Sunday, September 5, 2010

An American in Paris

I've been entirely too busy falling in love with Paris to devote any time to a computer but Sunday is a day of rest and Saturday was very much a day of play so some down time was much needed. This morning I ventured out for a cup of coffee and something to eat. Bad idea on a Sunday morning in Paris. I wandered past several closed cafes before conceding to be the American and grab a Starbucks (Judging me right now? Ya? Okay let's see what happens when it's you rolling out of an all night bender in desperate need of caffeine m'kay?). Please be advised, Starbucks isn't Starbucks in France. It's some type of substandard swill the French government engineered to assure Parisians french coffee is the best. It's a disgrace to the American cup of Joe and I'm writing to the embassy to have it removed immediately, if not sooner. (For the record, I ordered a black coffee, not one of those sad sugar laden things they call a latte. And yes, I love the espresso here but sometimes you just need a whole cup of caffeine not just a shot).

I should have quit while I was behind but I guess I'm just not that smart. I finally found a boulangerie that was open on a Sunday and hopped in for what I thought was going to be a tasty little lunch. I have to say that thus far I have only occasionally encountered the stereotypical french attitude towards foreigners but this particular bakery had it in spades. After being ignored, snapped at, passed by and snubbed, I walked out the door with what I thought would be a french bakery version of a pizza. No, I was not expecting American pizza. No, I was not expecting Italian pizza. What was I expecting? Some tasty bread with some interesting cheese. What did I get? A tastless carbohydrate dish with tomato soup/sauce and a non-descript cheese substance that I couldn't identify and didn't enjoy.

In the last few days I've had some of the best meals of my life. The french know how to do many things very very well, possibly better than any other culture and that makes it hard to remember that not every gastronomical experience will be a good one. When I go back to the states I'll spend weeks raving about the culinary experiences I've had, but the first thing I'm going to get is a giant cup of coffee, closely followed by a piece of pizza pie.

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