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Felice

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Felice

  1. I don’t think it would be worth a special trip. I actually have never even been to any of the Semaine de Gout events but many of the events revolve around activities for students. I know they have special lunches at elementary schools. Restaurants do offer special menus but I haven’t seen much else.
  2. Zeli, If you go to the last two pages of the following thread, http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...=favorite&st=30 you will find a few 'best of' lists which should help to narrow things down. I think Forest's choice of La Bigarrade is a good one.
  3. I would love to read this, French or American Saveur?
  4. March 20 is "Le Jour du Macaron" and according to what I've read Pierre Hermé will be offering a free tasting of his entire macaron collection. The day is meant to benefit La Federation des Maladies Orphelines, although I am not quite sure how given the tasting is "free'. The tasting will be from 10h-19h in both boutiques in Paris.
  5. I don't remember having heard a thing about "Le Restaurant" in the 6th which earned its first star. A search on Google didnt turn up much either. Strange that it would gather such little attention and then get a star.
  6. Our very own Ptipois, who is without a doubt the most knowledgeable person I know regarding food culture and history—French and otherwise-, will be at the Salon d'Agriculture this Friday giving a cooking demonstration using cheese from the Auvergne region of France. Recipes include Crème de Saint-Nectaire fermier, royales à la fourme d’Ambert Tuiles sablées au Cantal vieux Paquets de chou au Cantal jeune Friday 29 February, 10am-1pm Hall 7-2 Stand 8 allée C Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles, Paris 15th. Metro : Porte de Versailles, Balard. For more information: www.fromages-aoc-auvergne.com www.fromages-aoc-auvergne.com/Chez-Ptipois
  7. My French boyfriend tells me it means "Le" in southern patois.
  8. I am sorry for beating a dead horse, but I meant to respond to this during the week and didnt have time. First of all, as people have mentioned, the buss staff (water boy I think) bar tenders and expediter, and in some cases the host, are all tipped by the waiter. Where I have worked, we gave 10% of our tips to the bar, 10 % to the busser, 5% to the expediter and a few dollars to the host. All of these employees are still paid a higher wage, but their income is supplemented by tips. The kitchen staff, referred to as back of the house, are paid a salary or a higher hourly wage. I feel that I am in a unique position because I have worked in both systems, for more than 10 years as a server and manager in the US and then in France where servers are paid a salary like any other job. Service is included in the bill but this is not typically given directly to staff but is used to pay all staff a living wage. There are things that I like about both systems, but if I had the choice, I would pick the US system with tips as the main income without hesitation for many reasons. Jackl worries that the waiters are exploited by this system, but I certainly never felt exploited and had better working condition's in the US. Why? Quite simply, I was paid more, much more. In France, my pay was less than a 1/3 of what I made in the US. You could argue that I had all these great benefits, but I had health insurance at every restaurant in the US (although it was voluntary and I paid about 200$ a month) so the bonus of guaranteed benefits was not an issue. Sure, I had 5 weeks paid vacation, but I couldn’t really afford to go anywhere, so I took the pay instead. I also worked a lot harder in France. Since the restaurant pays much more for wages, they could only afford a skeleton crew. I had ten tables with no busser or expediter. In the US, I normally had 4-5 tables with support staff to help me. In France, however, since we didn’t depend on tips, waiters aren't as concerned if the service falls off, so in that sense, it was less stressful. The waiter can just shrug when things are to busy to handle. In France, the customer is not always right and waiters are allowed to tell them so, something I would never dare in the US. You don't like the side dish that comes with the roast chicken? Don't order it. In the US, you fight with the kitchen for special orders, so that your customer gets what he wants. And lastly, there is just something motivating about working for tips, the harder you work, the busier it is, the better service you give, the more money you make. But I think this is a very American idea, that you'd rather risk not making money one night, in order to potentially make a lot the next. These are all cultural attitudes, instilled at a very young age. Cultural differences are very hard to understand which is why it isn't fair to pass judgements from afar. If you have terrible, rude service, then don't tip and don't feel badly, but I think if you have acceptable or good service and choose not to tip on a principle that you are applying to another culture based on your own cultural references, that seems very unfair. You are much better off not travelling at all if you are not willing to except cultural differences. If you can't except the "when in Rome" philosophy, then perhaps staying home, where everyone thinks the same, is a safer bet. I can understand why a European would find the US service system not to their liking. When I go home, I am put off by the servers who want to be my pal, I'd rather them just bring my food, but I certainly wouldn't not pay someone because they wrote a smiley face on my check. Overfriendliness is not bad service and not a reason to not pay someone. (Although it is a waiters job to read their tables and to know who wants to be left alone) I was in Africa last year and the guidebooks said that my safari guide probably wasn't paid and was dependent entirely on my tips. Imagine, if I had decided that this wasn’t fair, that he was being exploited and therefore I wouldn’t pay him a dime in order to correct the system. Most would agree that this would be unconscionable. It doesn't seem like we will change anyone's mind however, and it probably doesn't matter. I made very good money as a waitress in the US and probably got stiffed once a year. Those who tipped well made up for those who tipped poorly.
