Lunch Menu

Lunch Menu
Two recent meals at places that will go unnamed, not because I’m bashful but because they merely represent the issues I want to address and shouldn’t be singled out for caution or avoidance, brought to mind two issues that are mis- or under-understood about prices of meals in Paris. The first place, let’s call it Resto R, costs about 40 € at lunch with a glass of wine included, so even with coffee one exits at midday for under my magic price of 50 €. At night, though, it’s a whole different ballgame, running the average citizen 90 € before wine, water and/or coffee. Thus there’s no way to get out for less than 100 €, double the lunch. Now, eating at lunch seems a no-brainer, but try to convince American visitors to eat their major meal at noon—no way. Some of their (your) resistance is logical: “we only have X days here, we want to maximize our time seeing museums, churches and monuments, etc.”; “we don’t want to spend 2-3 hours of precious daylight hours ‘just’ eating”; “we’re not used to eating big meals in the middle of the day.” But some reasons are not so well-reasoned: “we’re just not going to”; “my metabolism doesn’t work that way”; “that’s so typically French.” The second place we ate at I’ll call Bistro B, which has a luncheon “menu,” that is, prix fixe meal for 25 € but when the check arrived one of us was shocked at the total, which turned out to be over double that amount. A quick recall of what we ordered clarified the situation. Yes the “menu” was 25 € and it did have 3 choices for entrees, plats and desserts, and we could certainly have managed and enjoyed them. But we wound up ordering 2/3rds of our dishes off the carte (whose three courses ran one 41 rather than 25 €). Plus we had glasses not bottles of wine – also driving up the charges. Now, the practice of ordering the “menu” also seems to be a no-brainer. But again there are both logical (“nothing on it speaks to me,” “the choices are too few,” and “I don’t like being forced to choose from forced choices”) and not-so-logical (“I’ll order what I damn well please,” “the ‘menu’ has cheap products,” and “oh, this is the stuff they’re unloading.”) reasons. So the moral of the story is clear: if you’re budget-conscious, order the “menu” and do it at lunch.   With their exclusive selection of handmade French chocolates, zChocolat will redefine what you consider to be chocolate. Please post your comments or questions and let them flow. Register HERE to do so if you need a Bonjour Paris user name and password.

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