From his humble beginnings in Mexico to his joyful journeys throughout the United States, including notable employment at New York City’s Financier Patisserie and Wynn Las Vegas, Armando Tapia has tirelessly sought to evolve as a culinary artist. Even when hitting upon reliable recipes, he has desired to give homage to his family’s intense admiration for bettering oneself by pondering how his creations might prove more appealing. In October, two months after he and four relatives opened Crème Brûlée Bistro and Cafe, the 33-year-old made good on his personal promise to grow, expanding its menu beyond items such as crepes, French toast and waffles to become a welcome addition to Dickinson Square West.
“To open something like this was a huge goal,” the resident of the 600 block of Morris Street said from the quaint establishment. “I’ve been all around this country for jobs, and it’s nice to have a business like this in a great neighborhood.”
The proud co-owner, whose additional vocational treks include time in Georgia, Michigan and Oregon, has enjoyed the last six months as a reminder of how well he and his kin communicate, as his wife, sister-in-law, and two brothers join him in offering an ethnically diverse menu. Their efforts have resulted in excellent connections with customers and fall placement on Eater Philly’s list of essential Philadelphia bakeries.
“That was a great moment for us to have recognition so early into our time here,” Tapia, who opened the site one month after moving to Philadelphia, said. “That really gave us the extra push to believe in ourselves.”
Because of his relatives’ vast industry experience, the family relies on accumulated wisdom and fond memories of childhood to infuse each creation with care and love, an approach that will likely win over the hearts of those looking to make sweet Valentine’s Day purchases. That manner of thinking also inspired the Tapias’ recipe selection, with the neighborhood newcomers electing to share the steps to preparing Turkish Shakshuka.
“We are very happy to let your readers know about this,” brother Dario said of the dish that yields automatic reminders of their upbringing and time spent with mother Margarita Torres and grandmother Francisca Pablo. “We have good memories of eating it and hope that they will like it, too.”
1 quart of chopped onions
3 tablespoons of chopped garlic
1 quart of red peppers
1 quart of fresh tomatoes
2 cans of whole tomatoes
4 ounces of paprika
3 ounces of cumin
1 bunch of cilantro
2 poached eggs
Sauté the onions in a very hot pan. Add the garlic and peppers. Sauté three to four more minutes. Incorporate the spices, and toast for a few more minutes.
Add the tomatoes, and let everything cook for about 30 more minutes. Add the cilantro, and allow the item to cool. Top with the poached eggs.
Crème Brûlée Bistro and Cafe
1800 S. Fourth St.
Opened: Aug. 8, 2016
Owners: The Tapia Family