  9. It's too late for tonight, but Racines was selling great tolive oil and I am fairly sure they had balsamic. And the oil shop on rue Jacob, I would imagine.
  10. I don't know about Europe in general but at least in France the minimum wage is higher than in the States and includes health care, pension, 5 weeks vacation pay and other benefits and everyone is entitled to this. However, it is not an enormous amount and so I always leave a little extra but at least you know people can live off of what they make, which is not always the case with the US minimum wage.
  11. I think we should give Jackal10 the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't understand how restaurant workers are paid in the US, which is very unlike the European system. There is a sub-minimum wage by law in the US for restaurant workers because it is assumed that they make tips. I do not know the laws in all states, but in Pennsylvania, where I last worked in the States, the legal wage was 2.01$ per hour and waiters had to claim either a fixed percentage of their sales or the total of their credit card tips, which ever is higher, as taxable wage. Restaurants can get in a lot of trouble if servers do not declare their tips and where I last worked, servers paid their taxes on a weekly basis, which meant that we owed the restaurant money since our pay did not cover our taxes owed. And so, fear not, the American server is indeed paying taxes on the amount of every bill, regardless of whether they are tipped or not. This is the system, like it or not ,and so it seems that if someone knowingly doesn't tip at all for good service, it's a little like saying to anyone you might hire to perform a service, after he's finished the job, 'I just don't feel like paying for this service', which doesn't appear all that fair. It has nothing to do with making a relationship; it is about paying for a service you have asked for by sitting down. Now, if someone doesn't know that servers only work for tips in the US, that is a different story.
  12. Probably not if you going at off hours (I think they might serve all day but am not sure) but if you go during lunch or dinner hours, it is probably best to reserve. I haven't been during the week so perhaps it's not so crowded, but there are not many tables, so it wouldnt surprise me if they are booked during the week as well.
  13. Do you think that they feel compelled to demote a few places? After all, it certainly makes for a good story and sells more guides. If Arpege were demoted to two stars, would it effect their business all that much?
  14. You need a reservation for Breizh, to eat crepes? ← YES, definitely. I called on Saturday afternoon and he had to squeeze us in that night and turned away tables while we were there. It's tiny and good.
  15. I wouldn't worry so much. Most servers in France are now paid a salary, so you don't need to worry about the % of the "service compris" , that goes to the owner to pay all salaries. Waiters do not depend on tips here, they are paid a salary like every other job (see average salaries in my post above), so you don't need to feel obliged to leave anything. However, if you really appreciated the service, then you can leave a small amount in appreciation. If the waiter just did his job, he served you, then leave nothing and don't worry about it. When I am happy with the service, I normally leave 1-2 euros per person, but there are certainly times when I leave nothing. I normally leave 50 centimes for my coffee but if you leave nothing or 10 no one will care. And also I agree with Ptipois and David, that some owners may see the fact that people leave tips as reason to keep salaries low. If people did not tip at all, owners might be obliged to pay more.
  16. Let us know about the cafe des musées. Becareful with no reservations on the weekend, you might be dissapointed. I am going to the Breizh café tonight
  17. In the Marais I would not miss Breizh café. You might also want to try the Café des Musées (49, rue de Turenne), a very nice bistro which serves simple yet very good cuisine. And, you'll need to make a trip to the 14th, not the 12th
  18. I have never worked in a higher-end restaurant in Paris, so I can't say what waiters expect or don't, but I imagine they are paid at the higher end of the salary scale and not dependent on tips, so you don't need to feel obliged to leave anything. There are not rules really. If you feel the service was exceptional and the person went out of their way, then I think a tip is appreciated, but how much is up to you. Where I worked we split our tips with everyone, including the kitchen, so your waiter may only get a small fraction anyway. I have to say that I strongly disagree that waiters are offended when they recieve a tip, not in France in any case. I can't speak for the customs of other countries, however I know that my colleagues and I always appreciated tips, although we did not expect them either. And I have plenty of French friends who tip and often received tips from French customers, so I don't agree that the French don't tip. I have a French friend who is a waiter and will try to ask him his thoughts on all this.
