Wednesday, January 31, 2007

CrepeVine - surprisingly tasty strip mall lunch

Tallahassee's exposure to French cuisine seems a little light, particularly on the Pensacola drag not far from the FSU campus. And now that there's the CrepeVine nestled in between the Gold's Gym and Hungry Howie's, well, the connection's still pretty light.

That said, the CrepeVine is an attractive little lunch spot - trendy and clean - with admirably creative wraps, and solid execution across all fronts. The menu is small and split into savory and sweet. The savory side is made up of half a dozen pre-configured crepes - generally a few meats (roast beef, chicken, ham), a couple of veggies, gooey mozarella, and a sauce - and some options for build-your-own. The sweet side is basically the same deal, with nutella and various sweet creamy things as fillings. Good? Yes, surprisingly good, if a bit greasy. French? Nope. Think of this things as smack in the middle between a gyro and a burrito and you've pretty much got the picture. The crepes are thick (for a crepe), substantial, and slightly sweet, and served gyro style with the bottom wrapped in parchment paper to hold the drippy sauce. Eating is a hold and chew operation - this is not a forkable crepe.

There are maybe 4 or 5 tables, mostly with low stools instead of actual chairs. The music is loud but not to the MoMo's in-your-face standard. There are two big LCD TVs playing nothing in particular, but it adds to the chic look of the place. One minor but welcome perk: they have Fiji water - almost every ther spot I've been to here is Dasani or the tap.

All told, I had a pre-config crepe (The Wobbles) and a bottle and spent a sliver more than 8 bucks. Good deal. This one gets onto the regular list.

As a side note: I may have had a significantly more enthused reaction had a not recently been introduced to one of the most phenomenal lunch joints I've ever encountered - the similarly themed, much lower budget, and much better FlipHappy on South Lamar in Austin.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Restarting the blog at solid cuban dive Gordo's in Tallahassee

It's been a couple of years - no less travel, no fewer interesting meals, just sort of lost interest after the first post or two.

For the last year, its been Tallahassee. In on Monday, back out to Austin on Thursday. A few other spots between.

Tallahassee is not a food town. Mostly, that sort of sucks, since food towns are much more exciting places to eat on a regular basis. But there are a few perks: quirky local places survive that in more sophisticated cities would be bulldozed to make way for look-alike asian-fusion upscale diners with rectangle plates. The lower bar means, well, lower bars: holes in the wall abound, and even the places that make at a go at fancy end up doing much more of their own thing than in places like Atlanta or DC or even Austin.

Today I ate lunch Gordo's near Pensacola and Ocala. It's a well worn place, a little dirty, with decoration flourishes primarily made up of beer posters, tropical-themed murals, and a tiny old television perched precariously on a shelf near the mens room. The food is cheap and solidly decent. Today I had the yellow rice - arroz con pollo. Very subtle, mild spices - not sure what all was in it, saffron and maybe cumin, chunks of tender chicken, rice and peas, fried plantains on the side. I've been a couple of days. The service, especially sitting outside is friendly and really really slow.

And that's more or less what it takes to get back on the circuit. I'll try to up my average 1.5 posts per year, and see where it goes from here.

Gordo's on Urbanspoon


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