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American Food Trucks in Paris

b
Bkeats Jun 4, 2012 04:41 AM

Story in today's NYT about food trucks run by american chefs in Paris. Burgers and tacos. Just like NYC or LA. Anyone tried the ones mentioned?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/wor...

  1. sbourdin Jul 5, 2012 04:57 AM

    Looks like a new one is coming any day soon, Le Réfectoire
    http://www.le-refectoire.com/

     
    1. m
      MiniMonster Jun 13, 2012 12:50 PM

      Was just there today at Cantine California while it was parked at Marche Saint Honore.
      Got there late and they had run out of tacos so the crew I was with all had burgers.

      Really impressed, it was quite a surprise in fact.
      (NB: Coming to this truck was a lark, as we are in Paris to experience French food not Americana ---but for those who are curious, know that it is authentic and this truck would be right at home in Portland or LA.)

      First off there was a sort of service, not usually the case at taco trucks, but nice.
      As we queued the guy would come to the next person, chat + explain things and then bring the order to the kitchen (2 meters away!) then he even kind of managed the three stand up bar tables so that people would have a spot when their food came up.
      The service was friendly, helpful + courteous.

      Between the 5 of us we had three types of burgers: (1)Half Moon, (2)California and (2)The Dude.
      Preparation time was about 15 minutes.
      (he warned us our food would be a little longer because the kitchen had to cut more potatoes)

      The food was delish when it came out.
      On par with burgers in NYC and LA and unlike any in Paris (or London) right now.
      The burgers themselves had a nice smokey caramelized flavor, juicy, and the toppings on the various burgers all kept their integrity flavor-wise. The bun was soft but didn't get too soggy from the juices.

      One thing we were divided on, the fries. They were salty, sweet , umami when they first came out but got too soggy for half of us as they got cold.

      I think this will be a fun thing for Paris residents this summer.

      1. sunshine842 Jun 6, 2012 10:34 AM

        then let's not forget to mention that beloved installation of country markets -- the roast chicken truck.

        And the sausage-and-frites trucks in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, a la Momo.

        4 Replies
        1. re: sunshine842
          mangeur Jun 6, 2012 11:32 AM

          Oh, yes! The rotisserie trucks! I'll never forget my first one. I asked for a hind quarter of rabbit. The seller said, "You're American." "Well, yes I am." "I knew because the English won't eat bunnies."

          1. re: mangeur
            sunshine842 Jun 6, 2012 11:51 AM

            LOL -- as though Americans don't cringe at the idea of eating Thumper! :D

            Our favourite was a day when we were late getting to the market, and all they had was quail...oh man, those little-bitty birds were manna of the gods.

            1. re: sunshine842
              mangeur Jun 6, 2012 12:15 PM

              "LOL -- as though Americans don't cringe at the idea of eating Thumper! :D"

              You've met my husband?

              1. re: mangeur
                sunshine842 Jun 6, 2012 12:43 PM

                oh there are some Americans who eat rabbit for sure (I do, too) -- but I have a hunch the rotisserie guy would be pretty shocked to see how hard it is to find rabbit at retail in the States.

        2. Bob Dobalina Jun 6, 2012 08:00 AM

          I cannot comment on Paris food trucks, but I encountered a number of food trucks in northern Brittany on my recent visit.

          I was staying in the tiny hamlet of Bazouges-la-Perouse, just a few km south of Mont-St-Michel -
          Every Wednesday night, the local pizza food truck parks in the town square and serves handmade pizzas, cooked in a wood-fired brick oven inside the back of the truck. This oven looked customized to me - Blew my mind that it fit successfully in the back of the truck and it was still road-worthy and, more importantly, the pizza was outstanding - excellent char from the wood oven. Very American in style to be quite honest, but with Franco-European ingredients. The pizza truck apparently cycles through five different towns in that area of Brittany - regrettably, I did not keep one of the menus.

          On Thursday morning in Bazouges, the weekly rolling farmer's market featured a galette and crepe truck - I tried the galette saucisse simple, which featured what I would guess was a housemade sausage - definitely one of the best sausages I have ever sampled anywhere. Lots of unctuous fat. Like the pizza truck, I assume this truck also makes appearances at different farmer's markets in the area (which includes Combourg, Fougeres, etc.)

          There were also some mobile vendors at the Saturday market in Fougeres, but they were not as good as the ones sampled in the little village.

          So definitely keep an eye open for your country cousins - they are ahead of the curve on the food truck idea.

          13 Replies
          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            Parigi Jun 6, 2012 08:15 AM

            The pizza trucks have been all over France forever.
            There is a cult one in Apt in the Luberon. Just spot the long lines.

            1. re: Parigi
              Bob Dobalina Jun 6, 2012 08:42 AM

              Do they typically have a wood-fired brick oven inside? I don't think that would pass inspection in the U.S.

