Tale of Two Burgers and the Mini Scooters

A linguist friend told me recently that the correct pronunciation of crêpe is “kreap” not “krape.” Like how a Scotsman might say, “Eh, this shepherd’s pie tastes like kreap.” I wonder if we changed the pronunciation sounds the food would sound more appealing.

Nevertheless, this is a blog about hamburgers. Let us proceed. While drinking my soy chai latte at Crêpeville, the 24th Street and 2nd Avenue location, I thought why not have a head-to-head comparisons with Crêpeville’s burger and the burger offered at Crêpe Escape, the 3445 Freeport Boulevard location.

I have been to both of these restaurants more than once. While crêpes are their specialties, they clearly have on each of their colorful blackboard menus a house burger. I used to come to this Crêpeville when it was the Café Mélange. I drank lattes and paid a Senior Master in chess to hand me my ass once a week. The point was to see where I was making mistakes. When it became clear that I sucked–and I did not want to invest the time and energy to get better I broke it off.

The only good thing I remembered about those sessions was that we played in the upper room. When I was not losing at chess, I enjoyed drinking espresso drinks upstairs. It was a nice place, but when Crêpeville bought the place, they turned the upstairs area into an office. Whenever I come into Crêpeville, I always look up hoping to find they have opened up the room to customers again.

I do not know what Crêpe Escape was before it was Crêpe Escape. The drab brown building never caught my eye in all the years I lived in the area as Crêpeville does. The two times I ate at Crêpe Escape I had items (probably crêpes) that were not memorable. Still, the online consumer reviews are mostly positive so maybe the problems were unique to the two times I was there.

Crêpeville’s “The Burger” consists of a 1/2 lb of ground chuck with sautéed red onions, mushrooms, avocado, jack cheese, and mayonnaise on a sesame bun. I used to love sautéed or grilled onions over raw onions, but it now depends on what kind of onions: if the onions are yellow or white I say grill/sauté them, but the sweet taste of the red onion is lost to some extent when cooked.

The patty was on the dry side. Ordering well-done beef can do that, however, a skilled cook does not have to dry the patty out to achieve well-done burger. There is a happy medium or I would not order my hamburgers well-done. Crêpeville’s burger missed the mark on its most essential aspect. “The Burger” is not a conventional hamburger: it does not come with lettuce, tomato, and pickle. The creator obviously left these out (since it is not noted in the burger’s description on the menu. Instead, a generous portion of fresh avocado stands in for the tomato and veggies. This seems like an original, or at least different, idea: the avocado in place of the usual stuff (rather than along side the usual stuff).

Crêpe Escape’s “The Burger Escape” is more conventional, consisting of a ½ lb of Black Angus beef, cheddar cheese, tomato, red onions, pickles, mayonnaise on a sesame bun. This well-done patty was much juicier than the one at Crêpeville, proving you can have it both ways. “The Burger Escape” has Romaine lettuce, tomato, raw red onion, and pickles. When it comes to burger accoutrements, I prefer the traditional lettuce, tomato, raw onion, and pickles to a substitute like avocado and/or sautéed mushrooms and onions, I like the contrast when I bite into a burger: the warm patty, and cheese, the crisp veggies and tomato, and the soft bread. It is all about the confluence of these flavors and consistencies as they hit your taste buds. Though I often like my onions grilled, if you are going to use red onions cool and crisp is the way to go. Too bad “The Burger Escape” did not have sautéed mushrooms, that was the one thing that stood out on Crêpeville’s burger..

Crêpeville’s “The Burger” costs $8.50 and comes with a side of roasted red potatoes. The potatoes are well seasoned and very tasty. I would rather have these than the boring thick fries that come with “The Burger Escape.” It is tragic how I will jam the entire portion of fries in my mouth while writing how run-of-the-mill they are!

As a healthy alternative to “The Burger,” Crêpeville offers a smoked tofu burger that comes with all the fixings that are on their beef burger. “The Burger Escape,” which goes for $7.45, is the only burger on Crêpe Escape’s menu, however, there were burgers written on the Specials whiteboard including a turkey burger and a burger with avocado and provolone cheese, but it is unclear how often these alternatives are available.

While I prefer the Crêpeville’s environment and general atmosphere, I was not crazy about the less-than-excited servers. The flies that flew freely from the two open doors vying for my meal were also a downer. There were no flies at Crêpe Escape, but the digs are commonplace. (I also had to put up with a whaling baby through most of my stay.) Overall, I might return for Crêpe Escape’s burger someday, but I will stick with crêpes and my sissy soy chai lattes when I visit Crêpeville again—which I am sure I will someday soon.

The Mini scooters are coming!

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