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Bienvenue à Brooklyn, ville de Paris. Or if you prefer, welcome to Brooklyn, Paris.
It's not a geographical error, but rather something in the air that's been stirring over the past few years in the City of Lights... and it smells deliciously smoky. The homeland of French cuisine and nationalistic pride is converting to American ways and tastes - and to the culinary traditions from the streets of the most well-known district in the Big Apple. As it would happen, against all prejudice the French would fall in love with the high quality street food that is so typically American - so much so that when young people talk about hamburgers one no longer thinks of second-rate fast food, but rather of the new magic word that is quickly spreading from mouth to mouth: eating here is … très Brooklyn.
Le camion qui fume's truck, "the smoking truck", can be found traveling anywhere from the Rive Droite to the Rive Gauche of the Seine. But don't call it a food cart - it's absolutely a "mobile restaurant" and its culinary achievements are spread via word of mouth, social networks, the press (even Le Monde has enthusiastically shown its praise) as well as on its own website. The scent of caramelized onions and high-quality meat diffuses into buildings and boutiques from its open-air stove. The entrepreneur behind the truck is a thirty year-old Californian woman who studied under chefs right in Paris, who pays particular attention to every ingredient's details, choosing only the finest meats, vegetables and cheeses. A burger and fries "to go" costs 10 Euros, but the quality and gourmet experience make it worth it... so much so that a long line forms in front of her stand after the movies on Sunday evenings. Other than the run-of-the-mill burger, this nomadic restaurant has also started offering theme nights including aperitifs, partnered with venues where you can listen to music, becoming just as much of a "must" as dinner parties catered by the most well-known of chefs. And of course to end the meal appropriately, one can delight in a slice of American-style cheesecake.
Its success competes with that of Cantine California, which uses the same method but with different recipes. Each day this mobile restaurant chooses the Parisian corner where it will set up shop to serve a light breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. To find out where it will be next, potential customers have to rely on its map provided online. Managed by an American chef who married a French woman, it offers a typically Californian cuisine, transporting those who partake in it from Rue Saint Honoré to Venice Beach in just one bite. Here one can enjoy tacos, hamburgers, burritos, tortillas... as well as cupcakes for brunch. The owner only offers high-quality organic ingredients; his organic meat - from pork to beef - comes from France's valleys, and he orders milk from cows located in the Alps, choosing his suppliers one at a time.
It's a far cry from the in all senses “cheap” street food that is all the rage on Parisian streets (and big cities); just like in New York or Los Angeles, now you can not only fall in love under the Eiffel Tower but also enjoy a good American meal.