By Valerie Demicheva
It’s hard to be a college student and fill your belly on a budget without dumpster diving or moving in with your parents. It’s especially hard in a city where food is god and the devout include everyone from bankers to baristas accustomed to paying $12 for a few micro-thin slices of ahi tuna at hotspots like Yuzu and Bar Crudo. So what’s a flavor-seeking writer without a trust fund to do?
This week I ran around SF seeking the hardy, the steaming, and the wrapped – crepes that is, for under $10. I ate crepes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. I thought I’d become revolted by the sight of these paper-thin porous cousins of a pancake. But as I delved into the plethora of San Francisco’s interpretations of the century old, classic French dessert, I realized that Socrates had it right: “The more you learn, the less you know.”
At Frjtz in the Mission, the walls are covered with local art, and the crepes are named after world-famous painters. With 27 options, I chose the Matisse – a trio of essential food groups for under $10. Though made on a slightly buttered pan, the salmon for protein, buckwheat for grains, and chives made a healthy and diverse meal.
If I’d known that the Matisse would fill me to the brim, I never would have ordered a Claudel Crepe for dessert – $6.75. I smacked my jaws on a few of the perfectly sticky caramelized apples underneath the soft triangular crepe, the size of a generous pizza slice. Needless to say, I had enough to take for leftovers.
La Belle Crepes on Union Street in the Marina District features a savory crepe with eggs, mushrooms and spinach was warm, basic and fresh – no frills, no thrills, just large and honest. It had spirit of an omelet, except here, the crepe was the glue that held it together instead of an egg.
La Belle was the right place to fill up on healthy calories for around $7 before trekking up the Fillmore steps to the next course – dessert with an emoticon! The chefs at Belly Good Café and chefs wear bandanas across their foreheads while concocting happy face crepes. Ice cream and M&M’s made a face possibly mistaken for a Sanrio character, starting at $4.50. It was a final treat on my crepe tour that was both tasty and cutesy.
If you go…
590 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-8272 La Belle Crepe 2165 Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 292-3535 Belly Good Cafe & Crepes 1737 Post St., #393
San Francisco, CA 94115