Results tagged American food from David Lebovitz

Where to Find a Great Hamburger in Paris

red onions on burger

For those of you who don’t live here, you’re probably scratching your heads as who in their right minds would want a hamburger in Paris. If you’re a visitor, you probably don’t come to Paris in search of a burger (unless you’ve got kids in tow). But Parisians, as well as the rest of us, often get the craving for a nice, juicy patty on a big, fluffy bun, and I’m happy to help in our quest to find the best of the lot.

Here’s a list of the places that were suggested by helpful readers in the comments of my post on the burgers at Hippopotamus. I was pretty bowled over with the choices out there and look forward to trying some, or all, of them out.

Please note that I haven’t been to all of these places (yet), and I can’t personally vouch for them.

Hence I’m trusting you guys on these…so they’d better be good! : )

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Is American Food Better Than French?

(Dispatch from San Francisco)

I simply can’t recall the last time in Paris that I was ate French fries that were actually made with real, freshly-cut potatoes. And served crisp, cooked like someone cared about how they tasted. Nor can I think of anytime in the recent past when I’ve been served fresh, seasonal tomatoes in a salad.

Last week I ate at Nopa, a shockingly-good restaurant located in an off-center location in San Francisco with wonderful cooking by a youthful, vibrant staff. From the opening plate of very crispy French Fries served with Maldon salt, to a thick, crusty, moist pork chop cut from locally-raised pork served with pan-fried peas whose brilliant-green flesh and taste assured me they were shucked no later than that afternoon. The food revolution that’s taken place in the past few decades in America has meant a number of excellent restaurants have opened everywhere, not just in San Francisco, and it’s pretty amazing the quality of products that are available in America nowadays.

Peaches
The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market

So it gave me pause to wonder why this kind of food is rarely, if ever, found in restaurants and most markets in Paris anymore. (Save for pricey, starred establishments.)

In lieu of promoting freshness and cuisine du terrior, the current trend in Paris is le verrine: a little glass layered with a dice and/or puree of various foods. While the concept is fun, like ‘foams’, we’ve seen it and done it. And while it’s a cool idea, that’s the only innovation I’ve seen in the past few years in Paris. Still, I’d prefer to have food that simply tastes good; vegetables sourced from a local farm and sautéed briefly with a knob of good Breton butter or a really good, tangy lemon tart, made with freshly-squeezed lemon juice, perhaps from Corsican lemons, in a homemade buttery crust. Made with Breton butter, bien sûr.

Perhaps I’m thinking along these lines since I just finished reading The United States of Arugula by David Kamp. In spite of the silly title, this excellent book unwittingly tells the story of how America beat the French at their own game; namely cooking. While the French were resting on their well-earned laurels, garnered from mastering cooking techniques and developing various repertoires during the last few centuries, the Americans embraced the concept of cuisine du marché and took it to the next level by giving the ingredients more prominence than the techniques used to prepare them. Both ideas have their merits, I suppose, but I don’t need to tell you which I prefer.

Pluots
Pluots—A Plum Crossed with An Apricot

While this is not a sweeping indictment of all restaurants in either country (there’s always the good, the bad, and I’ve certainly been served the ugly), it seems like the French now have some catching up to do.

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Amano Chocolate

In my continuing adventures to bring you some of the more interesting chocolates from around the globe, and get through as much of my chocolate before the meltdown of summer heat attacks my chocolate stash, you might remember a few months back I wrote about a conversation I had when I shocked some unworldly women (who…me?) that asked me which country makes the best chocolate.

For a few years now, I’ve been swapping messages with Art Pollard of Amano chocolate who has spent ten years searching for cacao and learning how to make artisan chocolate tablets at the company he started in Utah. But it wasn’t until just a few months ago I was able to taste his handcrafted chocolate, which he sent me here in Paris.

amanochocolate.jpgpamhands.jpg

Amano isn’t currently making a whole slew of chocolates, but is concentrating on two different bars: A tablet of Ocumare chocolate, and another made from chocolate from Madagascar. I’m a big fan of Ocumare chocolate in general, which is considered one of the finest cacao beans in the world. Grown in Venezuela, some manufacturers claim it’s a criollo bean, and I’ve been told various stories that dispute that, and many chocolate experts agree that pure criollo chocolate doesn’t really exist anymore.

I’ll let the geneticists work that out, and concentrate on the taste of the chocolate. Luckily I had help during this tasting from Pam Williams, who runs Ecole Chocolat, an online school for budding chocolatiers. (That’s her hand with the girly-girl ring, not mine.) An expert on chocolate, Pam and I snapped the chocolate into manly-sized pieces and we tasted away.

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