We often get the request from our readers to talk about what we do on those occasions when we go out. Dining out gluten-free is often difficult for people in and of itself, let alone Paleo or grass-fed or organic or nightshade-free or any one of the other strict requirements that individuals may have with their own Paleo template. In response to those requests, we’ve decided to start a local restaurant review series of places that we eat at in the tri-state Metro DC area (if you’re not local, that’s Northern Virginia, District of Columbia, and Southern Maryland).
These will cover all types of restaurants that we enjoy, but every one will have something special about them that makes them relevant to our gluten-free and Paleo readership. Today, we talk about our favorite treat splurge – a hole-in-the-wall crepe shop called Crepe Amour.
Style: Fast Casual (Fast casual restaurants prepare food quickly, but to order. Wait time usually 5-10 minutes)
Price: Less than $5-10 per crepe.
Where: Currently in Vienna, Virginia at 407 Maple Avenue East
Why is it special?
One of the things we were missing in our life but never realized were crepes. Up until a year ago, we were making thick, American pancakes without realizing that the French had perfected the art form years ago by making them really thin and filling them with other delicious stuff. When Crepe Amour (previously a food truck) moved from Georgetown, DC (far away, no parking, crowded) to Vienna, VA (much closer!) we found ourselves stumbling in for dinner and leaving as winners at life. And they didn’t have to break our arms to get us to say that we love really thin pancakes!
When Stacy comes home from work in Tyson’s Corner, there are two way to get back to our house: the highway way, and the get my nails painted way. If she’s stopping to get her nails done, she’ll pass through my favorite town in Virginia – Vienna. The downtown area of Vienna would seem to be a commercial wasteland of strip malls at first until you look closer and realize that these shopping centers are full of unique independent or local businesses that give the flavor of a small town but with big convenience. The one and a half mile stretch of Maple Avenue is home to some of the best shops and restaurants in Fairfax County, including Maple Avenue Market, Pho ‘n More (for gluten-free ramen), Sushi Yoshi (infamous here for deep-fried fish heads), Silva’s Patisserie (with a gluten-free owner) Trousseau, Big Planet Comics, and Stacy’s Organic Nails and Spa. And on one of these trips home, Stacy found herself pulling in at Crepe Amour, checking on if they had gluten-free crepes for her dinner.
And boy did they! Stacy ordered her first crepe that night and was hooked. She spent the next month taking anyone who was interested to the crepe store to experience the joys of a classic creperie, gone gluten-free! We tried them for breakfast, for lunch, and for dinner and explored as much of the menu as we could. This ranks as one of our favorite accidental discoveries in the area and we still bring out of town guests here to experience really thin pancakes with us.
The crepes themselves are made with buckwheat flour, eggs, milk, oil and water. Wait, buckwheat? Don’t be fooled by the name! Buckwheat isn’t at all related to wheat. It comes from the seed of a flowering plant related to sorrel and rhubarb. So while Crepe Amour can’t be called truly Paleo, it is grain-free, which is definitely a wonderful gluten-free treat.
When you order, you can customize the fillings of your crepe with a variety of fresh savory ingredients like chicken, avocado, spinach, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, and a variety of sauces, as well as sweet ingredients like fresh fruits, nuts and chocolate. There are also a variety of named combinations you can choose from. Then they make it fresh right in front of you! There’s something really appealing about watching your food cooking in front of you that is exciting, particularly if you’re a child (or grown-up).
The only drawback of this place is the limited seating. There are maybe 8 seats inside, and a few more at the outside tables. And when it gets busy, you might be frustrated finding a place to sit down. Few things can make you as anxious as having delicious food in your hands, but no place to sit and eat it!
What We Order
Before the criticism rolls in, this restaurant is certainly not fully Paleo. This is the type of place we enjoy on occasion as part of our “20%” in order to live a sustainable life that still allows us to be our healthiest. We love that the shop cleans the griddle and separates the batter in another area to avoid cross-contamination. It’s perfect for our family and our closest Paleo (and non-Paleo) friends have all marveled at what a worthy treat it is as well!
- Jean’s Dijon: Honey roasted turkey, gruyere, baby spinach, sub dijonnaise for dijon mustard, add egg
- Poulet Gruyere: Lemon herb roasted chicken, gruyere, cracked pepper, sauteed mushrooms, Dijonnaise, sub avocado for roasted red peppers
- Lady Suzette: Melted butter, natural cane sugar, shaved dark chocolate, Grand Marnier
- Da Vinci: Lemon herb roasted chicken, basil pesto, plum tomatoes, mozzarella
- Bombay Dhaba: Tandoori marinated chicken strips, roasted red peppers, spicy curry aioli, cilantro
- Strawberry Patch: Strawberries, powdered sugar, fresh lemon, whipped cream
- Monsieur: Black forest ham, cheddar, sauteed mushrooms
- Steve’s Job: Baked cinnamon apples, almonds, caramel
- Dr. Seuss: Egg, black forest ham, cheddar, add avocado
- Bananalicious: Hazelnut chocolate, bananas
- Dr. Seuss: Egg, black forest ham, cheddar, add avocado
- French Toast: Egg, cinnamon, blueberries, maple syrup
Although in all honesty, we usually each order one savory and then share 1-2 dessert crepes among us – they are really huge!
Looking for an interesting treat in the northern Virginia area? You won’t be disappointed with an awesome and filling crepe from Crepe Amour!