Chewing the Fat
Crêpe Cart Chow
A few words with Richard Agee, the guy behind La Crêperie Roulante
So you're a hot dog guy now, huh?
Yeah, right [snarls menacingly].
Seriously, you make beautiful crêpes and yet all the drunk people stumbling out of the bars ask you for hot dogs. Does that bother you?
Naw, that's why I got hot dogs, cuz there's guys who pull their last two dollars out and I'm happy to take 'em. But I do use Alpine Sausage House Vienna sausages for my hot dogs. I use Alpine for all my sausages.
What other sausages?
I got Polish, Italian, and then I rotate between knockwurst, bratwurst and turkey green chile brats. I doctor up my sauerkraut by soaking it to get the brine out, then cooking it again with white wine and caraway seeds. That's an old German method. They brine the kraut to preserve it, but that doesn't mean that's how you're supposed to eat it.
For the ignorant ones among us, what is a crêpe, exactly?
Well, it's a pancake in it's most basic form. It's not leavened in any way, and it's so thin. That's the best part about them, that they're so thin. I use a crêpeuse, this propane-powered cast-iron crepe griddle from Brittany.
What do you do with the crêpes?
Depending on the day, I mostly do sweet crêpes. I have homemade preserves, Nutella, chocolate ganache, butter and honey. Occasionally I'll do a savory crêpe. The business was built around being a crêperie, but the kitchen in the cart is set up so that I can do anything, like sandwiches.
What kind of sandwiches?
I do Italian-style sandwiches, like a panini caprese with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and balsamic—like the salad, but I make it into a sandwich. I get my mozzarella from Relish and baguettes from Le Paris and TLC. The caprese is my third top seller.
What are your top two sellers?
With the bar crowd, it's the Philly and the Burque turkey: turkey, bacon, green chile and my homemade cheese sauce—which is, I must say, bad ass. And I'm using the Alpine Sausage Kitchen's smoked bacon.
You sell pretzels, too, but they don't look like regular pretzels.
Yeah, they do. [Bickering ensues.] ... They're Swiss-style pretzels. I make the dough every day, boil them and then bake them. The fact that they're boiled is what makes the crust chewy. I don't salt them because I only use sea salt and the sea salt dissolves on top of the pretzels. I don't like the overprocessed flavor of kosher salt or margarita salt either.
Where can we find you?
Mostly I've been Downtown on Gold, between Third and Fourth, in front of Burt's and Atomic Cantina. I get good response there Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
What's the hardest part of having a mobile food business?
Parking. Getting a good location. Gas prices. We should impeach George Bush for raping the American public so his oil buddies can get rich.
Right! But it must be great to be your own boss.
Yeah, look at me! I'm drinking beer in the Alibi office on Monday afternoon and now I'm gonna go watch soccer!