Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Where The Wild (Blueberry) Things Are

If one were to doubt the power or effectiveness of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, I am here to tell you that while these particular websites may come and go over the next decade, the concept of being connected and sharing information is here to stay. Restaurants would do themselves a great service by wholly embracing this concept as a way of promoting themselves and trying to lure in guests. Even something simple like listing the daily specials can go a long way to getting customers to think about you. Today's late breakfast at Flury's Cafe serves as a perfect example.

After my last wonderful lunch at Flury's, I discovered that the owner, Kim Dunchuck, had set up a Facebook fan page for the restaurant. It was a no-brainer for me to become a fan of this little eatery. Once added to my other fan pages, anytime the page was updated, I got notified in my News Feed. Logging in last night, I noticed that one of the specials for today was wild blueberry crepes with butter and brown sugar. My first thought was, "Yum!" My second thought was, "Where on earth do you get wild blueberries in Ohio at this time of year?" As much as I tried to get the thought of those crepes out of my mind, I had been thinking of them non-stop since last night.

Realizing that the only way to purge the thought from my mind was to satisfy the craving and order them. I showed up at Flury's today at around 11:45 AM hoping that I would be able to find a open stool in this tiny sixteen seat restaurant; I was in luck. My server dropped off a menu and told me about the day's specials (including potato soup and sloppy joes), but having been thinking about those crepes all morning, I knew exactly what I wanted.

Flury's Cafe does so much of their menu from scratch, including the desserts. Today there were peanut butter cookies and banana bread with icing available. Just like my previous visit, samples were available to try and drive sales. Before taking my order, my server offered me a small bite of the banana bread:

While the quickbread was a little dried out from sitting on an uncovered plate for a while, the flavor was intensely banana and delicious. The icing surprised me as I figured it was probably simply vanilla. Instead, a note of lemon began to emerge in my mouth once the sweetness subsided a little bit. Overall, it was a delicious bite and had I not come to quench my sweet tooth on blueberry crepes, I might have left with a slice.

It turned out that the blueberry crepes came with one side: Ham, sausage, bacon, or your choice of eggs. Kind of in the mood for bacon AND eggs, I asked if it would be possible to get a side of eggs as well. Considering that the crepes with one side was only $6.25, an extra $1.90 seemed reasonable for two eggs, sunny side up. While there were probably four times as many customers in the restaurant today as the last time, it didn't take long before my crepes were placed in front of me:

As good as the crepes look in the picture, they tasted even better. These were sensational! The freshly griddled crepes were incredibly tender and cut with the barest pressure from my fork. I was convinced right away that the blueberries were indeed wild due to their small size, slight chew, and intense blueberry flavor. The flavors from the butter and brown sugar served as an undercurrent to the primary flavor of the blueberries; subtle, yes, but I could definitely pick up on it. I was told by my server that as good as the blueberry crepes were, the strawberry crepes were out of this world. I found it hard to believe given the plate of food I had been served, something else out there existed that would be even better. Since Flury's rotates the crepes every week, I know it's only a matter of time before I see the strawberry show up. And you better believe my butt will be on that bar stool with fork in hand.

My eggs and bacon showed up on a secondary plate:

The bacon was nicely crisped and was quite tasty. I alternated between bites of the salty bacon and the sweet blueberry crepes to maximize the sweet and salty flavors that I so love to combine. The eggs were served unseasoned, although bits of egg that touched the bacon strips did pick up a bit of seasoning. I didn't have a chance to pick the cook's brain about why the eggs don't get salt and pepper, but I will say that this is not unusual for a diner/cafe to not season the eggs at all.

Once the cook had a chance to breathe for a moment, I asked her about the crepes and the wild blueberries. Crepe batter can be tricky in that it has to sit for at least an hour after initially blending it up in order for the gluten to relax and fully absorb all of the liquid. Only then will you be rewarded with ultra-tender crepes. Aware of this fact, the crepe batter was actually made the night before and allowed to hydrate all night. I then turned my questions toward the wild blueberries. Apparently Sysco Corporation, a major player in the food and food-related products distribution business, has been able to source frozen wild blueberries. While the cook couldn't remember the exact provenance of these particular berries, it didn't diminish how intense and delicious they were. I half wanted to lick the platter clean after finishing my crepes; perhaps if I had been the only customer, I would have.

I cannot reiterate how neat Flury's Cafe is. Both of my experiences have been friendly and down-to-earth. The fact that the food was inventive, and most importantly, delicious, only goes to underscore some of the reasons that I know I will continue to go back and highly recommend that you give them a try as well if you haven't had the opportunity. The staff will take excellent care of you, regardless of whether you write a food blog or not.

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