Recent threads on Chowhound prompted me to think about this issue. Some suggest that visitors often plan on eating three meals a day, prompting residents to question the practice.
A bit of history. I’ve been eating in France in three different modes:
- As a 1-4 times a year visitor
- As a 80% resident
- As a 365 day a year resident.
And there’s a big difference.
When my wife and I came 1-4 times a year, we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, sometimes at starred restaurants for all three meals. And just French food. Food that comes highly recommended by friends or guidebooks. We also ran from town to town (in France), museum to museum, and sight to sight.
However, during our 365 day a year stays, the pace was the opposite, we ate out only at lunch (having breakfast and dinner at home) and, after a few months, got a hankering for other than French food – Thai, Chinese, Viet namese, Sushi, pizza. We ate at both old favorites and new places. And now we took middle-of-the-week trips out of town all over France as well as to surrounding countries. And we rarely ran from thing to thing.
The 80% mode was, as one might expect, a compromise between the two. When in France, eat French because next week or month it’ll be Italian in New York or Italy, Middle Eastern in DC or Spanish in Spain. And eat almost all the time at new places, saving the golden oldies for my wife and special friends. And the pace remains relaxed, if you don’t see the Braque show this month, it’s still going to be there in December.
So on reading titles of new threads that say – A weekend, 3 days, a week, a month in Paris, Bordeaux, Burgundy and so forth I temper my reaction to my historical experience and try to empathize with the need to cram everything in, go to only the best of the best or best price-quality and live it up.
Monday-Tuesday, Philippe Toinard in A Nous Paris, reviewed and gave 3/5 dots to Le Café desAbattoirs, the newest venture by Rostang and daughters, 10, rue Gomboust in the 11th, 01.76.21.77.60, open 7/7, serving herring maki and cauliflower soup but largely meat such as beef, kebabs and chicken on 32, 38 and 45 E menus; while his colleague Jerome Berger awarded 3/5 dots to the tapas/etc. BAT, coordinates given previously.
Tuesday, in Le Fooding, Yves Nespoulous reviewed the restaurant Clamato, 80, rue de Charonne in the 11th, a new seafood bistrot by the Septime gang, 01.43.72.74.53, open evenings from Wednesday through Sunday, costing 16-35 E for items such as Utah Beach oysters, saumon à l’unilatérale and Saint-Pierre au beurre d’agrume
In Wednesday’s Figaroscope, Emmanual Rubin awarded 2 hearts to 3 places, the previously mentioned Café des Abattoirs (see above) in the 11th; the vast cantine B.O., 20, rue Ampere a La Plaine-St-Denis (93) sitting besides Luc Besson’s Cinecitta 9-3, open til 7 PM (midnight Wednesdays and Thursdays) on weekdays, serving chicken two ways and panna cotta for 40-60 E; and the fancy cocktail/counter-food Artisan, 14, rue Bochart-de Saron in the 9th, 01.48.74.65.38, open evenings except Mondays, serving leek tempura, braised endives, ham and brandade. Also tested were the 1 heart Bar a Burger in the 10th and newest New Jawad in the 16th.
The Dossier this week by, Alice Bosio, Hugo de Saint-Phalle and Colette Monsat dealt with places near Pigalle where one can satisfy one’s hunger at:
La Cantine de la Cigalle
Le Depanneur Pigalle
And also Prive de dessert, Pain Quotidien, Les Rillettes
In addition, Alice Bosio gave five places in which to celebrate the Beaujolais Nouveau:
La Buvette de Camille
And Francois Simon devoted his Hache Menu to the mini-glass place – Nano where he says to go.
Thursday, in L’Express, Francois-Regis Gaudry wrote up Caillebotte, coordinates given before.
I’ve been coming to France from the United States for over 50 years.
In the beginning the food/cuisine here, pre-Julia Childs, was seen by me as exotic; things as silly as La Vache Qui Rit and canned foie gras, were astonishing revelations to a boy raised on boeuf bourgignon and coq au vin as haute gamme.
But the day and week this was written I saw pop-corn, burgers (and a huge line outside Blend), hot-dogs, bagels from a truck, American sweet-corn, pumpkin.
And we’ve been bombarded by marshmallows, catsup and everything that the great French food critics made fun of 20 years ago.
So a bit of backstory: Remember when the French Language Police barred words like weekend and the internet and OK? I do.
Now the American pollution, however, has crept into the food world.
Monday-Tuesday, Philippe Toinard in A Nous Paris, reviewed and gave 3/5 dots to Le Pario, coordinates given before and reviewed (positively) here; while his colleague Jerome Berger awarded 3/5 dots to the dinette-buvette-tapas place Lucien La Chance, 8, rue des Dames in the 17th, 09.73.52.07.14, open evenings only, closed Sundays and Mondays, with items such as various vegetables, pastrami & chocolate mousse.
Tuesday, in Le Fooding, Yves Nespoulous reviewed the Bistro Bellet, 84, Rue du Faubourg-St-Denis in the 10th, 01.45.23.42.06,open evenings only except Sundays and Mondays with 32-36 E menus with items such as moules, grouse, veal kidneys and Beaufort cheese.
In Wednesday’s Figaroscope, Emmanual Rubin awarded 2 hearts to 2 places, the Viet namese The Tabledu Viet Nam in the 7th and the most recent outpost of the “neo-Japanese” Orient Extreme Neuilly. Garnering one heart was the Comptoir Gourmet in the 4th and getting broken hearts were Romeo and Brut.
The Dossier this week by Colette Monsat, Alice Bosio, Hugo de Saint-Phalle and Francois Simon dealt with the newest wave of Japanese chefs at: The most recent Etude Le Caviste Bio H Kitchen Encore Les Enfants Rouges Table Les Anes (Pas si veux) Passage 53 La Table d’Aki Abri L’Office Clandestino Le Sot l’y Laisse Kei
And Francois Simon devoted his Hache Menu to Es, coordinates given before, where he and a dining partner paid 262 E for a meal he said was a piano concert by a genius.
Thursday, in L’Express, Francois-Regis Gaudry also wrote up the Table du Viet Nam.
It's a fine art fall in New York with block-buster shows of Balthus, Magritte and the masterpieces from the Mauritshuis. The first two are there until January 12th, the latter January 19th. And if you need a sandwich five times what you should have, The Stage Door Deli has it.