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International Gustations

In Austin, it's a small world after all, but one with plenty of dining options

November 3, 2006, Food

Flip Happy Crepes

2041 S. Lamar, 552-9034

Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-2:30pm; Friday, 5:30-9pm

There are eating destinations we choose because they're there and we are, too. You know these places: They satisfy our convenience factor more than our palate. Then there are the places that are off our intended path, but a substantial enough improvement over the obvious that they're worth the detour. Lastly, there are the restaurants whose location is so obscure or remote that a fair amount of commitment is required by any interested customer in order to seek it out. Commitment on this level is born out of the assurance of a singular dining experience. Which is exactly what one discovers at Flip Happy Crepes, the eatery not only housed in a trailer, but a trailer parked behind a retail shop completely out of view of pedestrian and motorized traffic.

Flip Happy Crepes has landed in South Austin, a neighborhood perfectly suited to its improbable business strategy. Hidden behind Floribunda, a verdant landscape nursery, Flip Happy is lodged in a retro Airstream trailer, festively festooned with string lights. Surrounding the trailer is a comfortably ramshackle dining area of outdoor tables, umbrellas, paper lanterns, etc. The menu consists exclusively of crepes, save the available side salad. Savory crepes, meat crepes, fruit crepes: They're all here. Crepes haven't been a sexy menu item since the glory days of that Seventies-era mid-American bistro the Magic Pan. But partners Nessa Higgins and Andrea Day Boykin are flipping creations from scratch that could make crepes the next taco.

We've sampled a variety of savory and sweet options and have found them all gooey, rich, and utterly satisfying. To be honest, on our first venture we thought that one crepe wouldn't make a substantial enough repast so we ordered two. Our co-workers were delighted. Don't be misled into thinking these are light snacks: The roast pork with gruyere ($5.50) is so laden with succulent meat and rich cheese that we've not yet been able to complete a serving in one sitting. The Cuban-inspired pork, cheddar cheese, and pickles ($5.50) reputedly has a devout following, and we can understand why, as it combines the best of France and Cuba. We also found the roast chicken with carmelized onions and goat cheese ($5.50) to be a piquant and savory lunch. On the sweet side, we were seduced by the vanilla pastry cream with berry sauce ($3.75), a more traditional rendition of a crepe. Equally successful in our book is the lemon curd with blueberry dressing ($3.75), a creation that had us literally licking the dish.

It's an unlikely combination: the strictly South Austin funky setting and the très French menu. And it's just this juxtaposition that makes Flip Happy worth searching out for lunch or Friday dinner. – Barbara Chisholm

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