Today I cheated on IcedGems. I was lured in by the carrot cake, blantantly on display and listed as, not a specialty flavor, but a standard right along side vanilla, chocolate, caramel and Red Velvet. Regret was soon to follow.
I entered Sweet Devotion Cupcake and Creperie Cafe with lunch intentions and because I feel a genuine need to support anyone in Harford County who wants to reach beyond pizza, pit beef and Chinese take-out. I must first admit that I am spoiled when it comes to crepes. My counterpart makes a savory crepe that is somehow both hearty and light. He makes a perfect bechemel sauce and is a firm believer in the whole "everything is better with cheese" philosophy that is a cornerstone of my formative years in Wisconsin. That being said, I am no stranger to restaurant crepes. When I worked in midtown Baltimore, I was quite familiar with the devine wilted spinach crepe on Sotto Sopra's lunch menu.
Sweet Devotion's savory crepes seem to lean closer to the American palate with combos that you could also package in a nice roll - The Classic Ham and Swiss, The Caprese and even Chicken Cordon Bleu. Their complete menu is posted on their website . Being an avid seafood fan, I went with The Norwegian - smoked salom, tomatoes, Boursin cheese in lieu of the traditional bechemel, and a surprise sprinkling of capers.
Each crepe is made to order on large flat irons right behind the counter. The crepe itself is broad in diameter and thin in weight and is folded around the filling. It is a light and delicate creation that melted in my mouth but was a little bland. I tend to be more partial to the heartier rustic crepes and missed the added body you get with a pinch of buckwheat in the mix.
Real food on real dishes
The crepe is served on a bed of mixed greens on an actual china plate with real cutlery, giving Sweet Devotion some serious bonus points. The salmon worked well in this setting. The Boursin cheese, however, felt a bit too salty to go along with the already salty smoked fish. The sliced tomatoes counter balanced this somewhat but were not evenly distributed throughout the crepe for consistency in this area. This particular combo might be best eaten at home with a nice Pilsner.
And then there was the matter of the cupcake. The fellow behind the counter seemed a tad curt when I asked if the cupcakes were baked on premesis. He assured me that they are baked fresh every day and that there was a batch coming up at that very moment. Imagine my joy at seeing carrot cake on the menu! While I am an unrepentent IcedGems junkie, if I'm jonesing for the earthy spicy goodness of carrot cake (which is quite honestly most of the time), I'm SOL as they do not make the stuff, not even for special occaisions. So, even though I was planning on sampling both a savory and a sweet crepe, I ended up with a cupcake that was sadly inferior to my usual Friday cupcake experience.
The cake itself was light and moist but surprisingly lacking in flavor. Any flavor. It wasn't very sweet. It wasn't very spicy. It wasn't much of anything. And the texture was odd, not just because of the presence of the dreaded pineapple. This adds nothing to carrot cake and invariably gets stuck between my teeth. Really what is the point? I've gotten used to the gourmet cupcakes I've been eating in town, and this one reminded me more of a grocery store counterfeit. And the icing was an over-whipped version of the traditional cream cheese icing. The flavor was just OK, but much like the cake, the texture was also somewhat troubling.
It sure looks tempting........
.........but the pineapple cannot be ignored
Overall, this was a pretty decent crepe experience. In addition to providing Harford County with something that resembles what our forebears would recognize as food, these guys seem to be taking a more mindful approach to their business. In addition to the real dishes for my eat-in order, I was asked if I wanted my credit card receipt (I said no as they just clog up my pocketbook until I can't close the thing anymore and I have to do a grand mal purge of them). This gives them some environmental cred, which I consider important in our local businesses. In addition to a counter and the usual table and chairs, Sweet Devotion has a sitting room with a sofa and chairs around a giant set of checkers (pictured below). I'll be visiting them again for a sweet crepe and another shot at their cupcakes. They also serve coffee and scones.
The Sitting Room