Eating with a Strong Dollar

Eating with a Strong Dollar
Recall not so long ago, in those “thrilling days of yesteryear” as the Lone Ranger show used to say, when the dollar was at par with the pound and could buy 10 French Francs or 2,000 Italian lira.  Since then, things have gone downhill.  But I don’t intend to get into political/financial issues here, but give the visitor/eater in France some solace when the dollar stands at about 1.40 €, a 26 year low.  As you’ll recall, the Franc was pegged at 6.56 to the Euro, when it was established and soon after a brief flirtation with high rates, one was able to eat easily for under 100 € a couple, which was less that $90 US at the time.  Ah, yes.  As the rate slipped and the US economy headed for the toilet, though, it became harder to rationalize eating out versus raiding the Poncelet market or Monoprix.  If you get your salary or pension or even your SMIC in Euros, as the dollar falls, you’re in great shape.  But if your income comes from American sources, you’re in trouble – unless you utilize my failsafe trucs.  The first is that a few years ago I made a “command mental decision,” that 1 Euro would always be $1.00.  After all, we had all those great years, and now we had hit a spot of trouble – it all had to even out, non?  Today, for instance, my pal and I were eating at l’Opportun, a self-advertised Lyonnais bouchon in the 14th, that’s been around forever, where the bill for the two of us was a mere 117.80 €.  In 2000, that would have been 99 bucks and change and even at par is only $117.80.  Now, isn’t that easier on the pocket than calculating it at $160.00?  Ouch!  But the second trick is to utilize a book such as “Les Meilleurs restos a petits prix,” Catherine Jarrige, Parigramme, 6 €, that covers everything from unknown places (for instance, Le Bar des Amis) serving dirt-cheap full meals (10 € for example) to well-known places featuring reasonably priced specials or mains (just picking a few, one finds Chartier, Pre Verre, Comptoir, Café Constant, Temps au Temps, and Beurre Noisette for 12-15 €) as well as tea salons, wine bars and foreign food places.   The final trick is to invest in European/Euro valued instruments or morph into George Soros, which, in either case, it truly will even out.  But the goal is never to stop eating.  My recommendation this week is:  L’Opportun 33 rue Pascal, 13th (Metro: Montparnasse) T: Closed weekends A la carte 30 €.      ©2007 John A. Talbott  
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