Bodacious Beaumont. The lovely little town on the hill southeast of Edmonton has got it goin’ on these days. Not only did Beaumont recently take over hosting the annual Tour d’Alberta bike event (and do a fine job of it); it’s also home to one of the hottest new restaurants in the west, Chartier. This once-sleepy French town is accumulating reasons to make it a destination. Edmonton cyclists have long appreciated Beaumont as a place to ride out to and back. And now there’s a terrific place to stop and take a load off, yet another Beaumont success story: Crepe and Shake on 50th Avenue just west of 50th Street.
This place has been around for a few years, but I only discovered it this summer. From the street, it’s unassuming; in fact, it just looks like someone’s house with a small sign out front. But enter the yard through the red arbour, and you find yourself in a grand, lush garden with tables and chairs scattered among flowers, shrubberies, and a little pond. It’s a charming little oasis. The house is actually an historic building and was once a nunnery (so says the informative plaque). The actual business is run out of tidy shack with walk-up windows for ordering and pick up.
As the name suggests, there are two specialties here and you can’t go wrong with either. The crepes come in both kinds, savoury and sweet, depending on your mood. The other day when I dropped in while out on a gravel ride in the area, the Peach Paradise crepe was the special of the day: a super-fresh Okanagan beauty in a brown-sugar-and-butter praline sauce with the requisite copious whipped cream. It was exquisite, a treat that tasted like summer. And that’s not just the gravel talking.
Crepe and Shake is a lovely spot, for the food but also for the feel. Its authentic, independent vibe is the antithesis of what you find at the cluster of soulless chain restaurants that guard the southern entrance to the town (all towns, really). But there is a catch. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, folks. Both the crepes and the shakes cost a fortune. A combo will set you back about 20 bucks.
I know this sounds steep for a Frenchified pancake and some milky ice cream. But holy crepe! The C’s and S’s are actually worth it. Some things do merit paying a premium for, and I’ve decided that I don’t mind spending that kind of money the few times each year I ride through Beaumont, when I know I’m getting the real goods, made by people, not corporations, and served up in a blessed garden on the top of a lovely hill.