Sunday, April 18, 2010

All Wrapped Up

Some of the best things come wrapped. Like food. Not wrapped-hidden, more like wrapped-swaddled. Packaged (sometimes precariously) to prevent the un-preventable: drips, oozes, and messes that afflict anyone who is truly enjoying their food (you could even say that deliciousness is directly proportional to how much of a mess you make eating, despite frantic efforts to keep clean.) So I guess it's fitting that the best food I've had in Paris has been precisely this sort of wrapped-up sloppy goodness: caramel-melting ice cream cones, tahini-dripping falafel wraps, and chocolate-oozing crêpes. 

The scoops of salted-butter caramel ice cream came from Berthillon, a Paris landmark that has almost 70 different flavors of ice cream and sorbet. From a tiny little window on Rue Saint-Louis en l'Ile you get handed a perfect scoop in a sugary cone, along with a frilly white napkin and a "merci beaucoup!" 

The stuffed-to-the brim pita bread came from L'As du Falafel, apparently the best of all the falafel places in the old Jewish district of Le Marais. It didn't disappoint – and was probably made even better after the the 5 mile adventure walk we took looking for the place.

And then there were the crêpes. The street vendor crêpes are like mini challenges against the clock – you need to be finished eating before the flimsy wrapper is soaked with butter and too hot to hold (this can be managed with high heat tolerance or a hungry friend). Then there are the sit-down deluxe crepes that come filled with anything from roquefort cheese and spinach to stewed apples and whipped cream, making you wonder why every meal doesn't come in a pancake. These kinds of crepes we got at Josselin's, one of literally dozens of crêperies on Rue du Montparnasse in the 14th arrondissement. 

So here's to wraps... and eating!


  1. Hand foods are the best! they fit into that interesting crossroads of 'staple' and 'convenience' foods. whereas most staples are made at home, a culture's hand foods are the only thing that I think are as often eaten from other places as much as from home.

    In Kolkata we found amazing wraps which took a almost crepe like bread, fried it in an egg, and wrapped it around chicken or mutton. it was INCREADIBLE!

  2. you forgot to mention hot dogs wrapped in baguette and cheese!