The Fare: American burgers, fries, and tacos.
The Stops: Two American food trucks in Paris are dispelling longstanding stereotypes that the French abhor the following: Fast food, Eating with their hands, and All things un-French.
Le Camion Que Fume (not to be confused with Seattle’s beloved food truck, El Camion) hit the streets in January 2012 and earned the title of first food truck in Paris. Owner Kristin Frederick, a native Californian, specializes in burgers and fries up some of the crispiest frites in town.
Frederick’s culinary pedigree is what sets this truck apart from many others. Parisians who are unaccustomed to gourmet food on-the-go have an easier buying decision when they know the person behind the grill graduated from a top notch culinary school in Paris. For 8 euros (11 dollars), silk scarf wearing and fur coat-lovers alike queue up for one of Frederick’s burgers.
My favorite Parisian food truck, Cantine California, hit the streets this past spring. Interestingly enough, Frenchie food hipsters in their 20s and 30s refer to the food on wheels movement as “Brooklyn style,” even though most of us would argue US cities such as Austin and Portland actually pioneered the food truck scene.An added perk for American travelers: This truck’s American kitchen posse seems to perk up a little when they hear a familiar Yankee accent.
Cantine’s owner Jordan Feilders doesn’t care with whom young Frenchies attribute the food truck crusade, as long as he continues to see the same amount of hype and demand for his burgers. Spending his years between California, Canada and Paris, the charming Feilders seamlessly switches back and forth between taking orders in French and English.
There is something culturally satisfying about seeing Parisian men dressed in fancy cufflink suit combos and French stylish fashionista-types voraciously digging into a burger with as much passion and deliberateness as their forefathers who stormed the Bastille in the 1700’s and released all of the political prisoners.
Did fellow Americans Frederick and Feilders adequately represent our country’s favorite beef patty/bun combo? Hells ya they did.
Cantine California is catapulting the perception of American’s favorite beef patty as a fast food vice (McDonald’s is one of the most crowded eateries on a Friday night in Paris) to a sit down white tablecloth-worthy venture. Each burger comes out medium rare unless otherwise specified.
Feilders works directly with French organic producers to secure the best beef, the best fixins, and the best hamburger bun known to carnivorous carb lovers. The result – a juicy burger wrapped in a buttery yet light bun that is on par with my favorite burger bun in Seattle at Li’l Woody’s.
You may remember the French were not big fans of George W, so Feidler assimilates well with the Obama burger. Loaded with gouda, onion rings, chipotle mayo and avocados, this patriotic dish only takes second seat to the most popular order, the Cali Classic.
So the next time you score a good deal on a flight to Paris (I generally find the best deals on Iceland Air), make room for treats from the fromageries (cheese stores), patisseries (bakeries) and of course, seek out your fair share of burgers, tacos and all things American.This American evangelist is even introducing tacos to a baguette-loving city where baguettes are the main source of carbs. For 10 euros, carnitas and chicken tacos with black beans can be at your fingertips.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on November 27th, 2012.
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