Cupz N’ Crêpes
Miniature Eiffel Towers abound in this pleasant neighborhood stop in an Ahwatukee strip mall, but the crêpes are heartier and more American. The menu breaks down three ways: savory, sweet and breakfast crêpes. From the third category, I tried the Avocado and Mushroom ($5.25), which happily didn’t skimp on the splendid, tender fungi. My savory choice was classically French, the Cordon Bleu ($6.75), a crêpe enveloping chunks of white meat chicken, slices of ham, melted Swiss cheese and a zingy dash of spicy mustard. But it was my sweet choice that most illustrated the American leanings of Cupz N’ Crêpes: The Graceland ($5.75), with creamy peanut butter, sliced bananas and honey. The King really was on to something with that flavor combination.
Must try: If the Graceland is too texturally homogenous for you, consider the Elvis ($5.75): Crunchy peanut butter, bananas and honey.
4232 E. Chandler Blvd., Ahwatukee, 480-706-1963, cupzncrepes.com
Egg N’ Joe
Unlike the other three, this breakfast and lunch joint has no Gallic pretensions. Sprung up amidst the Silverstone sprawl along North Scotts-dale Road, it’s the latest iteration of the Oregon-based Elmer’s chain (there’s another location in Gilbert, and more are planned), and you won’t find the Arc de Triomphe or the Champs-Élysées among its simple, cheery appointments. The crêpes, on the other hand, are light and fine, and seem strikingly authentic. There are no savory options among the crêpes here, though they’re served alongside eggs and bacon, sausage or ham. The Peach Blueberry Crêpes ($12.49), with the fruit tucked under cream cheese and whipped cream, was as scrumptious a breakfast as I’ve had in a while, but the Fruit Festival ($10.49) offers a customizing choice: strawberries, a berry combo or maple-caramel apple, with whipped cream and powdered sugar.
Must try: Don’t miss the Lingonberry Crêpes ($10.49), topped with a pile of the bracing berries, enriched and sweetened with butter and sugar – sweet and tart in a marvelously harmonious collaboration.
23271 N. Scottsdale Rd.,480-265-9968, eggnjoe.com
The Crêpe Club
At least since The Patty Duke Show’s theme song lyrically linked crêpes Suzette with a minuet and the Ballet Russe, crêpes have represented continental refinement in the American imagination. This newish local chain founded by three brothers who graduated from Arizona State University – there are also locations in Gilbert, Tempe and Scottsdale – rides that horse for all it’s worth. The excruciatingly thin pancakes wrapped around sweet or savory goodies are peddled in a chichi Parisian atmosphere, with romantic décor, Leonard Cohen songs over the loudspeaker and a restroom mirrored to Sartrean existential infinity. Also, the food’s good. Watch as the server, with plenty of élan and panache and éclat and other such appropriate words, prepares your crêpe. The Crème de Lemon (starting at $6.95) was the lightest and subtlest of the sweet crêpes I tried, but the best was the Strawberry “Shortcrêpe” (starting at $4.85), with the freshness of the berries counterpointed by the crunch of Biscoff cookie crumbles. From the savory side, the Mediterranean Chicken (starting at $4.99), pairing the bird with garlic, mozzarella and tomato aioli, had a convincing down-on-the-Riviera flavor; less pleasing was the Vegetarian ($4.99 and up), a slapdash assortment of veggies.
Must try: Wash down the savory crêpes with a glass of pricey but gently sweet and refreshing watermelon juice ($4.29).
2502 E. Camelback Rd., 602-956-0087, thecrepeclub.com
Colados Coffee & Crêpes
The décor in this Avondale crêperie is Parisian, but the vibe is different from that of The Crêpe Club – it’s bustling and noisy. The crêpes are different, too – thicker, sturdier, a little more browned, and a little more generously packed with ingredients. The Morning ($7.15), stuffed with bacon, eggs, cheese and peppers, would be easy to scarf any time of day. The Chipotle ($7), with drizzles of its eponymous sauce over ham and spinach, was less successful: It was messy and lacked heat and structure. On the sweet side, the standout was the Nutella ($5.95), with bananas, strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.
Must try: If it’s available, try a seasonal choice, the Wild Cherry ($6.15). It balances the fleshy, decadent cherries with sweetly virtuous blueberries.
10685 W. Indian School Rd., Avondale, 623-215-3826, coladoscoffee.com
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