  19. In NYC I regularly left 20%, unless the service really sucked and then I would leave 12%. I arrived in Paris trained by the NYC scene to tip reasonably well... I came to Paris from the states a year and a half ago, and this tipping question continues to plague me. I figured I would run some numbers by those expats lurking about who have been around Paris longer than me. My french parents-in-law typically leave 3-5 euros when we go have a relatively simple dinner - maybe 30-40 euros a head... at a local brasserie including wine. Personally, I fee weird leaving less than 5 for dinner. I regularly leave 1 euro for a 10 euro breakfast or 5 euro cafe creme. DH and I go out on a relatively regular basis to nicer restos where the tab can run from 150-350 for the two of us (depends on the wine) and we typically leave 10 euros - I must point out, however, that we are regulars in a couple restos and we get excellent service. On St. Sylvestre we went to Senderens and left 40 on a 750 euro for two prix fix menu (yes, I know this is the one night in the year when one should stay home since restos charge double, but New Year's is my favorite "just-the-two-of-us" holiday - and we always go on a date, so...) SO here is the question... am I way over tipping? Am I in the ballpark? Am I (cringe) under? Curious minds want to know... ← You are definitely not under tipping and probably tip more than the average person. I think 1-2 € per person for good service or even 5€ is very nice and will be appreciated. I probably wouldn't tip over 5%.
  20. Believe me, I am confident that the state of things is probably far better in France than in the US, as they actually have protections set up like AOC and Label Rouge. I just did a very quick search on Google for 'label rouge' and came across this on the Ashley farms website "The Label Rouge requirements are much more stringent than any program in America, including "All-Natural", "Free Range", "Certified Organic", "Certified Free Farmed" and "Certified Humanely Raised". And from the same site, in English, the requirements for label rouge chickens. http://ashleyfarms.com/label-rouge-requirements.php And you are right, almost every product sold in France lists its origins as far as I have seen, so I know if I am getting apples from Normandy or New Zealand.
  21. Here it is Yellowt http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=83491
  22. Lately, after reading the book « The Omnivore 's Dilema » which is a very in depth look into how food is produced in the US, I have been wondering about how to find similar information in France. How do I know that the produce I buy from the local farmer in my market isn't laced with pesticides? I really prefer buying vegetables from a local producer, but would love to know about the means of production. For beef and chicken, I always buy label Rouge and go to a quality butcher, but is this a guarantee? This week's Fooding (http://lefooding.com/actualite-210.htm asks Après Jonathan Nossiter et le vin, Périco Légasse et le fromage, y a-t-il, un, une, des volontaires pour s'encrotter les bottes et aller jeter un oeil derrière le poulailler ? Régal, Saveurs, Elle à table...pourraient-ils nous expliquer comment être sûrs de ne pas cuisiner un red curry avec du poulet dont le bec aurait été arraché à la machine ? Or "After Jonathan Nossiter and wine, Périco Légasse and cheese, is there someone willing to get their boots dirty and go take an up-close look at a hen house? Régal, Saveurs, Elle à Table... can you tell us how to be sure how not to cook a red curried chicken whose beak was not ripped off by a machine?" I really hope that someone takes them up on this, as I think people need to be more aware of industrial farming and its implications.
  23. How terrible. I have this written in my little black book for a place to try in the 11th
  24. I have written about this elsewhere many times, but since I am an ex waitress, I am probably a bit more passionate about the subject of tips. Waiters in France generally do not get the service charge added to the bill, that is given to the house to pay their staff (kitchen included). They are instead paid a monthly salary. According to the trade journal Hotellerie Restauration the average monthly salary in Paris in 2007€ for front of the house was Barman 1526 Waiter 1564 Maitre d'hotel 1897 Dining room manager 2023 Restaurant manager 3263 And these salaries are before social charges which cost several hundred. So, most waiters don’t make any more than 300€ a week. If you consider that a small one bedroom apartment costs about 750€ in one of the outer neighborhoods, you can see that waiters in Paris are not raking in the bucks. In light of this, I think most waiters very much appreciate tips. I know that I certainly couldn’t have lived in France without them. So, if you like the service, throw in a euro or two per person. As for tips dropping off, I think on the contrary people are tipping more. I do remember one woman who had lunch with us on a daily basis and always left 20 centimes, but this was very rare. It seemed like people either left nothing or a euro or two.
  25. I think really good charcuterie, pâté, rillettes and foie gras (as mentionned) and maybe some lucques olives or another and of course, great bread. Does anyone have ideas for where to get the best charcuterie?
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