Monday, August 15, 2005

Gay Paris, Ce N'est Pas: La Creperie Cafe, Long Beach

(Whatchu smiling at, asshole?)

Someone please explain something to me.

What is the appeal of spending a weekend morning waiting an excruciating amount of time for a table at brunch?

I have rules for a pleasant Sunday afternoon which are simply to relax, unwind and spend quality time with friends and loved ones. After all, it's back to the stressful grind the day after, right? So there are certain things I try to keep in mind in achieving Sunday satisfaction.

1. Avoid crowds and long waits.

Seeing the huge crowd outside of La Creperie Cafe in Long Beach's Belmont Shores area, I would have normally turned around and walked away. But Isaac and I had already made brunch plans with a friend, so we decided to stick it out. Our friend had tried making reservations earlier but found out that they don't take them. Yeah, of course they don't. They want a crowd of people outside to show passers-by, "Hey! Look how popular we are! We know you wanna do what everyone else is doing and eat here too!" I think I was in denial when I approached the sorority-girl looking hostess at the podium thinking that maybe the wait would only be 10 or 15 minutes; nope, 30-45 she said. Then sorority girl hostess wrote only our party size down without my name when she was sidetracked by other conversations. I stared at her but she didn't notice. I kept staring. Finally she made eye contact. "Uh, are you ever gonna write my NAME down?" I asked her. "Oh, hee hee, yeah, uh...whats yer name?" OK, this is going to be fun.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, 30 minutes passed....
...then 45 minutes passed...

By this time, the three of us were starving. The friendly, happy conversation that took place in the first 20 or so minutes of waiting had turned into silence, watching everyone that came in and out of the restaurant like a hawk, the only words coming out of our mouths being, "Oh my God!!!! How much longerrrrrr????" or "I'm soooooo hungry." The funny thing was that as we were about to faint on the sidewalk, other parties that were waiting for tables who had been there just as long as we had seemed to be chatting away, laughing it up, having a great time letting their Sunday afternoon waste away standing outside a restaurant. Why???

It was about to be an hour and there was still one party of three ahead of us. Couples were whizzing by us as it seems the restaurant has an excess of tables for two, and as luck would have it, no adjacent tables seemed to have become available at the same time, making it impossible for them to push two together. Determined to find out what the story was, I walked into the restaurant and cased the joint, walking by all the people dining, determining if they had just started eating or if there was a check on the table. I'd look at the people, then down at the table, then back at the people. Seems like a lot of them were certainly done eating; they just weren't leaving and continued to talk and laugh and enjoy each other's company. Fucked up for us, but do I blame them? They'd probably waited over an hour for a table too!

Finally my name was called after what? An hour and ten? The food had BETTER be good.

It was decent. But not mindblowing by any means. And definitely NOWHERE NEAR worth the hour-plus wait. Or the lame service we got. Which brings me to the #2 thing to keep in mind to fully enjoy your Sunday afternoon...

2. Avoid stupid people.

We were seated near the back of the Parisian muraled dining room in a booth that was covered with crushed dark blue velvet. She came and took our order, our Sorority girl #2. My friend ordered mimosas for us then ordered her crepe. Isaac ordered the chili omelette. "Oh, we don't have chili today." Ooooh-kay. So he picked another omelette. She proceeded to walk away. "Uh, excuse me. You never took my order," I yelled...

She turned around. "Oops, duh!" *giggling* "I'm sorry, what would you like to order?"

Our mimosas couldn't have come soon enough. Made with fresh O.J. and who knows what kind of champagne, they were good, and helped to take the edge off for maybe a minute or two.

Some much needed mimosas

But then our orders came and the edge came right back. I looked at my crepe which was supposed to contain chicken and artichokes and instead got something that had bell peppers and sausages in it. My friend and Isaac could have started eating their plates...IF there were silverware on the table. Sorority Girl #2 came back to the table. "Is something wrong?" she asked, looking at us as if we were the crazy ones. Already irritable and hungry, I wanted to say, "Yeah, your face," but I held back.

While I waited for my replacement crepe, I snacked on our basket of garlic fries which were tasty but seemed like they'd be sitting under a heat lamp for a little too long. I took bites of my friend's Le Salmon crepe with fresh and smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and a lemon dill sauce. Its wheat flour based crepe was a little more doughy than I'd liked it to be, but it tasted good. Well it's the least they could do, right?

Salmon omelette

My French Riviera crepe arrived soon after and I immediately tore in, tired of snacking on garlic fries. It tasted OK, but was a little generic in its use of pre-made chicken breast. I couldn't decide if I was crazy about the cherry-basil cream sauce...was the cherry flavoring really necessary? Probably not.

