Chipotle: The Final Analysis

© 2012 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

Thursday, I wrote how ecstatic I was about the opening of a Chipotle Mexican Grill here in Paris because I could finally get my Mexican fast food fix. Obviously, like any great international city, Paris has an array of good Mexican restaurants, but every now and then, you just crave that mass-produced, no-surprise flavor you get from fast food. Before coming to live in Paris, I had become a big fan of Chipotle, so when I first heard that they’d opened a location here, I made plans to go there for the lunch the very next day.

Now, before I get to my review of Chipotle Paris, I should note for those of you who are not aware that American fast food often undergoes a slight transformation when it crosses borders and oceans. It makes sense, I guess, that fast food restaurateurs want to ensure, while staying true to the brand, that what they serve overseas will also appeal to the local palate. I’ll never forget the first time I encountered this as a high school student traveling to London in 1989. After just a few days of subsisting on the rather bland English fare served up at our hotel, a few of us set out on a foraging mission to find something quintessentially American. (After all, you can only eat roast beef and garden peas for so long.) We descended on the first Pizza Hut we could find, already salivating over the Super Supreme pan pizzas we were going to order. We weren’t at all prepared to find on the menu such “foreign” creations as prawn pizza or chicken and sweet corn pizza. The same is true in France, of course, where even KFC and McDonald’s offer several menu items that were clearly dreamed up by a kitchen team with absolutely no American members. Take for instance, the most recent addition to the French “McDo” (pronounced “mac-doe”) menu:

Continue reading Chipotle: The Final Analysis

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Oh Happy Day … Guacamole in Paris!

As an American living in France, I’ve come to appreciate the culinary delights of this culture (the vegetarian-friendly ones, at least):

Even so, my expatriate palate still longs for the familiar, even mundane flavors of home:

  • cheap and readily accessible peanut butter
  • Krispy Kreme donuts (because, I’m sorry y’all, but a French beignet can’t even touch a Krispy Kreme donut)
  • pimento cheese on white bread (because I’m from the South, if you didn’t pick up on that from the “y’all” I just dropped)
  • a veggie “burger” that doesn’t consist of a potato pancake stuffed with peas and carrots, and—of course—
  • Mexican fast food.

Well, I am pleased to report that I can now cross Mexican fast food off the list! Today, thanks to a fellow blogger’s post in the Americans in Paris Facebook group, I made the joyous discovery that Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened a location right here in Paris! (Click here to read her review and see pictures from Chipotle Paris.) I may not be able to find pimento cheese or good donuts here, but I can now gorge on quality, mass-produced guacamole to my heart’s content!

Vive la Révolution, indeed!

Continue reading Oh Happy Day … Guacamole in Paris!