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For our French friends: your comments re: American food?

For our French friends: your comments re: American food?

Old May 20th, 2021, 05:47 PM
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For our French friends: your comments re: American food?

We've eaten at a restaurant 3x this week, still spending our stimulus money.
2 higher class restaurants in our town closed during Covid, with the result that the average quality of the remaining restaurants declined.

I guess the restaurants have to prepare what sells, which I assume is why about the only offerings remaining are : burgers; salmon; steak; burgers; taco ____; burritos; burgers; maybe fish; and not too much else. Catering to the plebian tastes of the masses, apparently.

We used to have a "French" restaurant about 15 miles from home; one night I ordered the cassoulet, and it came out with corn and lima beans in it (not as a side). Next day I posted a Tripadvisor review, suggesting they send the executive chef to the Dordogne for a week, that cassoulet would NEVER have corn in it. The place closed 3 months later.

Which got me to thinking:
If I were French, and visited the US, I'd be looking forward to returning to some good food; cassoulet; beef bourginon; etc etc.

So, French folk particularly, what have been your experiences with American food along these lines? When here, do you yearn for good "home cooking"?

Last edited by Moderator1; May 22nd, 2021 at 08:49 AM. Reason: removed political comment
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Old May 21st, 2021, 07:19 AM
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Tom you are teasing, there is very little French food, it is mainly regional.

Cassoulet from Castelnaudary or at a pinch Toulouse, Dordogne is further north.
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Old May 21st, 2021, 08:11 AM
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Just curious, I am really not trying to be corny but with all due respect do you really think there would be many French people on this forum, particularly other than expats, immigrants or similar. I suspect you may not get too many responses for what you are looking for. Put this in reverse, I wonder just how many French, Spanish, etc forums you follow !!!
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Old May 21st, 2021, 09:38 AM
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I also wonder where the OP lives! Leaving aside the James Beard Best Chef winner running several restaurants, my area has several specifically French restaurants still operating, not to mention the master French baker five minutes from my house whose operation also serves meals. I don't remember the last time I ate a burger, but I can choose from a plethora of south Asian restaurants, various Chinese places, Thai, Vietnamese and even Laotian. Then there are four Ethiopian and a couple of "African" places, several middle eastern, several Caribbean and Latin American operations along with the usual Mexican. Plus Italian, Spanish (tapas, yumm) and German. And the largest city in my area has a population of under half a million (although growing fast).
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Old May 21st, 2021, 10:52 AM
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Sorry, but... why would and should French people travelling to the US expect to find the same French food there that they get at home?
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Old May 21st, 2021, 12:50 PM
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I just took a look at Voyage Forum to see what advice French people were giving to travelers to the US. It was a good reminder that so much of what we in the US think of as normal is actually pretty exotic to Europeans. American breakfasts (c'est gigantesque), American diners, brunch (manque pas), menus with dozens of choices (c'est trop), Mexican restaurants (ils sont partout), the American standards (l'hamburger, la pizza de New York, le hot-dog de Chicago), the sheer variety of cuisines in the cities - I get the impression that eating in the US is a great adventure for our French friends.

And from direct experience - some French might look down on California wines, but they admire our cocktail culture.


Last edited by michael_cain_77398; May 21st, 2021 at 12:53 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2021, 01:42 PM
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I just feel bad that tomboy lives in such a culinary wasteland... "burgers; salmon; steak; burgers; taco ____; burritos; burgers; maybe fish; and not too much else."


(I admit, though, that burgers are on my list of 3-things-you'd-want-to-take-to-eat-on-a-deserted-island.)
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 04:13 AM
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Jean George in NYC, the French Laundry is also excellent. But you could stop into France while at Epcot and get a decent meal. I can't get pizza delivered but we have some really good places to eat on the east coast of Florida. We sat next to the nicest French couple in Key West at Moon Dogs and they loved their breakfast. They asked us to school them on tipping. They showed us their bill and asked us what they should leave. Very refreshing.

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Old May 22nd, 2021, 05:48 AM
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But about French food. DH and friends and I constantly tried to decide which country has the best foods between France and Italy. Wait, I'm getting to the point about American food. On our several visits to both countries, we decided that everyday food in France wasn't as good as in Italy. BIg cuisine, a possible draw, but we were more familiar with everyday foods.

So in the U.S. I think French visitors have much more variety here than in everyday French bistros but I can't say about more formal restos. I do agree with michael_cain_77398's assessment that too much food is served in many U.S. places though. I'm not including fast food chains.

