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January 09, 2010


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Greetings John
Quick background..Both my wife and I relocated from US to Paris. We are a working couple with no kids. One of the first things I did was add your blog to my RSS feeds and I add (most of) the locations you visit to my list of places to cover.

Challenge: My wife is not much of a foodie and she is vegetarian which means she really frowns upon my desire for eating out from a. Cost perspective b. Health concerns about me c. Limited options for veggies (in that order)

Compromise: She is willing to look the other way only for Sat & Sun brunches outside (both of us) and two prix fixee lunches on my own during a month.

Question 1. In your restaurant visits, I almost always see you a. going for dinner and b. going for the a la carte meals. Does this mean that while we might save on quite a few bucks, the quality of the dining experience is definitely compromised with a lunch menu/ prix fixee meal?

Question 2: Our French leaves a lot to be desired and because many of the restaurants don't have websites like in US, its hard to figure out the menu before hand. Plus I get the feeling that the French restaurants tend to consider the prix fixe orders as inferior to the a la carte ones, hence hesitant to ask about the dishes. Due to this while I enjoyed a good meal at Pasta Linea or Cafe des Musees for example, I dont thinnk I was able to educate myself or understand much about what I was eating. Is it all in my head and what advice would you give to an aspiring foodie who wants to start having a conversation with his dish (hope I am not sounding too pretentious or crazy..)

Sorry abt the long mail and thank in advance for your insights and guidance..



1. I almost never go out to dinner (only the night before I leave Paris after cleaning the apartment). Except for a few places (Chateaubriand, Comptoir du Relais) there is no difference between lunch and dinner.
2. I think in no way are the prix fixe foods different from a la carte. I think Collete and I eat the prix fixe 75% of the time.
We carry around a handy little A-Z dictonary of French food we got at the sadly closed Brentano's but available elsewhere; but so much now consists of exotic ingredients or bizarre names, it's often of no help.
I hope this is helpful.


Thank you..John it was quite reassuring. And thanks for your great reviews too

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