A taste of America: Bud, burgers and brownies

Ask any Parisian what he thinks of New York, and you will be met, almost invariably, with an unadulterated rave: “J’adooooore New York!” Cue wild love-induced eyeroll and an instant list of said Parisian’s favorite NYC hangouts (they’re all in SoHo). In fact, loving New York is a full-fledged Parisian snobisme. Nobody said it better that Olivier in his hilarious blog.

I’m guilty: New York is my mistress, too. I jet there anytime I can, because I need my fix. My friends think I’m a little stupid (“Go somewhere new!”), or worse, boring. But j’adore New York. I drop off my suitcase, grab a Metrocard and a cup of caw-fee, and I’m home. There are friends, memories, hangouts, apartment buildings I’ve lived in, favorite restaurants that have long since closed and new ones to discover every time. And of course, I hate it when other Parisians say they love New York. Because I get protective (and I, too, think I’m unique)!

This brings us to today’s topic: where to eat if you’re wandering about Paris with a bit of US nostalgia. I didn’t say New York nostalgia, because that would send you looking for a Cuban café or some Ethiopian food, or that buttery slice of otoro, and that’s another story. No, I’m talking US nostalgia – for simple all-American foods that hit the right spot. Here are a few addresses where you can scratch that itch.

Le Coffee Parisien

Simply for their burgers – excellent meat, lots of real cheddar, and those thick potato wedges.

US Food Paris

Their popularity has stood the test of time, with both locations busy every day of the week and packed on weekends. My friend had an Americana moment the other day and ordered a Bud to go with his burger; I stuck to a Corona. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, their eggs Benedict are nice. And if you go for brunch, the pancakes are as close to the real diner deal as anything I’ve tasted in Paris. The desserts are not great, but you can always have a milkshake or a scoop of Ben&Jerry’s… And the drinks list boasts a few Californian wines.

I also like that I can brush up on my US history when I’m there – the place settings have a list of all US presidents. And the Coffee’s latest innovation is a tribute to 44: the Obamac Burger. Two hefty patties, for the brave of heart.

Footnotes – 4 rue Princesse in the 6th, or 7 rue Gustave Courbet in the 16th. The crowd is either very Left Bank or very Right Bank depending on which location you choose. Open everyday 11am-midnight. A burger will set you back 12.50 to 14.50 euros – and a dent in that diet.

Breakfast in America

US Food Paris

Credit: www.breakfast-in-america.com for this awesome banner

Another burger joint, with a classic 50s diner décor and a fun, relaxed atmosphere. Their burgers and fries aren’t quite as thick and rich as Coffee Parisien’s, but they’re still mighty good. So is the pecan pie. And on Sundays there’s a special brunch menu. More American goodness: breakfast is served all day (blueberry pancakes at 10pm!), and it’s one of the only places in Paris that offers free refills for coffee (their “bottomless mug o’ joe”). Great news if you agree espresso makes no sense at brunch. It’s all true to form and very entertaining.

Footnotes – 17 rue des Ecoles in the 5th, or 4 rue Mahler in the 4th. Open everyday 8.30am-11pm. A burger will set you back 8.50-11.50 euros. The brunch menu, at 15.95 euros for eggs, fries, pancakes, coffee and OJ, is a nice and greasy deal (but beware the long queues at brunch time)!

Lili’s Brownies

It’s a tiny little thing, this place; with just enough room for eight people to sit, it’s mostly for take-away. The owner has a no-picture policy, so I couldn’t snap one for your benefit, and you’ll have to trust me on this one. Go for the homemade loaves and take my advice, try the carrot cake with cream cheese icing, or the banana nut loaf (also with the icing. Always opt for the icing): perfection. Thick, moist slices of deliciousness. I have nothing else to add. Wait, yes I do: one, you can ask them to bake you an entire loaf if you’re hosting a party, which is good to know. Two, they make a mean hot chocolate and a great cup of coffee. I ask for it allongé (espresso cut with water), and it’s nice and soft, without any tartness or acidity. Three, it’s located in Saint Germain near the rue de Rennes, making it the perfect spot for a shopping break (if you can grab a seat) and for watching the city’s most fashionable young ladies walk by.

Footnotes – 35 rue du Dragon in the 6th. Prices are super soft – at 1.40 euros for coffee and around 3 euros for a slice of cake.

Tidbits –

You can now get Oreos at every supermarket, but what about Reese’s pieces? We spy some at Bert’s (4 avenue du President Wilson in the 8th and at several other locations across the city. Check www.berts.com).

And we found rows and rows of Jelly Belly jelly beans at the Publicis Drugstore (133 avenue des Champs Elysees in the 8th)…

Also on our radar –

Cupcakes & Co – Paris’ cupcake pioneer. 25 rue de la Forge Royale in the 11th.

Have A Nice Day (H.A.N.D.) – a hip new place with carefully designed décor, catering to a fashion-conscious crowd. Serving burgers, cheesecakes, cupcakes… 39 rue de Richelieu in the 1st.

Bob’s Kitchen – serves salads, wraps and smoothies, and we hear great things about his healthful desserts. 74 rue des Gravilliers in the 3rd. Bob also has a Juice Bar at 15 rue Lucien Sampaix in the 10th.

2 Responses to “A taste of America: Bud, burgers and brownies”
  1. Loved this post! While I can’t imagine visiting Paris and having a hamburger, I can completely understand if you live there and want a little bit of home. A very comfy post to read. Your description of why you go back to NYC repeatedly – regular haunts, etc. reminds me of why I go back to Portland frequently – it was my home for quite awhile and will always be my home away from home. Have a great week!

    • Loulou says:

      Simply Luxurious: thanks a lot! Sometimes comfort food is a must. And a home away from home – that’s exactly right 🙂 Have a great week too!

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