Illy Coffee: The Breakfast of Champions.

The day this was written I was sitting back (which is the only position possible in those goofy chairs) digesting my incredibly splendid 45 Euro degustation lunch at Passage 53, when I realized that the coffees we’d ordered were Illy. Since I always have mine serré, aka ristretto, or short as they say in New Zealand, I was swept back to Trieste where my then Italian editor insisted I drink only Illy coffee, best brewed at the source. As I savored it, Colette said: “I wonder if the places we have Illy at in Paris have something in common; are they higher class, more expensive, more “world?” My first thought was, like other drugs, it probably is more dependant on distribution and salesmanship than other factors, but I truly did not know. So I did a little search in the archives. And here are the results. In 2009, places I ate at that served Illy included: Passage 53, Bistro Volnay, Le Petit Ampere, Le Gorge Rouge, Le Clou de Fourchette + La Fidelité. What do they have in common?; not quality – Passage 53 is one of the finest restos to open this year and La Fidelité one of the worst. Type of place? Nah – Passage 53 is haute gamme and Le Gorge Rouge a glorified wine bar. Area of the city? Nope – they are located from the touristy 2nd to the deepest 17th. OK let’s dig deeper in the archeological layers. In 2008, the following new places I visited had Illy: Le Jeu de Quilles, Le Dos de la Baleine, Ober-Salé, Petit Panisse, l’Idee + Le Cercle du 17e. OK. Common factors? Well, except for Le Jeu de Quilles, none are “destination” restaurants, most are locals’ favorites. Otherwise, there’s an imbalance toward the right bank, so maybe distribution and sales efforts are at the root. Final cut: 2007. Places showing the Illy flag included: Le Clocher Pereire, Chez Georges + L’Office. I thought with the first two we had a bingo; the 17th, but l’Office threw it off. But wait, there does seem to be a trend; 6 in 2009, 6 in 2008, but only 3 in 2007 – so let’s look at 2006. 2006 saw me seeing Illy cups at: L’Arôme, Les Fougères, L’Orenoc, l’Accolade, Pramil, Petrus, La Gazzetta, Jarrasse, Mori Venice Bar, Le Bis de Severo, Les Symples de l’Os A Moelle, Ribouldingue, La Fontaine Fiacre, La Table de Claire + Le Chateaubriand. Wow, 15 places, guess that theory is out the window. Anything leap out? Nope. Well having gone this far I might as well do 2005 : where there was La Chopotte, La Boulangerie, Les Don Juan, Le Tяuc, Bistro Cote Mer, Le Cou de la Girafe, Cote 9eme + l’Evasion and 2004: Pinxo + Iode. Nil, nada, nothing. So Colette’s question has no answer from me anyway. On the other hand, at least we know that there are ample places in the city selling the finest there is. In addition, recall that there’s an Illy café/bar at 13 rue Auber right near the Garnier Opera site. These thoughts were triggered at: Passage 53 53 Passage des Panoramas, 2nd (Metro: Grands Boulevards)   T: 01 42 33 04 35  Closed Sundays  A la carte 38-44 €. Blog: John Talbott’s Paris © by John Talbott 2009
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