, the Strawbana crȇpe went in the other direction. The Strawbana crȇpe, which included strawberries, bananas, and nutella was very flavorful with a good fruit to chocolate ratio, and in our opinion better than our next crȇperie, Mojo Crȇpes. These crȇpes are also the middle ground of the three places when it comes to pricing. Their standard sweet crȇpes are priced at $10.00, which falls in the middle of the pricing of the crȇpes we tried. Overall, the ambiance is worth it, and the crȇpes are a great option for a slightly cheaper but still enjoyable crȇpe.
Taking the dessert crȇpe to the next level, Mojo Crȇpes on Division combines the classic crȇpe and ice cream, making a new experience out of the traditional French recipe. All of their crȇpes are served rolled up and with ice cream, flavor of your choosing, in a cup finished with whipped cream. We got the Mojo, which was $8.00. The crȇpe itself was okay but a bit on the dry and tough side, possibly so that it could contain the large serving of fruit, chocolate sauce and ice cream. Another thing to note however is that these crȇpes are extremely filling, as they do have lots of ice cream. In addition to ice cream crȇpes Mojo sells decent bubble tea if you want a little bit of extra sugar. The experience is really what you’re paying for here, this was definitely the most entertaining experience for us. It is more of a take-out rather than a dine-in spot, however there are tables and chairs for dining in if you so choose. Another bonus with Mojo crȇpes is the location. Located on 84th and Division, it is more easily accessible than Urban Crȇperie.
In the end, our favorite crȇpe place in Portland is Urban Crȇperie. The ambiance combined with the delicious crȇpe texture and flavor is too great to ignore. They manage not only to make the perfect crȇpe, but fill it with the most delicious filling that balances out the sweetness of the berries and the more savory flavor in comparison of the cheese. Regardless of our favorite, we enjoyed them all and would recommend you visit one, if not all, when the craving strikes.