There are only a few cafes in Paris that are genuine quality. I know that may be hard to believe, I have already been through the grieving process and have come out the other side. And the other side drew my attention to the five or so cafes in Paris that can actually stand unmoved in their deemed genre; the cafe. I work at one of them. And it is filled with some pretty amazing chefs who should each be renown, except that beyond their customer’s praise and the café’s visor, they’re not.
And then there is this other one, and it makes the best coffee in Paris. As I’m sure you are well aware, that is quite an achievement. So if you come here, you must ask me for their name. And his weekend I am filling-in for an absentee in their kitchen. All I can think is that I am seriously getting around these genuine cafes in Paris. I can’t explain through worthy-enough words, how settling it feels to finally have connections in a city you have only lived in for five months. Connections that make you a part of the network that makes up the food industry in Paris.
New Zealand is up-up-and-away in the world when it comes to authentic and trustworthy café food. We’ve got the quiche filled with onions, ham, spinach, Edam cheese and it comes with a salad on the side, to which France would respond; “Why would you put salad greens on a plate!?”
We understand the combinations of sauces, fruits and varying poultry in salads.
Sometimes, when all you want is portobello mushrooms, pesto and cream cheese on a slice of toast, we get that and we wouldn’t make a fool out of you for it.
And we even offer Gorgonzola soufflés! I haven’t even seen a soufflé on a menu in France. We have focaccia bread filled with garlic aioli, sautéed vegetables, shredded roast chicken with slices of emmental from Farro; gourmet pies filled with creamy mushrooms and baked chicken dow at The Chiller; and thick steaming pumpkin soups with coriander and crispy brown seeded bread. I think we can all come to an agreement and write here, that as a nation we understand lunch food.
France, you only have a few places who see what we see.
Like Sesame down on the canal who thought about duck and goats cheese, apple, balsamic and almonds and then put it all on one plate.
Or Coutume, who with brilliance mixed chicken with basil and cream cheese and placed it on a velvety black bun.
France you may not understand lunch like we do.
But then you did give us galettes and filled them with herring and potato and crème fraiche.
And then there are your bistros with chicken caesar salads that rely on their understanding that cheese should always, always come in large quantities, even when it is parmesan.
And so I will not be that hard on you, even if you don’t see food how it should be eaten, in a form that is light, explosively flavoursome and nutritiously filling. I promise I will not be that unfair, except that I will remain amongst these five or so cafes here...
Well at least most of the time.