              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                Parigi Jun 6, 2012 08:45 AM

                I do not know. I just followed the queue.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina
                  mangeur Jun 6, 2012 09:04 AM

                  Yes, they often do. The one we patronize in Barjac does.

                  Lots of the good stuff abroad wouldn't pass inspection here. More the pity.

              2. re: Bob Dobalina
                p
                Ptipois Jun 6, 2012 08:43 AM

                Brittany indeed seems to be graced with decent pizza trucks. There is also a very nice one circling around the Riec-sur-Belon and Pont-Aven area in South Finistère.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina
                  p
                  pepisstud Sep 3, 2012 12:11 PM

                  Leaving in 2 weeks for Bazouges-La-Perouse. Staying at Nikki's house which we rented from VRBO.com. Look forward to the pizza truck experience and I'll try to get one of the menus for you. Any other food recommendations for the area? Did you go to the huge Sat. market in Rennes? Will make sure I get to the Cancale market, both the one on Sunday and the daily oyster market.

                  1. re: pepisstud
                    Bob Dobalina Sep 4, 2012 01:47 PM

                    That's awesome - would love to get your feedback. We stayed at Sandy's house in Bazouges, also from vrbo.

                    We went to the Saturday market in Fougeres on our way back to Paris - it spans several streets in the center of town, with a lot of non-food booths.

                    If you go there, click this link - http://maps.google.com/maps?q=rue+nat...

                    Where the words Rue du Beffroi appear in front of you on the Google map was a baker selling handmade breads - he is in that back corner - you will also likely note the long line to buy his stuff, longer than any other line - I suspected his line was longer than everyone else's because of the quality and we were not disappointed - he was almost completely sold out of beautiful breads when we got there, but still got a few goodies.

                    The galette trucks there were ok, but the sausage was not nearly as good as the one we had in Bazouges.

                    Bon voyage!

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina
                      p
                      pepisstud Sep 5, 2012 06:26 AM

                      Will try to fit in Fougeres market but will certainly report back on pizza truck in Bazouges! Thanks for the link. Return early October.

                    2. re: pepisstud
                      PhilD Sep 5, 2012 04:51 PM

                      Pizza trucks are common in rural France. But they are not really destination places. They have been around for years so mentioned here to counter the assertion that food trucks are a US import. Useful stand-bys if staying in rural France but local restaurants are often better bets.

                      1. re: PhilD
                        t
                        tmso Sep 6, 2012 12:32 AM

                        Rural France, but also the urban banlieus, cities like Marseille ... I think Paris intra-muros is the only place they're hard to find.

                        1. re: tmso
                          p
                          Ptipois Sep 6, 2012 12:36 AM

                          That is due to zoning and parking regulations. Even outside of Paris these trucks do not stop anywhere they fancy. They have concessions at markets and special spots. Le Camion qui Fume has experienced some difficulty with the Mairie de Paris at a time, I don't know where things stand right now but it's never simple.

                          Pizza trucks, and also friterie trucks, gaufres trucks, beignets trucks, crêpes trucks, all sorts of trucks. Trucks are really all over France and they're an old thing here. Only Paris-centered foodies who pay no attention to what's happening extra-muros can imagine that food trucks are a new thing fresh from the US.

                          1. re: Ptipois
                            sunshine842 Sep 7, 2012 12:48 PM

                            My very, very favorite trucks are the poulet roti trucks. A big roaster built right into the side of the van.

                            Probably because a big poulet fermier, with a bag full of those luscious potatoes, is one of my all-time favourite lunches en plein air. (or a pintade fermier...or two or three cailles....see a pattern here?)

                            There used to be a lady down in the Dordogne (don't know if she's still around or not) who had a paella cart -- she'd back this big cart into the market, with what is basically an enormous wok - she'd zip over to the poissonerie trucks and make her buys, then come back and start her paella. By lunchtime it was done -- and oh, man, what a great lunch THAT made!

                        2. re: PhilD
                          Bob Dobalina Sep 9, 2012 08:48 AM

                          Phil, just a correction - was definitely not asserting this was an American import. And I have never seen a pizza truck of this type in the U.S., with brick oven.

                          Rather, I was commenting the style of the pizza itself was closer to American-style pizza, than say an Italian style.

                    3. mangeur Jun 4, 2012 07:59 AM

                      I think I'll have to pass on this one. With only one taco on the menu and no prices listed, I think I'll stick to my favorite truck in Lodi where cabeza (or any other meat) tacos are $1.25 and horchata is $1. http://www.cantinecalifornia.com/

                      Are Parisians this interested in American street food to line up and pay high prices for it? I think of street food as dirt cheap, like Moaz or gyros.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: mangeur
                        b
                        Bkeats Jun 5, 2012 11:09 AM

                        That was the way things used to be in NYC. Street food was cheap. Then Red Hook Lobster Rolls show up at $15 and the people are lined up. Who knew?

