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Tourists make restos touristy?


phrederic
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Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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check this: i was in wepler's 2 years ago with a couple of ladies from my home town who had asked me to show them around (at that point i had lived in paris for upward of 20 years). one lady sent back the salmon to have it re-cooked. no problem, de gustibus and all. the other lady, in her mid-seventies, pulls out her makeup bag between le plat et le dessert and starts applying mascara, lipliner, blush... j'en passe. the young waiter expressed disgust to me (in french). i told him nicely and in french to pipe down. but jeez... i don't have a problem with people speaking english next to me. but -- behave!

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i told him nicely and in french to pipe down.

Why?

but jeez... i don't have a problem with people speaking english next to me. but -- behave!

Did you tell the lady anything?

no. i believe it would have been disrespectful (she is the friend of a friend's mother). and useless: her behavior was gauche but harmless en somme. and i would never see her again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I agree with wyf4lyf, As someone currently in Paris, my big problem is making sure the menu is not designed for tourists.. I dont want to be in a place that has things dumbed down or changed to match someone's idea of what Americans like.. When I see a few Americans scattered in a restaurant, I have to attribute it to a knowledgeable concierge or well informed fellow traveler.. Too many, I get scared

But as for who is sitting next to me or not, I could care less.. The bottom line is, if you are so engrossed with who is sitting next to you, its something you need to work on..

Bistro Allard has a back room where they put tourists.. The night we went, sitting next to us was a group of Danish people on our left and some people from Nicaragua to our right.. Now is it just American tourists other American's are offended by, or is it all tourists?

I also went to L'Epi Dupin yesterday.. There were a few Japanese in there.. Should I have been upset that they were there despite the place being amazing?

Edited by Daniel (log)
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I believe it was someone slightly bleu who brought this out of me.

"But I suppose the best answer I could give is . . . that my old Dad likes to drive into the countryside and, quite purposefully, get lost. He might knock on a strange door or look in on an restaurant or inn that looks promising. As a passenger on these expeditions, I think they offer exciting possibilities. He maintains it's the tourist who looks without seeing, but the traveller who must become lost in order to become found. I can buy into that if the bed is soft.

It reminds of something else I'm rather fond of: Doing absolutely nothing at all, but doing it exquisitely well. Properly executed, there's absolutely nothing at all you can do about it."

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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my big problem is making sure the menu is not designed for tourists.. I dont want to be in a place that has things dumbed down or changed to match someone's idea of what Americans like..

People have mentioned this concern before, but at the better restaurants, I’m not so sure that you have to worry about this.

In France, the customer isn’t always king as they are in the US, so I think a good restaurant would be much less inclined to alter their menu to suit American or any other nationalities’ tastes. It is not uncommon for a waiter to tell you that you can’t have something a particular way, if it’s not what the chef intended. If you don’t like the sauce on the salmon, you very well might be told to order something else.

I remember when I first arrived I was looking for a certain herb and couldn’t remember the name in French, I told the man in the market that it was to be used in a lentil dish and then remembered suddenly that it was tarragon. “Impossible” he chided me, “you can not put tarragon in lentils”. He truly seemed outraged at the very idea. Needless to say, I left with the “appropriate” herbs for lentils—not tarragon--and never mind what my American recipe said, I wasn’t going to argue with a Frenchmen about how to cook lentils. :rolleyes:

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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Sadie-

I expect there are few Paris restaurant owners here. I have quite a few friends in the restaurant business here and most are either non-anglophone or so overwhelmed with the Rungis-Lunch-Dinner-repeat routine that they tend to say, "email, I've heard of that. Mais oui, I checked it last month".

But it might be a fun egullet investigatory project. If someone posts a thread and we get a list of good questions for Paris restaurant owners? Then we take it to 'em and collect their replies. I'm sure Dr. Talbott knows people who would respond. I'd help out if needed.

Do you like the idea? Anybody else?

Phrederic -

First off and very tardily, let me express my gratitude to you for joining the France Forum with such verve, informed opinions and intelligence.

Second, let me apologize for dropping the ball on your query which I think is a great idea - to come up with questions for some "Paris restaurant owners." From personal experience, before I blurred my photo for reasons that some have figured out, I was approached by at least three owner-chefs commenting on something I'd said on eGullet - so yes, while seeming not to be fluent in English, they are paying attention to what's going on here.

Finally, why don't you start a thread and "get a list of good questions for Paris restaurant owners" and the good Dr. Talbott, aka John, will be glad to try and get some answers.

