This year, leading up to our annual Menu of Menus issue, Kaitlin Steinberg counts down her 100 favorite dishes as she eats her way through Houston. She'll compile a list of the 100 dishes she thinks are the most awesome, most creative and, of course, most delicious in town. It's a list of her personal favorites, things she thinks any visitor or Houstonian ought to try at least once and dishes that seem particularly indicative of the ever-changing Houston food-scape. It's a list to drool over.
I could probably eat crepes for every meal. For dessert, I'd have Nutella-filled crepes or Crepes Suzette. For dinner, I could eat a crepe stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and cheese (and probably bacon), and for lunch I'd want a fresh fruit crepe with a cold bottle of Orangina.
And for breakfast, I'd eat one of Melange Creperie's perfect ham, egg and cheese crepes made hot and fresh right before your eyes from a little stand on the corner of Westheimer and Taft five days a week.
I was the only person there at 9:30 a.m. on my most recent crepe run, and "Buffalo" Sean Carroll greeted me with the enthusiasm of someone far too excited to be standing over two hot griddles in the hot September sun. Buffalo Sean, who owns Melange along with his wife, Tish Ochoa, immediately got to work ladling savory crepe batter onto the flat, circular griddle, then smoothing it into the thin pancake we know and love with a delicate wooden crepe spreader.
I'm most impressed with the quality of ingredients at the small crepe stand. Sean retrieved an egg from the depths of the cart and cracked it onto the crepe before spreading it around too to create an even layer of egg on the batter. He gave it a quick sprinkling of salt and pepper, then artfully flipped the entire thing over to cook a bit on the other side.
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After turning it once more, he produced a hunk of cheese and a miniature grater and began shredding a generous helping of cheddar on my crepe. Then he added slices of juicy pink ham, wrapped the compact meal into a triangle, and handed it to me with instructions for reheating. As if it would last long enough to require that.
I gobbled up the entire thing on my drive to work, swooning over the perfectly doughy but crisp-on-the-edges crepe and the obvious quality of the ham and cheese that are enveloped so comfortably in the crepe's delicate folds. It was savory and juicy and not so huge as to be unwieldy, which makes it the ideal on-the-go meal.
A crepe is such a simple, comforting food, but it can easily be ruined with the wrong ingredients or improper technique. At Melange, they have it down to an art form. Like masters of origami, they fold everything from ham to Nutella to palak paneer into a paper-thin envelope to create meals that are positively magnifique.
The list so far: No. 100: Bangkok Fries at Boheme No. 99: Almond Croissant at Phoenicia No. 98: Bulgogi Tacos with Kimchi at Chi'Lantro No. 97: Soft Pretzel from Mongoose Versus Cobra No. 96: Chicken and Waffles at Adair Kitchen No. 95: Sweet Potato Gnocchi at Brooklyn Athletic Club No. 94: Foie Gras Mac & Cheese at BRC Gastropub No. 93: Vuelve a la Vida Soup at Connie's Seafood No. 92: Homeroom at Bernie's Burger Bus No. 91: Lobster Cake Benedict at Sorrel Urban Bistro No. 90: Uncle Daryl's Cake at The Chocolate Bar No. 89: Porchetta e Fagioli at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino No. 88: Sesame Soft Balls at Golden Dim Sum No. 87: Crab Daddy Bao at Fat Bao