Two little Boston Terrier girls bring their Momo & Mr.Momo to Paris for a long stay. These are the tales of their very fine adventures.


French Food By Any Other Name is Délicieux

There just isn’t enough space on this blog to talk about food in Paris. First, you should come here only if you are willing to suspend any disbelief about what is good for you and what is not. Low fat has not exactly made front page news here.

The good news though, is that you should be able to drink enough red wine and chocolate to counter any high fat consumables. Heck, French women don’t get fat, right? Unfortunately some food enterprises in France are becoming global and guess who is marching right in front? Ah, oui – you are such smart kids! McDo’s. Pizza Hut is right behind. But no Kentucky Fried Chicken that we have come across thank goodness. Ok, one, but we have not seen it, or smelled it, mon dieu! Even Starbucks is making inroads, but not enough to worry about. That said, the brasseries are the first to fall victim to the cost effectiveness of monopoly and the resulting sameness. Sure, go to the brasserie for great café in a real cup and the chance to sit among the 12 out of 10 smokers to watch what we call the French sport of people gazing. Where do you think Momo learned about all the fascinating shoes in Paris – ok, aside from watching for poop and nothing better to do on the Metro?

Again, I digress, such a bad habit.

The brasseries are becoming a corporate or franchise world, and that is fairly new. So hurry up and get here to experience brasseries before they are all owned by Café Richards. That is why you will find all the lunch material, the “hotdogs”, the croque monsieur, and the baguettes jambon all looking like clones. It took Momo a while to figure that one out. Could be the clues were the packets of sugar that all said Café Richards from one brasserie to the other. And unfortunately, Momo is not making it up – read the current issue of Timeout: Paris.

However, there is such excellent food to be found in France. First let us start with cheese. There are more cheeses here than Momo and Mr. Momo have seen in, well, forever. And we have seen lots of cheese. Cheeses here are bright – fresh, not so sanitized, and deliciously crafted. Cheese is its own food group. Never pass up the cheese course in your 22 course dinner. It is going to be worth it and is always better than the course with meat. Meat is not a strong point in French cuisine, we think. There are soft cheeses and not soft cheeses which should not be confused with hard cheeses. Remember the camembert? Ah, yes, it still smells like old gym socks, but it tastes unlike any you might have had in the US. Momo has no idea what the cheese names are but they are all worth a taste. L&P have sampled a huge variety of cheese and they also agree. Eat cheese.

Next, you can be sure that jambon is not only in every single dish that anyone cooks in France, but it is in every single think called sausage or smoked meats. And the variety is stunning actually for one little pig. Everywhere you go, the jambon is king. The myriad of cured meats is unbelievable. Bacon is not just bacon, but a meal. For example, in Laduree, that wonderful pastry tea room, I watched a person (yes, tourist) order a chicken (poulet) sandwich and was asked if he wanted bacon on it. Yes, yes, he exclaimed. So it comes to the table, and yes, there is bacon, the Canadian looking type bacon, and it is on the outside of the sandwich attached with a toothpick. Momo and Mr. Momo giggled, but you could clearly see that the poor guy was perplexed. To his credit, he ran with the program and ate his poulet/bacon sandwich the way it arrived. Sandwich first, bacon second. Ah, the French have a great sense of humor – in their own way, let us say.

Next let us talk about the produce. Hello, California? Are you listening? This stuff may not be organic, but it seems to have not seen any gene splicing. The raspberries are plump, raspberry colored and fantastic whether you buy them in the Monoprix or the Lafayette Gourmet. Same with most of the other produce. And the shelf life is very short. By the end of the day, little flies are eating the fruit and other produce in the stores. Shop early!

And a big shout-out hello to Fromage Blanc, the star of this blog's photo. That white stuff is the tastiest thing in the universe with some fresh produce. And no, no one can locate it in America. Please do tell if you can, because it will be sadly missed when we return. L&P will dance on the head of pin for a taste of Fromage Blanc. It is not quite cottage cheese, and not crème fraiche. It just is, well, Fromage Blanc.

Let us not leave out chocolate. I am sure artisans everywhere who make excellent chocolate will not mind when we say nothing compares to some of the chocolate you can find in France (and I am assuming in other parts of Europe). Everyone eats chocolate like it is another food group. A very smart thing. Momo agrees. L&P are not allowed chocolate, but they don’t seem to mind smelling it when we partake, which is, well, often.

It is important to talk about the art of the French meal because it is unique. It took Momo and Mr. Momo a little while to work up to this regimen. Dinner is at 8PM or later. If you eat before that hour you must be a child or not from France. And dinner can last for hours. Hours and hours. Our longest meal was four hours. That is halfway across to America on an airplane. That is one long meal. But the time passes quickly because the food is stunningly wonderful. There are some very fine restaurants in Paris. Not all of them are terribly expensive, but many are. But they are worth every little Euro.

Don’t forget to eat while you are here. It is about as important as visiting Tour Eiffel and L’Opera. And way more important than any old musee. But if the musee has a restaurant, then by all means, go. To the restaurant!

L&P are happy to tell you that food in Paris is a full time business for them. They rate eating here a big 10++++. So do Momo and Mr. Momo.

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