I feel very strongly about breakfast. So much so, in fact, it pains me that the French, despite their many culinary talents, are such poor stewards of the morning meal.
Before you cry out in support of France's many morning gifts - pastries and bread especially - let me elaborate. I enjoy a flaky buttery croissant like the rest of you but it will never constitute a complete meal. They retain their joy-inducing properties when consumed infrequently (I reserve them for moments when we have guests in town) and are even better when accompanied by something savory and rich in protein. Omelets, my favorite, are inherently versatile but hardly merit an early wake up call when they're prepared from powdered eggs - what most local brasseries use to make them (and that's saying nothing of the ingredients inside the omelet...). And while I've spoken at length about how quality coffee is proliferating, you'll need to be in proximity or willing to travel to one of the specialty shops offering it - take your espresso at an identity-free corner joint at your own risk.
But a few individuals - namely a German, an Australian, an American and three French food entrepreneurs - deeply understand the merits of a robust, early morning meal of indisputable quality and are doing their part to turn the tide. And as fast food and on-the-go dining continues to outstrip the protracted sit-down meal in Paris, Claus, HolyBelly, Frenchie-to-Go, Fondation Café and Bob's Juice Bar are needed more than ever.
Read about these fantastic breakfast spots in my story for Bon Appétit and be sure to visit them on your next visit. Hopefully this is the start of a new movement in convenience (without sacrificing quality), geared toward early risers like me!
(Photo 2: Virginie Garnier)