by Paige Donner
Paris, the ultimate city of foodies, is, as we write this, gripped with Food Truck Fever.
Yes, believe it! In exemplary fashion of how it takes several months to a few years for trends to cross the Atlantic (and it goes both ways!)... Since December, when Paris got its first Food Truck, aptly named Le Camion Qui Fume (transl. "The Smoking Truck,") to now, mid-April when Paris can boast its second Food Truck as of April 1st - Cantine California - to feed the fevered frenzy for French Fries, we can now confidently say that food trucks have firmly taken hold of the Parisian Foodie Scene.
Because, indeed, it is french fries these food trucks purvey. Cantine California offers both sweet potato french fries and regular french fries. All are organic. On their menu are also Burgers made from steak-grade quality cuts of beef bought direct from a small country farm where no hormones or other additives are used to process the meat. Same goes with the pulled pork he slow roasts in Mexican (mild) spices to achieve a very excellent Paris rendition of carne asada tacos. The taco shells are handmade in the truck and are the traditional soft tacos that anyone from California has come to expect.
And the cupcakes - red velvet with a butter cream white frosting, or a deep dark chocolate with a rich chocolate frosting - all made with organic flour that he - owner-entrepreneur Jordan Fielders (French/American/ Canadian) also buys direct from the mill. And the chocolate is Fair Trade too. The chef, also named Jordan (Powers) and her boyfriend man the cooking and prepping while Jordan Fielders, always a foodie but formerly working in the energy and mining sector, takes care of the "front of house."
Figure on about 10€ for a plate of carne asada tacos, served with lime wedges and real black beans, along with authentic hot sauce. Truly one of the few places, very few places, in Paris where you can find an authentic California -even S. of the border - taco. Hamburgers are stupefyingly delicious. I'll stop by regularly just for more sweet potato fries. And the cupcakes are a terrifying 2.50€ - terrifying because at that price I'll be able to pick up a half a dozen of those fresh baked butter cream monsters at a time.
Kudos to both Kristin of Le Camion Qui Fume - read more about her hamburgers in this month's Glamour magazine, French version - and Jordan of Cantine California for braving not just a city of foodies (yes, ok, read food snobs) but also a business bureaucracy that doesn't make things all that easy for young entrepreneurs. Although, I have to come clean, I did see a food truck parked in St. Germain - on St. Germain Blvd near rue du Bac - last year during Designer Days. They were giving away/selling little cups of butternut squash soup and macarons, if memory serves. Will have to dig up that picture I snapped...if only to prove to myself I'm not imagining it!
Also, when you reflect on the whole itinerant food vendor thing and the long history the city has with its fresh markets, all of which also have food vendor stalls established within them (like crepes to go or roasted chicken with potatoes) it doesn't, in fact, seem like such a stretch for these new kids on the block to rock up to the same curb and set up their tent, er, truck. After all, one thing Parisians do know and that's food. And every lunch hour, M-F, millions of them swarm the city streets looking for something good to eat.
Twitter @ LocalFoodWine [photos/video by Paige Donner]