cheeseburger in paradise
In the twenty plus years I have come and gone to France, I have never eaten a hamburger in France. Until now. I heard about Le Camion qui Fume (the truck who smokes) several times and for several reasons. Le Camion qui Fume made history because it was the first “food truck” in Paris. This adventure was pioneered by Kristin Frederick, a fellow American who coincidentally is also from California. Based upon my experiences in France, let’s just say that I cannot even imagine the French paperwork (nor the taxes….sigh) involved in the undertaking; however, it did not deter Frederick who brought her concept of “French-i-fied” American food — burgers and fries on the go — to the City of Light. And, of course, this Californian included a “double-double” (double boeuf, double fromage) on the menu.
Why do I call it “French-i-fied?” Well, le Camion qui Fume uses amazing French cheese (sorry for the redundancy). Second, these are not flat patties garnished with pickles and ketchup but substantial meat burgers with caramelized things and quality ingredients you would find in a sit down restaurant, not a drive-thru (or walk up). Third, the burgers are made to order so you have to wait (yes, you have to wait for each burger to be cooked). Lastly, the food truck is named “the truck who smokes” and where else would you find a food truck who smokes EXCEPT in France.
Le Camion is open for lunch and dinner. The locations change daily and advertising is done via social media. Truck locations and menus can be found on their website http://www.lecamionquifume.com The burger of the day is announced on twitter. The wait is reported to be Disneyland times without the fast-pass (I heard 1-2 hours but my wait was about 30 minutes). They have a communal table for sitting done but the spots are hard to get.
I happened to be in Paris when my friend Linda emailed me the schedule for Le Camion and suggested I research it. I was apprehensive. I could eat a great burger in Los Angeles, why get one in Paris when there is legal foie gras? However, I am always interested to see what other ex-pats are doing in Paris and as luck would have it, le camion was going to be at the Place de la Madeleine the next day, close to where I was headed for a little early Christmas shopping.
So the next day I stood in the rain waiting for an aged Gruyère and caramelized onion hamburger with wild mushrooms. I peered up from underneath my umbrella and thought how funny it was to see this California-conceived idea, a food truck selling burgers and fries, juxtaposed against the famous Madeleine church in the background with fresh fish and vegetables displayed immediately to the left in the open marché.
Despite the 30 minute wait and the price for stand-up/to-go food (10 euros for a burger and fries alone) I have to admit, it was tasty and particularly so on a rainy, dreary Paris day. A cheeseburger in Paradise. Some things are so good, they should have songs written about them….
bon appétit !