Apple Cinnamon Crepe at Elly's Pancake House ($8.49)
Upon my first bite of this one, I tasted fall. The crisp cinnamon apples created a caramel flavor, making it one of the best crepe additions in the group.
Overly filled crepes get soggy, but here the apples are placed on top, letting you do what you want with them. Those apples are cooked just enough so they still have a tiny bit of crunch, but soft enough to chew easily. The crepe itself is slightly on the eggy side of the crepe consistency spectrum. It's served with maple syrup and whipped butter, but you don't need it.
Brie and Ham Crepes at Julius Meinl ($9.50)
I had to order another set of crepes that actually seemed French. Brie and ham seemed like the right combo for that, and Julius Meinl really does them right.
These crepes were the eggiest of the bunch and very moist. An impossible amount of smokey ham is stuffed inside. Topped with pickled radish and mixed greens, it was perhaps the simplest of the bunch as well. I think that was my favorite part about it, as the fillings were allowed to shine.
Julius Meinl, 3601 North Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613 (map); (773) 868-1857; http://northamerica.meinl.com/coffeehouse_southport/
Buckwheat Crepe at Frog N Snail ($16)
Upon first tasting the buckwheat crepe at Frog N Snail, you could easily think it was filled with meat. Stuffed with lots of mushrooms, it was the heartiest crepe I tried, even though it was vegetarian.
Paired with pear, arugula, goat cheese and cauliflower, it had a powerful mix of flavors going on. The cauliflower was crunchy, and the goat cheese functioned most like a sauce.
Ratatouille Crepe at Abby's Crepes ($12)
Abby's Crepes at the Green City Farmer's Market can lure me out of bed every Saturday morning, no matter what I did the night before. Stationed near the entrance, they make their crepes in front of you on huge hot stone surfaces, use products from the market, and always have special crepes. The ratatouille is one of them.
This week it was filled with zuchhini, yellow squash, tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, onion, garlic, basil, thyme, and mozzarella. The pesto generously drizzled on top made this better than ratatouille (in my opinion).
The crepe was on the floury side, making it like an awesome, intensely basil flavored veggie taco.
Abby's Crepes, Green City Market, Clark and Lincoln, Chicago, IL 60614 (map)
Logan Crepe at La Boulangerie ($7.99)
Sparse on fillings with a spongy case, the Logan crepe at La Boulangerie was the most unique. I wasn't expecting the big flat dish that I received. How could bacon, egg, spinach, pine nuts, and crème fraîche all fit in there?! Well, they somehow did.
The bacon and pine nuts are what made this special. I'm not sure I've ever had those two things together in my mouth, and I'm now so very glad I did.
Turkey Habanero Crepe at Flip Crepes ($5.50)
This is the crepe I could eat every day. It's stuffed to the brim with meat, cheese, and egg, with a spicy habanero salsa helping to cut through. That's essentially a recipe to win my heart. It's also served wrapped in foil, so you could eat it on the go.
Monkey Crepes at Cafe Vienna
When I see "hazelnut spread" on any menu, I immediately start dreaming of floating in pools of Nutella, and 99% of the time order whatever it is that mentions this.
Things were no different with the monkey crepe at Cafe Vienna. Their hazelnut spread is somehow a bit less sweet then Nutella. The crepe itself is thin, a bit spongy and somewhere between floury and eggy, but it works well.
You can add strawberries and whipped cream to this crepe, but it already has just the right amount of sweetness. (I was happy to see no powdered sugar on this one as well, let the all powerful hazelnut chocolate banana mixture take the stage!)