Tiny Cafe Javasti Serves Crepes Filled With Life-Giving Nutella


Apothecary: Café Javasti, 8410 Fifth Ave. N.E., 985-9903.

Time of entry: Sunday, 10 a.m.

Level of hangover (1-10 scale, with 10 being a paralyzing head-thumper): Zero. Battling a cold that just wouldn’t quit for almost a week, I spent my weekend in the confines of my apartment, leaving only twice -- once to the mall to find the final piece of my Halloween costume (lesson: never shop while sick) and once for this breakfast. However, I would like to state for the record that I know these crepes can cure a hangover. My brother and I used to share a house a couple of blocks from Cafe Javasti and would often stumble out of our bedrooms in the late morning to talk the other into going to get crepes to ease the pain. We would flash money, promise to do the dishes, take out the trash, anything to keep from leaving the house. “Go get us some crepes, fool!” he’d eventually cry out and, being the little sister, I’d almost always relent -- but I’d pay with his money. They never failed to make the day worth dealing with.

Level of waitstaff hangover: That's debatable. There seemed to be a grumpy cloud hovering over the staff, possibly hangover-induced but more likely because one of their crepe burners was out so they had to make them each one at a time and we all had to wait an extra 20 minutes. There was some under-the-breath muttering at a confused patron who apparently should have called ahead for his order, but nothing too serious. I understand. Sometimes working with the public is like being the lone Obama voter in a sea of McCain fanatics.

Prescriptions: The cafe is small. Other than crepes, there isn’t much to the menu -- just some quiches and pastries -- but they’re all made in house. The room is decorated with local art for sale, and there is always a relaxed community feel, with neighbors bumping in to each other and friendly dogs tied up outside, tails wagging. There are only about ten tables, all of which were taken except for one right by the door. Every time it opened, a gust of cold air hit my backside, giving me a brisk “Good morning!” blast that kept me more awake than my coffee. Across from us, two toddlers were eying each other shyly in an adorable mini courtship that eclipsed any discomfort.


We ordered one savory crepe with ham, spinach, and mozzarella and one sweet with banana, Nutella, almonds, and whipped cream. They were thoughtful enough to make the savory first, and it while it tasted a tiny bit rushed because not everything was all that hot, it was still delicious. The sweet one came out not long after, and it too had that rushed essence. But you got the idea of what it could be if they were able to take their time with it. I know they can be better, I’ve had them before, but my dining companion hadn’t and he still enjoyed them immensely. There was even some grumbling as I made him stop eating for the picture when the second crepe arrived. A piece of ham was accidentally flung atop the sweet crepe in the feeding frenzy and he didn’t want to waste precious eating time to move it. So in the picture it stayed. You can also spy his fork coming in from the left, ready to pounce the moment the photo was snapped.

Hair of the dog: Good coffee but no alcohol.

Success of the soak: I must confess that I’ve never had crepes from anywhere but here. I know this city is teeming with amazing crepe places, but I’ve never actually tried any, so I can’t say with authority that these would be considered “good.” I probably would never have even tried these if it weren’t for my father, who, even when visiting on vacation, gets up freakishly early and has to figure out how to feed himself while the rest of the family sleeps. He insisted that we all go there for breakfast one morning, and I’ve been a believer ever since. And this place has a guaranteed success rate for curing the hangover blues.

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