Crepes have had a sweet spot in my life since I was a kid.
I used to hate going to the dentist, but the best part was our family tradition of eating crepes with my dad afterward. Even the fluffiest of pancakes can’t compare to those thin-rolled treats. They’re also made with less sugar than your average pancake — meaning they’re great for all kinds of add-ons, sweet or savory.
MJ Café, a new spot for sweets and sips in Everett, went the sweet route with its crepes. Owners Alexis and Mary Joyce Taliman also make authentic Filipino halo-halo desserts, fruit floats, waffles, coffee, frappes, tea and smoothies.
But back to those crepes.
You can choose from 10 different types of crepes on the menu, or customize your own.
There’s the sweet melon crepe ($6.59), made with banana, cantaloupe and kiwi, the tuxedo with crushed Oreos and mini chocolate chips ($6.29) and another with crushed Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter and caramel sauce. You can order your crepe topped with Nutella, powdered sugar and whipped cream.
When in doubt, I choose berries. I ordered the berry kiwi crepe with strawberries, blueberries and kiwi, plus the topping trifecta for $6.59.
I was hesitant about the Nutella at first, but was surprised by just how well the hazelnut-cocoa spread complements the fruits and crepe.
This wasn’t the kind of crepe I had as a kid (mine were topped with strawberry butter and syrup) but it checked off all the boxes for taste and my nostalgia. Its presentation also was kind of cute; the fruit looked like it was wrapped snugly in a blanket.
Husband and wife named the cafe after Mary Joyce. The Talimans opened their doors on 23rd Street, just a block away from Everett High School, earlier this month.
“I was so scared to open it,” Mary Joyce Taliman said. “The reception is bigger than what I expected, so we’re really happy about it.”
Their halo-halo desserts are creating some buzz on Yelp. The Talimans make the popular Filipino cold dessert made with coconut, jackfruit, sweet beans, banana, palm seed, cantaloupe, macapuno (string coconut), ube (purple yam), leche flan, ube ice cream and rice crackers.
If the list of ingredients wasn’t already a clue, halo-halo translates to “mix-mix” in Filipino. Mary Joyce remembers having them as a kid growing up in the Philippines.
It was the dessert’s tropical-like appearance that caught my eye. Though they’re typically served as a layered dessert, MJ Café also makes a halo-halo waffle and a crepe (both $7.59). I went with the $6.99 original.
The mixture of ingredients were a bit of a shock to me; the ube ice cream makes it look like a sundae, but then there are beans in there.
While it’s common for halo-halo makers from the U.S. to sweeten them, the Talimans prefer to keep the taste traditional. But, just like everything else on the menu, you can customize it however you prefer.
Mary Joyce said the dessert will taste like white chocolate to some. It tasted more like sweetened coconut milk to me. She said they’re a hit among local Filipinos, who previously had to drive all the way to Tukwila to eat them.
“I make it at home, but I didn’t think it was going to be something that big,” she said. “I know there are a lot of cafes around here, but I wanted this cafe to be a family thing where everyone can try new things.”
Also on the menu are fruit floats. These include flavors such as avocado, blueberry and banana. Try topping them with graham crackers or whipped cream for added sweetness.
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
MJ Cafe, at 1513 23rd St., Everett, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. In April, the Monday through Thursday hours will extend to 7 p.m. Call 425-595-5139 or go to www.facebook.com/MJCAFE90.