The first thing I noticed when I entered Crepes + Kitchen on Wilshire Blvd. near La Brea Ave. was the friendly greeting from the owners Yafit Barades and Jacqueline Soletzky. These ladies are genuinely nice to every person who walks in their door. They are also passionate about dogs and have a jar of treats for their furry friends who walk up to the glass door. These ladies work with No Kill LA and are always happy to help a customer looking to adopt a dog.
Another passion for the two women is coffee. “Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee,” reads a sign on the wall. They sell great coffee by Longshot, an Australian roast based in Los Angeles. It’s a lighter roast than most American coffee chains and offers a subtle mocha flavor with a natural sweetness. Coffee comes in 8 oz. and 12 oz. sizes with a hot drip, espresso, Americano, traditional Macchiato and lattes. I started with a Chai Latte as I looked over the menu.
These charming ladies have been friends for years and share a common passion for food. They took over a crepe stand at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market five years ago. Soon they opened stands in three other farmer’s markets, including the Gene Autry’s parking lot and South Pasadena.
They made crepes to order, sold coffee and French bakery items. They also did an “old-school” trade with the farmers. If the farmers gave them fresh produce, they would prepare delicious crepes for them to eat.
Barades is an expert crepe maker, and I tasted her Italiano with turkey, melted mozzarella and cheddar, fresh spinach and basil, tomatoes, roasted peppers and pesto. The
thin crepe is served folded at the bottom and open face at the top revealing a colorful array of ingredients.
Barades grew up in Israel and has fond memories of going to a crepe shop located next to the town’s movie theatre. They sold sweet crepes made with Nutella and a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream with whipped cream. “It was an ideal treat after seeing a movie,” she said.
Soletzky is a master in salads and dressings. Her tuna salad is made without mayonnaise and instead mixes three different mustards with olive oil, lemon juice, artichoke, salt and pepper and lets it marinate overnight. I tried the tuna on a crispy French baguette and grilled in Panini machine brining all of the delightful flavors together.
All of the bread and pastries are from France Bakery on Fletcher near Silverlake. They deliver fresh almond and regular croissants, muffins, whole wheat and French baguettes along with a savory rosemary bread at 4 a.m. every weekday morning. “Whatever we have left at the end of the day, we give to our neighbors. We don’t like to waste food,” Barades said.
I sampled four of Soletzky and Barades salads and enjoyed each immensely. The organic Asian salad with chicken offers a dressing with a touch of peanut butter for sweetness. It also has paprika and cayenne to give it a hint of heat. The sesame oil soothes the flavors.
The couscous salad with housemade balsamic vinegar dressing offers a nice crunch of the cucumbers, orange bell peppers and ripe tomatoes. Kalamata olives give this salad a zing.
The Mediterranean salad is filled with chopped farmer’s market vegetables with Feta cheese. The Tahini dressing is made with soy sauce, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.
While eating, I admired the artwork hanging on the walls. I learned that the pieces were made by friends they met while working at the Gene Autry Farmers Market. One large piece in red and white has the words “Make Life Delish” with little white forks and knives in the background. Another says, “Cest La Vie.”
The cold display case offers patrons a peek of the salads made for the day. There are wraps available in sundried tomato, spinach or regular tortillas depending on the day.
While Barades was preparing two different sweet crepes to try, an attractive woman and her black French bulldog, Brasky, walked up to the glass door. Brasky looked in to see if his favorite human friends were inside. “There is our mascot,” Soletzky said. “Every French café needs a French bulldog.”
Barades made a simple cinnamon sugar and butter crepe with powder sugar that was a light and sweet treat. Barades also made a Nutella crepe with sliced strawberries and bananas topped with whipped cream. It was presented beautifully and tasted even better than it looked.
As I left, this darling duo gave me the same warm goodbye that they give their customers and a well wish to have a great day. Not only is the food worth coming for, but these gals make everyone who visits feel special and at home.
Open right now Monday through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Soon they may extend their hours and open for the weekends. Come in and meet some of the friendliest neighbors along the Miracle Mile, while enjoying their delicious French fare. $ 5223 Wilshire Blvd. (323)933-3403.
This article was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on April 3, 204