(A version of this review was published on the Hater Magazine blog; a shorter version will appear in the upcoming May issue). “Buffalo” Sean Carroll is wearing a plaid fedora with lavender wildflowers tucked into the brim. He is cheerfully chatting up the small throng of customers patiently surrounding his crêpe stand before the Art Car parade and ably manning a circular crêpe griddle situated in his tiny stand stationed in the Mango’s parking lot. He ladles batter onto the center of the stove and then spreads it outward with a spatula. His methods seem easy enough. But his laidback demeanor and the simplicity of the egg, flour and milk components of his crêpe batter belie the true difficulty and precision of his craft. Yet Carroll and crêpes, it seems, were meant for each other.
With a degree in Art History, Carroll’s appreciation for the crêpe formed during his honeymoon in Paris. Carroll instantly fell in love with the performance and ritual behind preparation of the Parisian street food. After an unfortunate string of failed museum jobs in our tough economy over the last year and a half, Carroll turned to the crêpe. He honed his knowledge of crêpe craftsmanship watching YouTube videos, purchased a stand and crêpe griddle, secured a city permit, and set up shop on his asphalt home in front of Mango’s.
Those of you who have ever tried making crêpes at home or who’ve seen Alton Brown’s Crêpe Expectations episode know that crêpes are a veritable bitch to make. You need the perfect ingredient ratio for a light, delicate batter and a quick blending method for smoothness. In our experience, a trashcan full of scorched or fat, lumpy crêpe batter taught us two things: 1. We suck at making crêpes and 2. Crêpe-making is an art form, an art form that Carroll has perfected.
Above: ham, egg & cheddar. Below: andouille & spinach.
The menu rotates weekly, the goal being to pay tribute to each of Houston’s 200 cultures. Offerings range from tabouli with avocado and chicken with pesto, to classics like the ham, egg and cheddar or bananas with Nutella we sampled. You can follow Melange Creperie’s times, location and menu updates via their Twitter page – @MelangeCreperie.