                        1. re: mangeur
                          sunshine842 Jun 5, 2012 11:42 PM

                          In a word, yes -- Le Camion Qui Fume has taken a few hits for having run out of food -- and while the tourists and expats certainly account for some of it, if they're that busy, Parisians have to be contributing.

                          I agree -- if I'm going to cough up that much for a burger, I want to at least sit down out of the rain.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            p
                            Ptipois Jun 6, 2012 08:42 AM

                            Of course Parisians are contributing, with l'Express and le Scope, etc., repeating to them that they're the greatest invention since sliced bread.
                            So the lines are made up of people who would never wait 3 minutes for a carton of fries with a grilled sausage at at proletarian camion-friterie in Northern France... Which personally I love.

                            1. re: Ptipois
                              mangeur Jun 6, 2012 09:02 AM

                              Yummmm. One of my favorite truck-treats was a sausage-crepe in Lanvollon in Brittany. I've ordered it every time I've seen it since, but never as good.

                              1. re: Ptipois
                                sunshine842 Jun 6, 2012 10:32 AM

                                heh - I was alluding to the often repeated mantra that the only reason that McDo succeeds in Paris is because of the tourists....which always makes me laugh. Obviously spoken by folks who've never seen the crowds at lunchtime anywhere in the country.

                          2. Parigi Jun 4, 2012 05:17 AM

                            Many Parisians quite like Le Camion Qui Fume and have made it very popular
                            A French colleague went with her little girl, waited for 2 hours only to be told that food had run out.
                            We who have moved from the US to Paris love the food-truck scene in SF but must admit we have no desire to queue up for a burger on the street in Paris.
                            But any operation that introduces the idea to the French that there is such a thing as a good burger has its merit.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Parigi
                              souphie Jun 5, 2012 10:23 PM

                              I'm introduced to the idea -- still waiting for the actual thing.

                              1. re: souphie
                                Parigi Jun 6, 2012 12:29 AM

                                From the person who took me screaming an kicking to a place I had always refused to go, in the US or in France: a McDo.

                                1. re: Parigi
                                  mangeur Jun 6, 2012 08:02 AM

                                  LOL! And in the US, to my first visit to an In-and-Out, where like the Frenchman that he is, he consumed his burger with knife and fork.

                                  (Next time he visits, we'll do a taco truck!)

                                  1. re: mangeur
                                    souphie Jun 7, 2012 10:52 PM

                                    You ladies are right -- to be more precise, I have yet to be convinced that a quality burger is a good thing. To this day, the burgers I liked best where from Burger King and from Five Guys. I found all the supposedly "quality ones" of no interest. With the possible exception of the Robuchon things, but I'm pretty sure they don't count as burgers.

                                    1. re: souphie
                                      PhilD Jun 8, 2012 05:27 AM

                                      But isn't the thing about the food trucks is they up the quality of "street food" and distil the essence of a great burger doings their product. They aim to reproduce the true experience but with really great ingredients. So carefully balanced quality meat/ fat ratios to get the precise greasy finish. That is very different from the high end resturant burger, including the ones with foie. They can be good but they are not the same thing. A good example is Meatliquer in London, their Deafd zippy Burger is their take in a Big Mac , but made with really great ingredients. The texture is right, the taste is right, but the quality is also amazing.

                                      I assume this is what a good burger truck does in Paris, it isn't,or shouldn't be a street Robuchon, instead it should be like an original Big Mac, back when Ray Kroc was grinding his own beef and slicing his own pickles.

                                      1. re: PhilD
                                        b
                                        Bkeats Jun 8, 2012 12:32 PM

                                        Which is exactly why Shake Shack has lines out the door. But I still do love the DB Burger from Boulud. The foie and short rib inside does add something wonderful.

                                        1. re: Bkeats
                                          mangeur Jun 8, 2012 12:42 PM

                                          I think Soup might agree. I do. We are talking about completely different animals that can each be enjoyable in its own right rather than comparable to each other.

                                        2. re: PhilD
                                          Bob Dobalina Jun 11, 2012 08:23 AM

                                          For one American perspective on food trucks, please enjoy -

                                          http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

                                          I imagine this would never come to pass in Paris?

                                2. re: Parigi
                                  p
                                  Ptipois Jun 6, 2012 08:37 AM

                                  The Beef Club makes an excellent burger, as do a few other restaurants in Paris. Don't see the point of waiting in line. Food trucks have been all over France for decades, describing them as an American thing is a bit dumb. The only new thing is expensive food trucks in Paris who frustrate you to no end before you can hope to order from them. Well, without me.

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