Joie de Crêpe Brings Joy No More
I really wish I didn’t have to do this.
However, due to a recent trip back to Joie de Crêpe, I feel like I need to write a retraction of some sort. A place where I could once get the best crêpe I’ve ever eaten on this side of the Atlantic, has turned into an establishment I wouldn’t ever go back to.
It’s bad, kids. Pretty damn bad.
For those of you unfamiliar, Joie de Crêpe is a downtown crêperie that opened up earlier this summer, and was also subject of my very first post. Unfortunately, the Joie de Crêpe I raved about then has transformed into an entirely different beast.
During my last visit several weeks ago, I noticed right off the bat something was off. Instead of being able to order at the counter like a quick service restaurant, we were told to have a seat and to look at the menu. This was a small change, but it made a big impact.
One of the best things about crêpes is that they are essentially a fast food. One crêpe can be made in about 2-4 minutes, depending on what you’re putting inside it. This is why you only ever hear of crêpe stands in France — the crêpe is a snack that is meant to be eaten on the go.
After looking at the menu, my friend and I decided on the Belgian waffle and the chicken pesto crepe (both of which I had tasted before). While we sipped our French press coffee, we noticed something odd. There were stretches of 15 to 20 minutes at a time when no food was coming out of the kitchen. This was the first major clue that something was wrong.
Since crêpes take almost no time to make, that much time going by without any food appearing makes you wonder what’s going on in the kitchen. There were also several times during our wait where (presumably) the chef came out and was asking the waitress questions. Second major clue.
Finally after a 40 minute wait, our food arrived. I can’t even describe to you the angst I felt as the waitress sat it down in front of me. Our waffle was completely raw in the middle, and looked nothing at all like the magical treat I had tasted earlier in the year. In fact, it looked like a normal waffle. It was so sad looking — so pale and undercooked — complete with a blasphemous side of Aunt Jemima.
The crêpe was inedible as well. It was hard and crunchy like a tortilla, and when we cut into it almost half a cup of oil spilled out onto our plate. The entire thing had been infused with the intolerably bitter taste of oil that had been cooking at too high of a heat. It also came with cheddar cheese, when the menu stated mozzarella.
Now I’m not upset that our order was wrong. I’m not even that angry that I had to shell out $20 for a meal that we couldn’t even eat. I’m upset because Joie de Crêpe broke my heart.
When I heard State College was getting its very own crêperie, I was so excited that I tracked it’s progress until the opening day. When I tasted their biscoff and banana crêpe for the first time, I was overwhelmed with happiness. How could you take something so ingenious and delicious and just let it go to shit?
After this outing, I prayed that the issues I had experienced were just a one-time thing. After talking to several other people, all of whom have visited Joie de Crêpe over the past two months, it doesn’t seem to be the case. Hopefully some action will be taken in the near future, and Joie de Crêpe will be restored to its former glory. As of right now though, I have some sad advice — just stay away.