My corrected crepe. Duh.

"Hmm, this is a pretty good veggie omelette," I thought, as I picked at his omelette while waiting for my crepe to be re-made. "But that's odd of him to go from chili to veg..."

Wrong omelette

I noticed that he started moving his fork more feverishly through the omelette. "I didn't order this! There's no HAM in this!"

Sorority Girl #2 was back at our table. Again. Which brings me to the #3 thing to note...

3. Avoid stupid people that try and make you look stupid.

Minutes later,
Jon Favreau looking manager guy comes to the table. "Is something wrong with the food?" We explained to him that this was the second order that they'd screwed up on. Turns out that Isaac actually got two of the omelette names mixed up. Jon Favreau manager guy agreed to fix the order for him, but made it a point to point his error out. Oh yeah, guy, like we're the stupid ones. Fucker.

The right omelette

As Isaac scarfed down his new omelette, this time containing the correct but average tasting blend of ham, onions, and potatoes, my friend and I did something risky and ordered more food. We hoped that some sugar--chocolate in particular--would help lift the spirits as it does with PMS. And trust me, this situation was starting to rival that time of the month. This time, fortunately, our Latin Lovers crepe of Nutella and banana arrived without a hitch and WITH silverware. I do have high standards on dessert crepes as I tend to compare everything to this heavenly Nutella and banana crepe I ate a few years ago in Paris's Latin Quarter. La Creperie Cafe's version didn't even compare, but it was quite yummy still, despite the beef I had with the crepe part not being quite delicate enough.

Even Nutella couldn't save this place

I broke all my rules, which with the exception of having a great time just being with Isaac and my friend, ended up ruining my Sunday afternoon. I certainly hope that this was an off day for them at La Creperie, but I don't think I'll ever go back to find out. Don't take my word for it though. If this is the way you like to spend your Sundays with your friends and loved ones--almost three hours combined of waiting and jacked up service from not too intelligent people--then this is the place for you!

La Creperie Cafe
4911 E. 2nd St. (BTW, they moved and have not updated their website with the new address)
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 434-8499


Kirk said...

How appropriate - LA creep at LA crepe! I just don't know where these morons find people like that - in a "service" industry...

BoLA said...

Agh! I would have made a complete scene with my tantrums and flailing arms crying out, "This is RIDICULOUS!" They just lost my business! ;P Fooey on them!

elmomonster said...

Gosh...that sounded like a horrible experience! Thanks for the warning...if I'm ever awake early enough on the weekend, I'll be sure to avoid that Le Creperie,

Some guy in California said...

Man, what a crappy experience. I enjoyed the couple of meals I've had there so far, but I also had much better service and didn't have to wait three hours to get in. I think my longest wait there was about...15 minutes or so. I think the food is pretty decent (though I wasn't a big fan of the crepe bolognese I had), but I certainly wouldn't wait for three hours. I think the restaurant's popularity is definitely making the service, and probably the food, suffer.

Daily Gluttony said...


Yeah, I don't understand how that happened either; when service industry people start acting like that I wanna be like, "Uh, wait a minute. YOU'RE the one who clocked in, not me. So stop acting like you're better than me" Go figure.


Trust me. I was tempted.


Don't miss out on an hour plus wait and bad service and mediocre food on my account. Decide for yourself! Ha ha

Some Guy,

Actually, I'm glad you had better experiences. I really do hope it was an off day for them. I have friends who live in the area and I would hate to know that there's one less decent restaurant for them to eat at. Me on the other hand, I'm never going back.

~a~ said...

Nope it wasn't an off day. I actually went back last Saturday night & the service was just as bad as it was the first time we went. And because we were a large party, they actually had the nerves to slap on a 20% gratuity in spite of their sh*tty service. As for your friend's who live in the area who might be curious to try the food at this restaurant you may want to tell them to consider ordering their food to go. That way they don't have to deal with the stupid people who work there.

sara said...

I went there recently but it was at night. I had a completely different experience. Everyone was really nice, I thought the crepes were great and got seated right away. They had a great blues band playing as well, the atmosphere was nice. The only complaint I had was the gay box they put your bill in at the end of the dinner.

Anonymous said...

to all of you morrons, I have been a customer to la creperie for 5 years your are all full of doodoo(crap, shit, no brain idiots), yes maybe they had a bad day but that was there first two months open and yes they had problems in the begining but i still come back and the service and food is still as good as ever. If you want to write something bad its ok but use your brains.

LA said...

