Report on the latest Americanization of French customs: Food Trucks in Paris!
After reading an article and viewing a video from the New York Times about the new food truck phenomenon in Paris: http://video.nytimes.com/video/2012/06/03/dining/100000001572386/a-food-truck-takes-paris-.html, I had to go to try one out for myself. Cantine California is run by a French man who has lived in the states and recently moved to Paris from LA. He brought is know-how with tacos and hamburgers with him and in one month, parked at two different outdoor markets, he has his enthusiastic clientele.
I had been surfing the weather channel for days and was lucky that Wednesday was relatively fair. The truck is at the Marché St Honoré on Wednesdays and Saturdays and that particular market is convenient for me. I arrived at about 12:30pm and there was a long line of patient and cheerful hungry patrons. Some French people are hesitant to brave messy food where the possibility of tables and knives and forks is dubious. They checked out the situation and opted for the various cafes that border the market. Although there were French people on the line, I heard a lot of American and British accents.
Since it was my first visit, I chose the Cali-Burger: cheddar cheese, avocado, crisp bacon, caramelized onions and red onions with the special sauce (ketchup mixed with mayonnaise) and frites. I had read that the bun was specially chosen from an Arab bakery in the 18th arrondissement: part brioche, part hamburger bun. The meat is faux-filet (an excellent cut) that they grind daily.
The wait to order was 1/2 hour and the wait to get the food was about 15 minutes. I was lucky to get one of the tall table-stools (there are three at this stand) and so I happily consumed my burger like a person.
It's a messy deal but it is delicious. Every ingredient is of the highest quality and each component is delicious in itself and excellent as a combination. I would give the fries a B- though. They were just not at all crispy. P.S. I ate the whole burger.
The Cantine California is at the Marché St. Honoré on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and at the Marché Raspail on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No markets are open on Monday but I heard the owner say that the truck was there. I'm looking forward to returning with friends for the soft taco.