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The northwest loves crepes
KINGSTON – Sporting a ballcap and a five o’clock shadow just before noon on Wednesday, Cameron Healey, a Seattle-area resident stared, enraptured by the choices in front of him. The father of now 3-year-old twin boys had a day to himself and was ready indulge.
His luxury of choice came on a paper plate: A chocolate/strawberry crepe, piled high with whipped cream from J’aime les Crepes in Kingston. This was his second such trip to J’aime, which has become more of an obsession than a café for some.
“The last time I came here I was with my wife and 6-month-old twins,” he said. “We were just walking downtown and saw this place.”
Perched on the corner just across the street from the Kingston ferry terminal, J’aime brings a bounty of French-inspired flavor and plenty of foot traffic to Kingston. The spot, which is popular among locals and those from far-flung places connected to Kingston by the Washington State Ferries, has earned its way to the No. 3 spot on King 5’s Best Crepes in Western Washington.
For owner Paul Pluska, J’aime was an idea borne in the land of the crepe: France. When he was a drummer for the NATO band he was stationed in Italy. He made frequent trips to France at the invitation of the U.S. Ambassador to France. The ambassador often invited the band to entertain at parties.
Pluska ate crepes for every meal. He wanted to bring that very taste home him, and he believes he has succeeded.
“I think more than any other creperie, we’re very similar to anything you’d find near a train station (in France),” he said.
He consulted a friend, who graciously shared her recipe for the buckwheat batter and set him up with the proper equipment to share his love of crepes. While he was still on active duty, he shipped the equipment home in his household goods when he transferred to the Sand Point Navy Base in Seattle. His next transfer brought him to Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor. His sister, who was familiar with the North End, suggested Pluska move to Kingston.
Once he unpacked his crepe-making goods, he started small by frequenting the Kingston Farmers Market.
Six years ago, he opened J’aime. Now he eatery’s delectables are so tasty that some will hop on the ferry, walk over for a crepe and get right back on the ferry. In some cases, crepe lovers risk the emotional trauma of missing their ferries for the sake of a bite. This was something Pluska learned from reading the comments on King 5’s Web site, he said.
For others, no ferry ride is necessary. Regulars like Chloe Bartlett and Chris O’morchoe can pop into the creperie on their lunch break from Kingston High.
While waiting for her chicken and spinach crepe, Bartlett described the shop’s goods as “heaven.”
“Everything I get here is so good,” she said.
J’aime les Crepes
11264 State Highway 104, Kingston
Monday-Thursday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday
7 a.m. to 10 p.m.