I totally feel your pain. I've had a similar experience at Christy's, another Long Beach main stay. As much as I've loved the food at Christy's in the past, one terrible experience has completely ruined that place for me.

To date, I've had good service and enjoyed my meals at Le Creperie, but I shall take heed in the future.

GrĂ¼ndel said...

It sounds like you're just a very over dramatic person, who isn't satisfied with anything. Although I do believe you on the long wait... and you know why? Because it's a very good restaurant, with good food for a good price, and has a very good atmosphere, thats great for having conversations and makes you feel comfortable.

Get over yourself :)

Anonymous said...

This place started across the street as a hole in the wall that was about 1/4 to 1/3 the size. They quickly outgrew themselves for a reason - that's all about I can offer.

I don't go there as often anymore - we dropped by 75% the times we will pick this place to eat. Not because there is anything particularly wrong now with food/service - but rather because it's no longer a good local place to eat - we have been inundated with a bunch of non-local gripers that come here and drink too much, talk too loud and fill Second street with behavior we can't tolerate anymore.

As for the service - it isn't great - but you have the final word in the tip as long as you come in tables of 7 or less - so speak your mind there and be open to teh experience. And remember that for the decent price of the food, you are getting good music, a great dessert and good atmosphere. If Candy, Jenny, Dallas or whatever other 20 year old waitress they give you forgets the fork, I wouldn't queen out and let it ruin my night. Let's not forget that the country that gave birth to the idea of "Customer service" has lost it's way in far more places than just this restaurant. I am not going to freak out on a place where I can eat, drink and have dessert for 25.00 and her some good blues or jazz.

Anonymous said...

this is jon favreau!
i remember your table even a year later!
3 desperate bitches!!!
you guys don`t have anything else to do?
even i do not work there no more-the creperie is a great place to eat & the service is excellent!
BOOOOYA & get a got damn life!

Anonymous said...

Hey.. This description of Le crapper-ie is precisely perfect. I was in there last night; I brought some friends with me on a 20min drive b/c I actually did like the food the first time I was there... So we were quoted at a 10-15 min wait... yeah should of known it was too good to be true! After waiting over 40mins I went up to the hostess only to hear another unlucky soul pleading his case. Same story as mine basically but he'd been waiting longer.

Too make an extreamly long story shorter... he left... as I should have... I stayed only to have some a$$ (pardon my "French") of an owner seat two random parties (most likely friends of his!) of 6 then 5 at my table(s) (All Confirmed by the hostess!!!!) Then he proceeded to try and play me by coming up to our table to insist that "I didn't seat anyone before you..." In the words of Shakespear, "The girl she doth protest too much!"

It was horrible food backed by them not having two different selections of Wine ... followed by unexcusible servie... topped off with an owner who is unwilling to admitt his error. A simple "sorry for the delay" would have saved the whole deal for me...

Now... I will never return, and hopefully this will find someone before they too make the mistake of waisting their time and money.

Anonymous said...

to whoever wrote this stupid blog about le creperie...

you sound like the kind of person that every restaurant- and pretty much any place where YOU would need attention- would hate to have. i can understand the long wait, but if you're going to write a review at least be mature about it. sorority girl #1 and #2?? Jon Favreau?? It sounds like this was more about your own personal bitterness with life. Trust me, I don't work at le creperie and have only been there once, but you went above and beyond to put them down in ways that had nothing to do with their service. If you didn't like what was in your crepe, whose fault was that?? I know they have descriptions on their menu. If you want to complain and have them fix your food after you were stupid enough to order something you had no knowledge about, then your obviously going to have to wait for them to fuckin' make it. Shit just doesn't appear out of thin air for a retarded customer who chooses to cries about it, so quit your whining and next time eat a TV dinner. No one should have to deal with you.

cynthia said...

Le Creperie has some pretty tasty crepes. Great menu, good wine, LOVE that they have a cheese plate with no cheddar or some American bullshit like that (pepperjack anyone?). And ya, to those snot nosed brats who complain about the wait that this place promises, um... it's a great restaurant! Sucks that people like you take up tables when I could be eating there. Really, don't complain and write a huge blog when YOU order the wrong thing. And sorority girl #1&2 maybe slighty less dedicated to their job than they should be, but get over it. It's not a fucking five star restaurant and they don't get paid to kiss your ass. So leave them alone. They're cute, let them be. But as for anyone who is considering dining there, it is always very yummy. I'd urge you to go, but it would only increase my wait for a table when I go, so for that reason if you are not going to enjoy it as it should be enjoyed, I would say stay home. This restaurant gets a thumbs up from me!