Thursday, November 19, 2009

"If you are what you eat...

...then I only want to eat the good stuff," proclaimed Remy, the food-obsessed rat (and aspiring chef) in Ratatouille. I couldn't agree more.

Here's food for thought: Do you know where the second most profitable McDonald's after the one in the United States is? Any guesses? Would have guessed France? C'est vrai, according to The New York Times. Someone call José Bové. Vite!

McDonald's France plans to open a restaurant in the commercial mall under the Louvre, adding to the 1,140 restaurants across the country. Mon Dieu, so many in Julia Child's "La Belle France"? What's next, Dunkin' Donuts?

As for me, I'm always trying to infuse the French art of dining here. Luxuriating over a delicious meal in a cozy, candle-lit bistro with great conversation. I found that at Champignon, right next to my Mexican haunt Salsa y Salsa. There's a more casual sister café next door selling coffee, sandwiches, and such, but mostly served in disposables (negative).

They have a $20 prix-fix menu: a glass of wine, soup or salad, and entrée (chicken or salmon). When I asked if they could veganize, they said yes.

Even in New York City, which is often touted as the most Veg-Friendly City in the U.S., you rarely see "vegan" on a mainstream menu. But you simply need to ask.

My wine: a glass of French rosé.

The daily soup was chicken noodle, so I opted for the salad. Loved the spicy and nutritious arugala.

Vegetables and linguini sauteed in garlic and oil. So simple, and so comforting. The waiter was very accomodating, and assured me there was no chicken stock, butter or other animal by-products.

Visit Champignon, 7th Ave. (btwn 21st & 22nd St.), New York City.

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