Next, Daniel -

my big problem is making sure the menu is not designed for tourists.. I dont want to be in a place that has things dumbed down or changed to match someone's idea of what Americans like..
I agree with Felice/Phyllis. I'm not sure I've ever encountered this in a respectable place save for brunch or at three-stars where rich Yankies doing the "ten three-stars in five day" tours cluster. I recall seeing the menu in the window at Le Reminet shortly after they opened and shuddered to see that each dish was translated into English - but I've been happily eating there ever since (it's a rare non-brasserie Sunday lunch place) and am not overly impressed that it's touristy, it is opposite Notre Dame in the 5th by the Seine after all, which is almost Tourist Central - but as someone said upthread - "So what?"

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Sadie-

I expect there are few Paris restaurant owners here. I have quite a few friends in the restaurant business here and most are either non-anglophone or so overwhelmed with the Rungis-Lunch-Dinner-repeat routine that they tend to say, "email, I've heard of that. Mais oui, I checked it last month".

But it might be a fun egullet investigatory project. If someone posts a thread and we get a list of good questions for Paris restaurant owners? Then we take it to 'em and collect their replies. I'm sure Dr. Talbott knows people who would respond. I'd help out if needed.

Do you like the idea? Anybody else?

Phrederic -

First off and very tardily, let me express my gratitude to you for joining the France Forum with such verve, informed opinions and intelligence.

Second, let me apologize for dropping the ball on your query which I think is a great idea - to come up with questions for some "Paris restaurant owners." From personal experience, before I blurred my photo for reasons that some have figured out, I was approached by at least three owner-chefs commenting on something I'd said on eGullet - so yes, while seeming not to be fluent in English, they are paying attention to what's going on here.

Finally, why don't you start a thread and "get a list of good questions for Paris restaurant owners" and the good Dr. Talbott, aka John, will be glad to try and get some answers.

Next, Daniel -

my big problem is making sure the menu is not designed for tourists.. I dont want to be in a place that has things dumbed down or changed to match someone's idea of what Americans like..
I agree with Felice/Phyllis. I'm not sure I've ever encountered this in a respectable place save for brunch or at three-stars where rich Yankies doing the "ten three-stars in five day" tours cluster. I recall seeing the menu in the window at Le Reminet shortly after they opened and shuddered to see that each dish was translated into English - but I've been happily eating there ever since (it's a rare non-brasserie Sunday lunch place) and am not overly impressed that it's touristy, it is opposite Notre Dame in the 5th by the Seine after all, which is almost Tourist Central - but as someone said upthread - "So what?"

I agree with them too.. It wouldnt happen in a respectable place.. By the very definition, it wouldnt be respectable if they changed their ideals... I wasnt talking about three stars pr even a star or an honorable restaurant, because what place would recieve any praise for doiing this.. I was talking more about the no-name bistros..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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OK, Daniel et al, here’s a place where you won’t hear either English or Parisian French spoken – no tourists here, despite the rave reviews for the last month. Why? Gosh, it’s 12 minutes from Montparnasse, on that nasty 50 year-old aluminum train (yes, the same one folks go on, all the time to Versailles; go figure!) So Yanks and Brits won’t go. And as we know, the French go where they ate at University or around the corner from where they live and certainly don’t follow Simon, Demorand, Rubin, Pudlowski, Ribaut, Petitrenaud, etc. Anyway it’s l’Escarbille, 8, rue de Velizy in Dept. 92 (Meudon), 01.45.34.12.03, closed Saturday lunch and Sunday night and Mondays (perfect for a lunch on Sunday before your trip to Rambouillet a few stops farther along), at lunch 1sts are 21 €, mains 22 and desserts 8 but the menu = just 36; it’s just up the quai from the Bellevue station, a hundred feet on the north side. I will be writing it up in my traditional monthly summary at the end of April, but I wanted to alert our loyal readers/members coming to Paris from now on, that this is the Magnolias of 2006; the place everybody talks about but nobody goes to because it’s where? ……. Meudon….. A shame.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I wanted to alert our loyal readers/members coming to Paris from now on, that this is the Magnolias of 2006; the place everybody talks about but nobody goes to because it’s where? ……. Meudon….. A shame.

Wow, that sounds great. I'm going! :smile:

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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Isn't that the one taken over by the ex-Grande Cascade chef? And isn't it actually in the train station?

Edited by fresh_a (log)

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Isn't that the one taken over by the ex-Grande Cascade chef? And isn't it actually in the train station?

Yes, Regis Douysset is ex of Grande Cascade but no it's not in the current station although its name derives from the partially carbonized coal bits that escape the locomotive. It's out the North exit and oh 100 feet west just past the car parking area. Very, very close. Might have been the station once upon a time but looks more like an old Auberge that was by the station. I didn't ask, I was too charmed.

John Talbott

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Can't wait to read the review then!

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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