Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flavor tripping

This looks like a lot of fun- a West African berry called "miracle fruit" that chemically enhances taste , and makes things taste sweeter, turning Tabasco sauce into doughnut glaze, lemon to sugar , and beer to velvety chocolate. The active ingredient in the fruit, miraculin, apparently 'binds' the taste buds, creating the strange reaction. The fruit (scientific name: synsepalum dulcificum) may be purchased online at this website. and here The fruit has been known to westerners since the 18th century, wonder why I haven't heard of it until now... Might be time to pick up a copy of Adam Leith Gollner's book The Fruit Hunters, which has an entire chapter on the subject, and to special order some berries for a party chez moi..

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Filet o' Fish global homogeny (or lack of)

I'm not a big fan of McDonald's but from time to time (drunk or starving, or both ) have been known to partake of their corporate cornucopia of processed products. One thing that fascinates me with global corporations like McD, is their painstaking recreation of all products globally , whether the meat, bread etc be locally sourced or not, the end product in China, Brazil and Russia is identical to Cowtown, USA. Yesterday I found myself in the middle of the Champagne region hungry and dropped by the local Golden Arches for a Filet o' Fish, and was given this:

No cheese, no tartar sauce, just fish and ketchup, surely some mistake!

No..... product served exactly as it should be (in France..)


I thought that they had been mistaken in giving me a sandwich with no cheese or tartar sauce, but upon seeing the packaging, the sandwich was intended to be exactly this way. I'm confused, because although I know they adapt to local markets, this is one of their "core products" that never changes. Waiting for their press office to explain, I'm really intrigued

**VERDICT** Just received a (very serious) e-mail from McDonald's press, who inform me that I was served a "McFish" , a variation of the Filet but without the tartar and cheese, exactly as described. It was a sandwich conceived for the Happy Meal, to replace the nuggets. So it appears I was served the wrong sandwich....

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chinese resto 'tude in Belleville

Maybe it's a Chinese thing, but why is it that lately I find the Asian restaurants I frequent strangely unfriendly? Special mention to last night at Le Pacifique in Belleville (good dim sum pictured left, apparently not mass made in some bathtub in an apartment for 20 in Ivry....the rest forgettable), Lao Siam (one of my Thai regulars), where only the male waitstaff seem to be friendly, while the females routinely make faces, ignore you or pretend not to understand what you are saying, especially while bringing you the wrong order (several times over), and, probably the king of the hill, Krung Thep, who are legendary for their inflexible booking policy, fine by me, but once, when asking 6 or 7 times for the bill and being routinely ignored, I was more than a little ticked off when the waitress asked my guests and I to immediately vacate the table as the second service had begun. I told her I would have if the bill I had (repeatedly) asked for for the last thirty minutes had come.

Oh, and for all these people saying Belleville is so great (thanks! Guardian and NYT), I know it's the land of Piaf and all that, but it is still emminently skanky, full of bums and junkies and dirty. I'll take my bobo tenth any day..(but still make occasional forays for cheap Kirin at Paris Store and Tigre Qui Pleut on the rue de Belleville)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

REAL Red Bull now authorized in France

Guess it finally happened...

Real Red Bull with Taurine will be released in France soon (or so a little birdy told me...)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chez Jeannette/ "Trendy in Paris"

Funny how some places can, in a moments time, attain the sacred status of being labelled "cool". A number of establishments in Paris have been deemed "in" and "trendy", and the recent Fooding winner for deco , Chez Jeannette apparently belongs to these ranks. This afternoon I went for the first time, and although it is located in an appropriately soon to be bobo part of the tenth and has acquired the timeworn patina that sometimes characterizes these places (Anahi, Charbon, etc) it's not enough to convince me. The clientelle is very arty/studenty (ie no fucking idea how to dress) and the staff, while friendly, seem a little aloof/bored with serving.

Food is ok. Jambon de pays Beef tartar (hamburgered) with green beans, big chicken salad with balsamic vinegar sauce and feta cheese (enough for two).

Might warrant another visit to check out the night flora and fauna at 3h55 am..

47, rue du Faubourg Saint Denis, 75010 Paris