Last edited by Moderator1; May 22nd, 2021 at 08:47 AM. Reason: Deleted political comment
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 06:02 AM
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Some of the best food I've ever had has been in wooden shacks in the Low Country of South Carolina. Seems be a inverse relationship between how inviting the place looks and the quality of the food.

The best seafood I've ever had is on the Atlantic on Arcachon Bay. I'm sorry but boiled blue soft shell crabs in The Southern States are not for me.

It's also becoming widely recognised that since the introduction of the National minimum wage in France many locals outside cities just will not pay for good standard cooking and the middle market is being squeezed ....leaving the high end and fast food.

Last edited by BritishCaicos; May 22nd, 2021 at 06:05 AM.
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 07:16 AM
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I’ve got a plethora of cuisines to pick from in my hometown in Santa Barbara California, a fact I really appreciate after traveling overseas and eating one kind of food for 2 weeks. That’s why my favorite European city is London. Multicultural population and fabulous food. You can switch up and eat Indian one night, Spanish the next, delicious Japanese and Italian and have some great British cuisine all in one week. Paris was a bit boring for us for years, I now appreciate their embrace of non French cuisines and more inventive lighter French dishes.

Also, that $600 from TFG was distributed in January and there’s been another round of larger checks since then. Eating in restaurants 3 times a week and you still have that $600?

Last edited by macdogmom; May 22nd, 2021 at 07:20 AM.
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 07:31 AM
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Years ago while in university I spent a summer working at a hotel in Aspen. Once, when a French guest checked in, I mentioned a good French restaurant in town. The Frenchman wasn’t impressed. He said all he wanted was a good American steak.
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 08:31 AM
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<< That’s why my favorite European city is London. Multicultural population and fabulous food. You can switch up and eat Indian one night, Spanish the next, delicious Japanese and Italian and have some great British cuisine all in one week. >> Except for the very last statement ("great Britsh cuisine"), I do not really see any difference from Paris.

If you thought that Paris was not embracing non-French cuisine, you must have been limiting yourself to areas like Saint German-des-Prés. In my own Parisian neighborhood, French cuisine is in the minority. While Chinese/Indochinese, Maghrebi and Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi places outnumber the others, we have plenty of West African,Italian and Portuguese places, and with the recent influx of migrants (who clearly arrived with plenty of money), we now have a variety of Sudanese, Somali, Eritrean and Syrian restaurants which have sprung up like mushrooms.
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 09:48 AM
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My first response was, "What is the exact question here?" I've re-read the OP a couple of times and am still unsure.

All I know is that I don't think most tourists without dietary restrictions or extremely limited taste buds seek out their own cuisine when abroad.

I've never sought out a good hamburger in Italy or France, that's for sure. When we were in France for more than a few weeks and tired of standard French fare, we sought Thai or Vietnamese, both of which were easy to find. We found we needed more spice for our taste buds more than we needed to duplicate some American cuisine.

I certainly never sought out an "American breakfast." I love getting one in the US, especially with all the regional differences in mind; when in France or Italy, that too-big breakfast keeps me from inhaling all the great Italian and French food for the rest of the day.
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kerouac View Post
<< That’s why my favorite European city is London. Multicultural population and fabulous food. You can switch up and eat Indian one night, Spanish the next, delicious Japanese and Italian and have some great British cuisine all in one week. >> Except for the very last statement ("great Britsh cuisine"), I do not really see any difference from Paris.

If you thought that Paris was not embracing non-French cuisine, you must have been limiting yourself to areas like Saint German-des-Prés. In my own Parisian neighborhood, French cuisine is in the minority. While Chinese/Indochinese, Maghrebi and Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi places outnumber the others, we have plenty of West African,Italian and Portuguese places, and with the recent influx of migrants (who clearly arrived with plenty of money), we now have a variety of Sudanese, Somali, Eritrean and Syrian restaurants which have sprung up like mushrooms.
Nope, no 6th for us. I completely agree with you that all those places have “sprung up like mushrooms” in the past 5-10 years. Just not a fan of traditional French food just like I’m not a big fan of traditional American food. But I love Paris and we will be back!
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 10:24 AM
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The question was addressed to French people on Fodor's, and I have to say, actual French people are a rarity on Fodor's France. Why would they need Fodor's? There are plenty of reliable experts on this forum who live in France, but I'm assuming most of them are Americans or English.
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Old May 22nd, 2021, 11:02 AM
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Given how dietary preferences can be so 'individual', would it not be expected that French folks might each react to American food differently?
And also, how would French visitors respond to eateries in Montreal or Quebec City?

Phillippe Miseree from Jetlag Guides: "Pfft! C'est plat au bout."

I am done. the digesting of America by the dish
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