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12 Catt. 3: In re Choupi

2012 September 19

CATTLEYA, J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. JEREMY, C.J., wrote a separate concurrence.

Before the Supreme Cart is Choupi, a crepe cart in Arlington, VA. We made a sua sponte appearance on a mild, breezy afternoon under Rule of Procedure 2-2, which permits Justices of the Cart to choose food trucks and carts within our jurisdiction to be subject to adjudication. Choupi sets up on the corner of North Lynn Street and 19th Street North in Rosslyn every weekday from the morning to late afternoon. We showed up at the tail end of the lunch hour rush, and there was still a line of people. Hoping that the length of the line correlated with the quality of the crepes, we waited for our turn.



Before we turn to a review of Choupi’s crepes, the Cart must determine whether crepes are “street food.” If crepes are street food, then we must affirm Choupi’s crepes unless we can show that they are not worthy of being served on our streets. See In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012). We have defined street food as “the kind[] of food[] that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up.” In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011). We have also recognized that food that has traditionally been consumed as street food around the world usually satisfies our own definition. Cf. In re Street Vendor Near National Mall, 9 Catt. 5 (2012). Because crepes not only are something of a national dish in France but are also served as street food, we hold that crepes are street food under our definition. Therefore, Choupi’s crepes are entitled to the presumption of affirmance by this court. However, for the reasons below, we would affirm Choupi’s crepes even without this presumption. The crepes are just that good.


Choupi is operated by one person, probably because the cart is so small that it only fits one person, plus two crepe griddles. The two griddles, of course, mean that only two crepes can be made at a time. Perhaps those in a rush will consider this arrangement to be inconvenient, but we found comfort in the personal service and made-to-order meal. There are no shortcuts that sacrifice quality, there is no lazy warming up of stale, pre-assembled parts.

The menu is simple. The base price for a crepe is $3.50. Each filling is an additional 50 cents. There are “savory” meat fillings (like ham and turkey), vegetable fillings (like mushroom and spinach), and cheese fillings (like mozzarella and feta). There are “sweet” fruit fillings (like banana and apple cinnamon), nut fillings (like pecan and almond), and sauce fillings (like nutella and caramel). You can mix and match however you like. If you can’t decide, there’s a list of Choupi’s favorite crepe combinations for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. One of Choupi’s recommended desserts is a crepe with nutella, bananas, and pecans. We opted to try a version with walnuts in place of pecans.

Crepe with nutella, bananas, and walnuts


I was twelve years old when I tried my first crepe. I was in Paris without my parents, and I nearly died on the spot when I saw that I could have something stuffed with nutella and bananas for lunch. Ever since then, every crepe that I’ve ordered has included nutella and bananas. Simple, but highly satisfying.

That twelve-year-old wondered about two things that I still haven’t figured out. First, why would you eat a savory crepe when you could indulge in a sweet crepe? Second, how can a nutella-and-banana crepe ever come out bad? Choupi’s nutella-banana-walnut crepe was so good that it did nothing to help me solve these very important questions.

The batter was made into the perfect crepe pancake. Don’t get me wrong–this was no thick, fluffy Aunt Jemima pancake. Choupi’s crepe was thin enough to develop a crispy–even flaky–outside, and yet it was still soft and chewy inside. As I said, it was perfect.

The fillings worked well together. There were large slices of bananas, not skimpy slivers. The nutella was generously applied, but it was not excessive. It melted just the right amount to bind the bananas and walnuts, but it did not messily ooze out and make a mess on the face or in the hands. The walnuts gave a nice bitter flavor to tone down the sweetness of the nutella.

The crepe was so good that I just wanted to keep eating and eating. And the best part was that the crepe was so large in size (huge, really) that the experience didn’t end too soon. We ordered this as a dessert, but it would have been more than enough to fill my stomach as a main course.


Choupi’s made-to-order crepe with nutella, bananas, and walnuts was a great find in Rosslyn. The thin, crispy crepe was skillfully made, and the fillings satisfied my sweet tooth. It was a great deal, too. For $5, we got a huge crepe with three kinds of fillings. We left full and happy, and we will surely be back for more.


JEREMY, C.J., concurring.

I heartily agree with my sister’s assessment of Choupi. I do, however, part ways with my sister in a certain decision she has made in writing her otherwise well-reasoned opinion. The subject of our present adjudication is properly represented graphically as crêpe and not as, my sister writes, crepe. For one, there is a certain ambiguity in the orthographic sequence ‘crepe,’ sans circumflex. Do I care to eat “a soft thin light fabric with a crinkled surface,” “rubber in sheets used especially for shoe soles, or, in Ireland, “a death notice printed on white card with a background of black crepe paper or cloth, placed on the door of a residence or business”? Indeed, I do not. More importantly, we have previously acknowledged the importance of diacritical marks, see In re Sâuçá, 4 Catt. 3 (2011), and so I am disappointed in my sister’s alarming nonchalance in this case. Our rôle should be always that of the respectful arbiter. A crêpe as good as Choupi’s has earned its hat and certainly deserves better treatment at my sister’s hand.

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