Why: I discovered this winter that C’est La Vie, one of my favorite cafés, had closed up shop in the back of the Angst Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver. I was greatly disappointed. However, spring does indeed bring pleasant things. Keri Gallagher, owner of C’est La Vie, recently reopened her French café in downtown Battle Ground and is serving breakfast and lunch. It now occupies a quaint two-story house, complete with an outdoor patio, and the menu has expanded with delicious options that reflect some classics of French café cuisine.
What I tried: I settled on the Frenchie from the savory crêpe selections, and my dining companion decided on the brunch crêpe. To drink, I had a house-made blackcurrant soda, and my dining companion opted for orange juice. The first round was so outstanding, it was within moments of finishing our crêpes that we decided to order more. We had a lemon and powdered sugar crêpe and a French butter and cinnamon crêpe to complete our meal. I was so inspired that I made lemon and powdered sugar crêpes for breakfast the following morning.
The crêpes were perfectly cooked, thin but not too delicate. Fillings were fresh and the combinations were spot-on scrumptious. The Frenchie crêpe contained double cream brie, apricot preserves and arugula, and the brunch crêpe had bacon, egg and Tillamook cheddar cheese. The blackcurrant soda was light and refreshing.
Menu highlights beyond what I tried: This is one of those rare places where you could close your eyes, point to anything on the menu and experience something appetizing (as long as you find the ingredients agreeable). To name a few, there is the Fondue, a grilled Tillamook cheese sandwich (you may add oven-roasted turkey, Black Forest ham, or bacon) cut into cubes and served with tomato bisque for dipping; the chocolate French toast, chocolate sourdough with peanut butter mousse, bananas, and salted caramel; and the harvest salad, organic mixed greens, apples, candied walnuts, bacon, and gorgonzola served with a Bleu Door Bakery baguette. Also, a selection from “The French Way” portion of the menu includes either a croissant or Bleu Door Bakery baguette with French butter, fruit preserves, and a hardboiled egg with Dijon crème and truffle salt. Those menu items are served with coffee or tea.
Atmosphere: The café house is white and has a simple trimmed lawn in front. Off the patio in the back, there are trees around the lawn’s perimeter and a few flowering bushes and bird houses in-between. Entrance to the café is up a concrete ramp to the front door. Interior walls are painted a soothing, pastel yellow and crown and base molding are painted black, which complements other black elements of the décor and the handsome wood floors. Doorways are arched and a fireplace in the main dining room lends additional charm to the space. Indoor and seasonal outdoor seating is available.
Other observations: Gallagher is awaiting approval for a liquor license, upon which, beer, wine and mimosas will be added to the menu.
If you adore crêpes, C’est La Vie will become habit-forming. I am already planning my next visit so I can try some of the French toast selections.
Service was attentive and friendly. Portions are astute, flavors are divine and quality is excellent. The atmosphere is welcoming and I didn’t feel rushed.
Cost: Appetizers are $7 to $12. Grilled cheese sandwiches start at $5 and top out at $8. Varieties of French toast are $6 to $8. Soup is $3 for a cup and $5 for a bowl. Salads are $8 to $10. A soup and salad combo consists of a cup of soup and a small salad for $10. Savory crêpes are $7 to $10 and sweet crêpes are $4 and $5. Beverages are $2 to $5.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Where: 113 E. Main St., Battle Ground.
Health score: C’est La Vie received a pre-opening inspection, which is not scored, and is scheduled to receive a routine inspection in the near future. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.