Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Pronounced Gor-Mett

The last three nights in Paris I am/will be staying in a different part of the city, the 10 district near La Place De La Republique. Jono has headed back to work, so it's just me, so don't be surprised by a switch from 'we' to 'I'. The 10th district is less a residential zone than the previous place and seems to be more "Le Paris", by which I mean they ham up the Frenchness of everything for tourists. The upshot of this seems to be everything costs a couple of euros more. 6 euros for an orange juice? Pass.

In a bizarre protest move, I have countered by eating not French food. Partially because the prices around here are just ridiculous and partially because there is actually a limit to the number of consecutive French cafe meals one can eat.

Experiment 1 - French Fast Food Chain (QuickBurger): Next to the first McDonald's I saw in Paris was a place called QuickBurger. I got one of the Grand Cheese meals. I don't think I could have handled the Super Trois Grand Cheese.
Result: Substantively worse than Australian McDonald's, the chips were basically uncooked and the burger was both greasy and dry.

Experiment 2 - Salad Roll in Plastic: Bought it from a boulangerie/patisserie that had "bakery" written on it as well, presumably for anglophiles so strangled by their ignorance that they were unable to deduce its nature from the piles of breads and pastries in the window.
Result: The filling was not bad, the tomato and mozzarella combination you apparently cannot escape in Paris, the bread was passable. On par with any other pre-wrapped salad roll you might eat anywhere in the world.

Experiment 3 - Dodgy Asian Take Away: Went walking until I found a place with the right combination of lurid neon signage, badly faded photos of the food in the window, and cuisine called 'Asian' rather than risking the wrath of naming a specific country. The guy behind the counter didn't speak English, and spoke what even I recognised as heavily-accented French. After a few false starts, it became clear that rice does not come standard with a meal from a dodgy Asian take away in France. I got the chicken with black mushrooms in red wine sauce and fried rice with peas and ham, which I'm pretty sure is not served anywhere east of the Mediterranean.
Result: Tasted bloody awful, and was bizarrely half stone cold half piping hot. Can of Fanta was the highlight of the meal. So far I haven't died of food poisoning so I'm going to claim a moral victory.

All in all, I would say that the French love of food results in a situation where they can't understand the concept of aiming for an alright outcome, and subsequently have a poor grip on the world of take away food where good enough is the watchword.


  1. Awesome - not all french food is great. Good to know.
    But, it will still most likely clog some important blood conduit.

    Any good food experiences? I would have thought _they_ would be legion.

  2. Yeah, if you go anywhere where nobody else is speaking English you'll get a good meal. It'll still be expensive, but at least it'll be good.


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