Tomorrow is Mardi Gras. And, lucky for us, there is no shortage of indulgent ways to celebrate the holiday in grand, multicultural-style righthere in Chicago. In Polish communities, people enjoy paczki - Polish fried doughnuts stuffed with custard, fudge, strawberries and whipped cream, and even liqueur! But, there's no need to only indulge with paczki... Why not top it off with French crepes too?
Mardi Gras is literally "Fat Tuesday" in French. And, in France, it's customary to celebrate the holiday with crepes. In fact, in France it'scustomary to eat crepes on La Chandeuler (also known as "Crepes Day") - and then keep the crepes coming through Mardi Gras. La Chandeuler was just celebrated on February 2. But don't worry - there's still time to get your fill of crepes before the clock strikes midnight on Mardi Gras.
Here are a few great options to enjoy fresh, hot and delicious crepes right here in Chicago:
FliPCrepes starting selling crepes at Chicago farmers markets back in 2003. Today, it has a catering facility at 2136 W. Fulton Street, and it operates a full-fledged crepe stand inside the Chicago French Market.
At the FliPCrepes in the Chicago French Market you can choose from breakfast crepes, sweet crepes, crepe wraps, and crepe melts - making it easy to enjoy crepes at any time of the day! My sons love the Monster P'nut Sweet Crepe with natural peanut butter and preserves. But, you can't go wrong with any option!
FliPCrepes is located inside the Chicago French Market at 131 N. Clinton Street.
La Creperie has been serving up crepes to Chicagoans for 40 years. In fact, it's the oldest creperie in the U.S.! The family-run, bistro-style restaurant, located in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, features a crepe-laden menu of French fare.
You can choose from a long list of savory and sweet crepes that feature a wide-array of ingredients. On the "savory" side, you can have your crepes filled with fromage (cheese), boeuf bourguignon (beef braised with burgundy, mushrooms, carrots, leeks and tomatoes), or fruits de mer (seafood). For a sweet treat, you can select la citron (fresh squeezed lemon with sugar), creme caramel (caramel sauce and vanilla flan), caramel and salted butter, or la cacahuete (peanut butter, chocolate and bananas) crepes. With these many options, you may just need to make several trips to La Creperie.
La Creperie is located at 2845 N. Clark Street.
La Fournette opened its doors in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood last summer and has been building a loyal following ever since. The bakery offers an amazing array of authentic French breads and pastries, salads, sandwiches, quiches and more. La Fournette offers a selection of crepes on its menu. You can choose from crepe with butter and turbinado sugar, crepe "noisette" with homemade chocolate hazelnut spread, and crepe "suzette" with fresh oranges, caramel and butter - all made to order for you to enjoy right there.
La Fournette is located at 1547 N. Wells Street.
For Anyone Who Wants to Make Crepes at Home...
I had some of the best savory and sweet crepes at a small, quaint creperie in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris during my family's vacation there this past summer.When we returned to Chicago, I was inspired to try to create crepes of my own - at home. And, so I took an important step to try to build my crepe-making confidence - I took a class at FlipCrepes with my twin sister, Kim.
It was a great class - and one you should consider doing with a friend. FlipCrepes seats you at tables of two where you have your built-in crepe partner. At the start of class, you're given a lesson in the fine art of crepe making and then set free to try your hand at making, flipping, stuffing and folding crepes. Of course, at the end you get to eat all of your creations - making for a fun, educational and filling time.
At the time we took our class, our instructor told us that FlipCrepes typically markets their classes via daily coupon websites like Groupon, LivingSocial and Travelzoo. So, be sure to check them out and snag a deal for yourself - and then let the flipping begin!
Looking for a simple recipe to follow to cook up crepes at home? Here are some oh-so-appealing recipes from a few websites for you to check out:
- Crepes from Brittany: http://frenchmoments.com/Recipe_Crepes_Bretonnes.html
- Crepes for Mardi Gras: http://chefdruck.com/2011/03/crepes-for-mardi-gras/
- Opening Ceremony: http://www.openingceremony.us/entry.asp?pid=2997
I'm way overdue to make my own crepes at home. So, I may just need to use Mardi Gras as the perfect excuse to cook some up for my family. But, you can be sure I'm also going to pick up some crepes at one of these amazing Chicago spots to make sure I've got some delicious ones on hand - just in case.
What is your favorite place in Chicago to indulge in crepes? What is your favorite kind of crepe? Are there any other treats you plan to eat on Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Paczki Day? Please share your stories in the comments below.