Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Burger With a Side of Nostalgia.

Everytime I have a friend or family member that’s coming to France for a visit, the first thing they ask is “Do you want me to bring you anything?” And it’s a fair question. Any expat can tell you that one of the hardest things about moving to a new country is all the food items that just aren’t available at your local grocery store—or any grocery store for that matter. But as the years pass, the list of food items that I miss gets shorter and shorter. First I started hating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Then,about 2 years ago, stores started stocking taco shells. If the local supermarket starts carrying strawberry Twizzlers, I can officially stop asking people to smuggle candy into the country for me.

That said, the one thing that The French just cannot seem to get right is a freakin’ cheeseburger. When you order a cheeseburger in France it is always a surprise: Will it arrive with 1 or 2 slices of bread, or maybe no bread at all? What the hell kind of cheese will they put on it? And most importantly--Will there be a half cooked egg on top of it?

Paris Sorbonne 046

So my friends, each and every time I am in Paris I make a quick stop at the Hard Rock Café. Yeah yeah, the first time I went I thought that too. It’s just too corny. But then I learned something about myself: when push comes to shove, I am likely to put up with all sorts of humiliation in order to get my hands on a really good Cheeseburger.

Paris Sorbonne 047

After I got over my initial embarrassment of being an American in Paris going to the Hard Rock Café, I really started enjoying eating there. I would look forward to it for a week in advance and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why. And then, halfway through my HRC Cheesburger I realized why:


I love the Hard Rock Café because it reminds me of the golden years of MTV with Mark Goodman and Martha Quinn, when it was all music all the time. I mean where else on earth can you go grub on a cheeseburger while watching non-stop videos of Billy Joel, Depeche-Mode, and then U2 (circa the era where Bono had that crazy mullet) while a smashed up guitar once played by Eddie Veddar (circa ‘10’ before he started looking like a drunk sailor) hangs on the wall above your head?

Paris Sorbonne 049

Also the Purple Haze cocktail will get ya super drunk. Seriously what’s not to love about the Hard Rock café?

So here’s to nostalgia…and American cheeseburgers. Savor it, cuz this is about as patriotic as I get.


Shanster said...

Well now I just feel OLD. I'm having MTV flashbacks and drooling all over my keyboard for a cheeseburger.

dramaqueen said...

Hi, I am new to your blog -- I am an expat based in Brussels and I wholeheartedly agree with the urge to go to Hard Rock. There isn't one in Brussels and even the Irish pubs don't cut when I travel to Amsterdam, that is the first place that I head. Girl, it's so wrong, yet so right.

Camille Acey said...

I am so right there with ya. At least you have a local source. When I was Berlin, I ate burgers like crazy , even when I wasn't hungry, because you can not get decent beef in Slovenia for love nor money. It is a crying shame.
Hey isn't there an American diner place in Paris? I remember reading their menu...

Damani said...

Looking at the MTV clip makes me think about when television was actually good. What's really bad, I use to work for Hard Rock in college and never went back to eat again. I did travel to Hong Kong for work and in order to get a cheeseburger we would go to a place called Dan Ryan's. The burger was big and juicy when it came to the table, but after taking a bite I realized they had no concept of ground beef because it was a shredded beef patty. Yeah! go figure.

'Drea said...

A cheeseburger with an egg on top?

What is that? A breakfast burger?

Rachael said...

Breakfast in America

I'm not a meateater but I do go for their breakfasts once a year or so. Yum.

Mme K, they have burgers there too! And not so far from your 1er address, if you're still in Paris. Line 1 to St Paul and walk up a bit. old 'hood...

Anonymous said...

When my husband and I lived in the US (he's a Brit, I'm an American) I taught him everything there is to know about real burgers. Now that we're back in the UK we find it hit or miss when ordering burgers....Hard Rock is simply the best place to get burgers in much so that sometimes we crave it and end up taking a 30 minuted tube ride just to get a good burger!

Travel said...

I can see myself doing that. Have you tried making a good cheeseburger?


Aaron Grunwald said...

Despite (or perhaps it's in spite of) the stale El Paso taco shells being available, I miss Mexican food. There's a half decent Tex-Mex place in Place Republique in Paris that I've been a couple times. Close, close, but, sigh... I do miss Mexican.

BebeJardin said...

Le Pure Cafe does a great cheeseburger AND its one of my favorite places in Paris: