"Congé Annuel." I'm really starting to despise those two little words.
The above photo comes courtesy of my local wine shop. Two months of holiday?! It's not just wine (although as you know, that is a subject very dear to my heart) but it's getting nigh-on impossible to find good coffee anymore : Lomi, Loustic, Telescope, Black Market are all closed and Ten Belles will be joining them on that tropical beach as of this evening.
Finding a place to eat is still ok - you just have to be flexible (don't set your heart on one particular place) and a little more creative than usual. There are still some very good places serving food... (More on that in a couple of days...)
However, this little surge of creativity has got my brain cells going a step further... what's the next big food trend to hit Paris?
And that's where friends come in handy - for the cooked spaghetti trick : to bounce ideas off the wall and see if one or some of them stick.
Here's the feedback from a bunch of influential, anglophone foodies...
I have been feeling the trend towards all things American will continue, in particular the grilled cheese sandwich, accompanied by the emergence of authentic, healthy Japanese noodle places. You heard it here first!
We tend to eschew trends and seem to go about inadvertently creating them – though admittedly, all we do is recreate things we miss from the States, and anything American is inexplicably white hot right now.
Personally, we'd love to see people jump on the boozy dessert and artisanal bread bandwagon. But it will probably be doughnuts.
My vote goes to froyo. It's been huge in the US for quite a while, but these new shops with the machines, 0% fat yogurt, and the toppings bar are popping up in trendier areas like the Canal and the Marais.
There's not just it mylk and MyBerry anymore. Chacun Ses Gouts, Baci Bisou, and Yogurt Factory have all moved in over the past year, and there's even a froyo truck from the south of France that's heading to Paris.
I think a growing food trend in Paris is the freelance approach to food, instead of café or restaurant owners having food prepared on-site I think chefs will continue to be invited to share their specialties, whether that be baked goods, salads, sandwiches, whatever.
I love this food trend because it reflects a changing structure in the work environment and how we look at employment. It also encourages sharing, collaboration, and community within the food scene, and can usher in more quality, local, and seasonal ingredients that will support smaller farmers and producers.
I think the next big food trend is one that is already emerging - a step above fast food à la Frenchie to Go that specialize in more gourmet sandwiches, departing from the classic jambon-beurre on soggy white baguette. What remains to be seen is if the prices will continue teetering toward those you're likely to find at sit-down restaurants or if they'll be able to find ways to offer quality without extortionate costs.
And so what do I think...?
Well, I'm also longing to see Paris open up to more foreign cultures. It's happening, slowly but surely but there's still a long way to go. This is not to say I have a problem with French cuisine (far from it) there is a richness that I find in London and New York, which is still lacking here. Maybe an injection of different offerings, foreign spices and take-aways, will be the kick-up-the-backside that the flagging French restaurant scene needs. (See blog post "Food is Sexy!")
Tied in with this is a desire for the restaurateurs to be more imaginative with the drinks they're serving.
We all know what Bordeaux tastes like... and instant "cool points" are readily available for those serving natural wine, but when are we going to see different alcohols, like saké or sherry, Moscato d'Asti or mezcal in our glasses...?