Ten Lessons American Restaurants Can Learn From European Restaurants (And Vice-Versa)

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Now that I’m back from my Europe trip, I’ve had some time to synthesize my experiences eating at nice restaurants in four different countries (Scotland, England, France, and Germany). Coming from Los Angeles, where the restaurant scene is as vital as anywhere else in the U.S. right now (possibly the world), it felt a bit like stepping into a history book; or, to put it another way, like watching a bunch of classic movies after a Quentin Tarantino marathon. There’s no question that America is setting the trends these days; the hottest restaurants in Paris are all popular because they’re considered “Très Brooklyn.” What, then, might a modern American restaurant have to learn from a modern European restaurant? Here’s my attempt to answer that question with a list.

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We’ll Always Have Paris: With Meals at Restaurant Miroir, Jacques Genin, Le 6 Paul Bert, Little Breizh, and Chez L’Ami Jean

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I had a reason for not wanting to go to Paris, this trip, and it was both very stupid and very sweet. Namely, I love Paris so much, I didn’t want to go there again without Craig. Lest you forget, we’d gone together to the Edinburgh Film Festival, he left that Sunday for the Nantucket Film Festival, and I ducked down to London where I ate myself silly and saw lots of theater. I could’ve stayed there for the rest of the week, reconnecting with him in Munich (where I am now) for the Munich Film Festival, only our friends Mark and Diana were in Paris that same week and kept imploring me to come join them. “You’ve already been to Paris without Craig,” said Mark. “What’s the difference?” It was a powerful point. And so, before I knew it, I’d bought a one-way ticket for the Chunnel and figured I’d continue my way from Paris to Germany with a stop in Strasbourg, right on the border of France. When you see what I ate along the way, you’ll agree that this decision should’ve been a no-brainer right from the start.

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How Would You Spend 24 Hours in Paris?

You all have been so helpful so far planning my European trip (I can’t believe we leave in two weeks!) and now I have a new challenge for you. My good friends Mark and Diana will be in Paris while I’m in London and I’ve decided to take that chummy old Chunnel to visit them for 24 hours before continuing on to meet Craig in Munich. This begs the question: WHAT TO DO IN PARIS FOR 24 HOURS? Or, more importantly, WHAT TO EAT IN PARIS FOR 24 HOURS? Don’t forget, I’ve been there once before, so this trip it would be nice to try some new things (though returning to Pierre Herme is definitely on my agenda). Also, looking for a dinner spot that’s super special but not insanely pricey (current thoughts: Restaurant Le Chateaubriand or Frenchie). Have at it, smart people! Merci beaucoup.

David’s Sweet Life

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Several years ago, when I went to Paris, I rode the Metro from my teensy hotel in the 80th arrondissement, to meet a food blogger I admired but had never met, Mr. David Lebovitz. As I came up the stairs (or was it an escalator?) I beheld a vision: there, standing before me, was a smiley man holding what looked to be the world’s largest picnic basket. David toured me around and I made a video, which you can watch here (sorry for the song choice! (what was I thinking??)):

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April in Paris

Clear your cache and behold this month’s beautiful Parisian banner. Thanks, once again, to Illustrator Erin, Designer Leah and Web Guy Justin for all your work. Fun Fact: I once had a babysitter named April Lynn Paris!