The Galloping Galette
VOYAGE SUR LA ROUTE: If you told me that I should drive all the way out to Braselton, some 40 minutes from Athens, to check out a French restaurant, I would look at you like you had rocks in your head. So, feel free to look at me that way when I tell you that The Galloping Galette (9924 Davis St., 706-684-3080) is totally good. The small town that once belonged to Kim Basinger seems to have more going on than it once did, with a brewery offering its own cream ale, brown ale, dubbel and more. The Galloping Galette is across the street from Braselton Brewing Co., in a former cotton gin that also houses an antiques mall and another restaurant.
Neither The Galloping Galette nor its menu is large, but both are better for it. I can spot the penmanship the French education system teaches in a flash, and the numbers chalked next to the specials reveal that this place is the real deal—an actual crêperie/galetterie. The menu is as follows: a salad ($3 without tomatoes, $4 with), six galettes (savory crêpes from Brittany made with buckwheat, not the flat cakes the term more often refers to), six sweet crêpes, build-your-own options. That’s it. The other two pages are just for beverages, both grown-up and soft. Hooray for simplicity!
The galette of the day may sound a little out there, especially if it is Southern-breakfast-themed, so feel free to stick to the classics. The galette Bretonne features mozzarella, sausage, caramelized cinnamon apples and “regular apples.” I’m not a big fan of combining sweet and savory in a single dish, but it absolutely works here. Apples are an important part of Bretonne cuisine, and their herbal sweetness balances the earthiness of the pancake itself. La Paysanne comes with Swiss cheese, onions and bacon, but is more than that sounds like. Bacon means lardons, not Oscar Meyer, and the onions are essentially melted.
Among the sweet crêpes, La Caramel, with butter, sugar, vanilla ice cream, homemade caramel and almonds, was so good, it stopped me short. I had to close my eyes and think about it for a minute. I’m a tough sell in this arena. You can’t just slap some Nutella on a pancake and wow me. Most desserts are a huge waste of time and calories. Not so here. That housemade caramel sauce is basically worth a 40-minute drive alone. Somehow, the whole thing doesn’t turn into a goopy mess. The almonds are thinly slivered but assertive—are they briefly candied before being sliced?—and the ice cream doesn’t melt all over everything. Should you prefer lemon juice, orange juice, chocolate syrup, Chantilly cream, bananas, maple syrup, four-fruits jam or, yes, Nutella, you can get any of those things, too.
Don’t skip the drinks. There are wines by the glass or the bottle (all French, except one Château Élan, which is around the corner), wine-based cocktails, a few beers, a nice selection of coffees hot and cold, hot chocolate from a house recipe, tea and some fancy lemonades, and sparkling apple juice by Val de France (apple, peach, pear, pomegranate, elderflower, raspberry), which you might want to steal from your kids. There is a children’s menu, and you can buy some things to take home, including the caramel.
The Galloping Galette is open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and then 4:30–8 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday.
BRUNCH FAIR: Tired of waiting in line for brunch? Can’t agree with your party on where to go? The new Brunch Fair held at the Jittery Joe’s Roaster on Barber Street weekly from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sunday has you covered. A project from the Culinary Kitchen of Athens and Athens-area food trucks, it is a bit weather-dependent, but low-key and with some fun options.
Holy Crepe is always there, with its tasty breakfast crêpes covered previously in this column. Manila Express is doing brunchy things that aren’t always available at its other gigs, like longganisa, a short, fat, porky, juicy, garlicky sausage in a casing. It will give you burps that taste of it for the rest of the day, though I have to say that’s a feature, not a bug. A corned beef hash over rice, served with an eye-opening housemade hot sauce, is just as good.
Want something sweeter? VTasteCakes—also findable downtown on Tuesday nights and at the monthly Swadeshi Black Market—makes floofily iced tiny cupcakes that are as intensely flavorful as they are cute. They’re also vegan, but they do not taste like vegetable oil. The lavender-vanilla is a botanical rush. The mocha doesn’t skimp on the coffee. The strawberry is fresh and delicious. And even the chocolate is dark and not too sweet. You can find upcoming locations or order online at vtastecakes.com.
Also possibly present at the brunch fair: Da Munchiezz, Taqueria 1785, kids’ activities, plants, OJ for mimosas if you supply the bubbles, picnic tables and a fun DJ who provides a funky soundtrack.