BLT

© Jessie Kanelos

The thing about being a token American in France is all of my French friends keep me posted on all the American happenings in Paris.  I am always the first to know about the latest burger truck, American steakhouse, Breaking Bad spoilers, and cupcake depot.  Since I have never thought about chili cheese anything in my four years in France, I am always hesitant to eat at American restaurants.  For me, it is peculiar that eating something like Korean makes me far more sentimental for home than an uninspired burger on an industrial bun.

But for months, I had two French friends raving about  the latest attempt at American at Little Kitchen in Montreuil (80 rue de Paris 93100 Montreuil).  With a farm-to-table mentality and an airy “New York” storefront ambiance, this little café has a delicious, mixed bag of a menu. With American standards like chicken Caesar salads, beef burritos, and cheeseburgers alongside a mushroom and cheese tartine, a Japanese shrimp salad, and mysterious daily specials, everything is inspired and freshly prepared.  I was nervous ordering a BLT, a sandwich whose most exciting component is often its slathering of mayonnaise.  But I was pleasantly surprised to discover juicy tomato, micro greens, and crispy bacon all on a grainy, grilled country bread.   Unfortunately, their hours of operation do not yet go into the evening hours (Monday-Friday 11:00am-7:00pm).  But with a little planning, the Little Kitchen hosts a brunch not to be missed the first Sunday of the month from 10:00am-3:00pm.  Oh, and it is cheap.  It is easy to eat for under 10 euros.  Make an afternoon out of it, do not miss the bargains at the Montreuill flea market every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

But BLTs are one of the easiest, foolproof things to whip up at home.  I would apologize for putting the recipe in French, but a BLT is kind of a commonsense sandwich.

littlekitchenmontreuil.com

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Nail in Foot, Burger in Hand

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We are in the demolition stage of our new apartment.  This morning, as we walked into the place for our daily visit, our quirky 1950s flat to-be was transformed into the town of Bedrock.  Before I could even say “Wow, what a dump!”, “Ohmygawwwwputainmerde!”  My first step into the apartment, I got a nail in the foot.  The throbbing pain was the least of my worries.  Since I have the undisputed Generation Me dilemma of not having had health insurance since my shatterproof undergraduate days, I was sure I could feel my jaw locking in the matter of moments. Luckily, I had an unsuccessful semester in grad school that got me up to speed on that important tetanus shot.  Phew!

To help ease the pain, I was whisked off for lunch at the hyper-popular food truck Le Camion Qui Fume by mon mari qui fume.  Le Camion Qui Fume ends the search for an authentic American cheeseburger in Paris.  Although there are imposters on every cafe menu, 18 euros for a dry, uninspired hamburger on an industrial bun is not worth the ho-hum indulgence.  Food trucks have not  taken off in Paris yet, partially considering that the French cannot eat with their hands alone.  But fellow American expat Kristin Frederick has mastered the right fatty mix of ground beef, the soft, butter-brushed sesame seed buns, real cheddar and shoestring fries to cheer up any expat having a bad day.  Although the truck changes locations everyday, we dug into our burgers on the steps of the Église de la Madeleine overlooking the Place de la Concorde.  And at just 10 euros for a burger and fries, there is no better bargain or breathtaking view.

http://www.lecamionquifume.com/