Because I am one of the most hopeless romantics you’ll find on the planet (the other, being Mindy Lahiri of The Mindy Project), I have always had an affinity for romantic cities. When I was 18, I was blessed with a two week trip to Paris — the first-ever thing I checked off my life list. Last year, I won a trip to Tuscany, and saw Firenze, Chianti, Pisa, and even a bit of Rome — several other items on my list.
In many ways, I have fallen in love with each of these cities. Paris, in particular, will always having a special place in my heart. It was the first European city I ever visited, and I was at an age where “firsts” were highly anticipated. (That trip to Paris was also the first time I had my own credit card — thanks, Papa. Haha!)
Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten every word of French I ever learned in my four years of studying it (though I will never forget my dear teachers, Mlle. Vinel — whom I loved — and Mme. Pirson — well… ahem.) But what I will never forget about Paris are the sights, the charm, and of course, the food.
A little bit of Paris in Manille
You can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a quaint little creperie in the neighboring town of San Juan, just a five minute drive from our home. Fondly dubbed as La Creperie “Maison”, it is the fourth branch of La Creperie in Manila — and by far my favorite branch! And why not? Just look at it’s utter daintiness.
I had scheduled this coverage of La Creperie to coincide with a new feature on my business website, Martinedeluna.com (coming soon), because this place truly echoed everything about me and my favorite things: European chic; the sweet side of Paris; crepes (!); fine foods and feminine flair. I was so honored that Ms. Christine Laman hosted me and my team of photographers — Shutter Panda Photography — for an afternoon of photos and yummy, “Christine-made” eats! (Yes, she personally oversaw everything we ate that day.)
La Creperie is actually the brainchild of Christine and her long-time friend and business partner, Christine Ledesma-Ong. They were the dynamic duo behind the successful smoothie bar, The Big Chill (another favorite of mine!), which debuted in the late 1990s’ as Manila’s best smoothie and juice bar. In 2009, they conceptualized and launched La Creperie, as sort of an hommage to their love for travel and good food, specifically their sojourns around France and their love for the classic French crepe.
We had a lot to talk about, Christine and I! Aside from our love of things French and femme, we also shared a common love for tea. In fact, it was La Creperie that first brought TWG Fine Teas to Manila, which was one of the reasons why I frequented their Shangri-La branch in the creperie’s earlier days! (My favorite is Vanilla Bourbon). They still carry TWG teas on the menu, which you can order iced or in a teapot, like I usually do.
We talked about the concept of La Creperie, and for the founding partners, it was really a business built purely out of passion for good food and the good life. “I’m no chef, but I enjoy good food, creating in the kitchen and re-living the tastes and cuisines I’ve had on my travels,” said Christine, who had lived in Paris for a time. Naturally, much of her time was spent discovering the tastes and delights of Paris and its neighboring regions.
An interesting fact is that Christine is actually a lawyer by profession, but has always been a creative entrepreneur at heart. In fact, the design and aesthetics of La Creperie were conceptualized by the owners. “We just knew what we wanted,” said Christine, referring to the tasteful interiors of the “Maison” branch.
I’ve already given my seal of approval on La Creperie as an ideal place for some “me time”, as a writer. I love how I can pop in here during the day, maybe for brunch or lunch, and just do some work on my own. The same goes for their other branches in Shangri-La Plaza, Eastwood Mall and Robinsons’ Veranda (Galleria). The cozy interiors; the conversation pieces that dot the interior; the yummy eats on the menu; everything ties together for a truly delightful experience.
Le crepes (bow.)
Christine herself supervised our menu for the afternoon, which consisted of some of her favorite crepes.
I don’t know about you, but I’m rather a “less is more” person when it comes to crepes. I’m not a fan of piling up the crepe with too many toppings or stuffing it with too much filling. Don’t give me fluff; give me elegance on a plate.
And this is why I love this particular — and their signature crepe and the one I always order whenever I’m at any La Creperie — The Salidou.
Hello, ma petite cherie.
I notice that most Pinoys feel like they have to top their desserts with a gazillion toppings before it’s “yummy.” You know, like those crazy monstrosities of a donut in Krispy Kreme, or those insanely over-topping’d frozen yogurts? (Which, I feel, rather defeats all “health” purposes of said frozen yogurt.) Well, I say it again: Less is more. And the Salidou is “less is more” on one perfect, buttery, salted-caramel plateful of dessert-ish “om.” I can meditate after a bite of this, seriously. It puts me in the best of moods.
The next was a savory galette that was a play on tapa and eggs. So yummy! Perfect for a light brunch, and sure to be a hit with the men!
I’m sorry, but I am partial to the gorgeous sweet crepes, which outnumbered the spread before us 3 to 1! Like this insanely delicious Crepe Brulee, which had a crisp, sweet, crusty topping that made me want to ask for another helping! And I should mention that there are only a few things make me go weak at the knees, one of those being fresh strawberries with cream.
Sweet mother of all things berry-creamy-licious.
Divinity, thy name is “crepe brulee.” This is what I imagine I’ll be eating daily in heaven.
My third favorite is another “off the menu” item, which is still nameless as of this writing, but which I call “Roux” (because of my love for the movie “Chocolat” and a certain Johnny Depp, who was delicious in that film!)
And when it comes to chocolate, you can never have too much with this crepe: A lightly browned, sugared crepe, dipped in (or poured over) with delicious, runny, gloriously thick Pinoy style tsokolate.
Incidentally, I am holding my next Write On, Mom workshop at one of the branches of La Creperie. (Details will only be given to registrants.) So if you want to channel your inner Hemingway or de Beauvoir, then join me for that. Details on signing up for the workshop here.
Or, if you just fancy an afternoon to yourself, with your favorite book, or maybe your writing itch and a journal or laptop, then stop by any of La Creperie’s branches. Who knows? We might just bump into each other.
403 F. Calderon St.,Bgy. Little Baguio (San Juan)
Eastwood Mall (Quezon City)
Shangri-la Mall (Mandaluyong)
Robinsons Veranda (Ortigas)
Phone: (02) 570 1788 | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaCreperiePH