Friday, 12 October 2012

Eating hamburgers in Lille à l'américaine

I ate a hamburger with a fork and knife. I feel so dirty, so unAmerican, so French. Now don't go saying Reb said the French are dirty because I didn't...

There are a plethora of hamburger joints popping up all over Lille. From the American diner which opened at the swanky shopping center to Bun's Bazaar in the Vieux Lille to Speed Burger - the home delivery burger...the place my husband and I went is a brasserie called chez Max. And to their credit, it wasn't called a hamburger. It was called a "Max et toast" so it wasn't as wrong as it sounds. It's not like I went to McDonald's and brought my own silverware or anything. It was good, but it wasn't a burger.

Call me a burger snob, but there's always something wrong with the ones I eat in France. I was so happy when real burgers (compared to fake McDo burgers) starting popping up. When I first went to Bun's Bazaar in Vieux Lille, I thought, "ok not bad". But when I went back a second time and asked for my burger without sauce, they told me it wasn't possible. I was with my co-workers and thought, "well maybe the waiter didn't understand me". So I tried to explain that I wanted plain bread so I could add my own ketchup. So I asked again. And one of my coworkers had to tell me to chill out and just accept that this place toasts the buns WITH THE KETCHUP ON!!!??? So I haven't gone back there.

So when my co-workers started talking about Le Cut in the center of Lille I thought, "yeah yeah another French burger joint". But you know, it was good! The bread was nice, the meat was nice, the cheddar was nice and they could hold the sauce! My only criticism is that there are no pickles AND the burger is slightly too small for the bun. But it filled the void. I almost felt American as I held my dripping burger to my mouth. And as I did so, I looked around me and saw that everyone was eating with a fork and knife. I looked across the table at my husband who was thankfully eating with his hands, after cutting the burger in half with a knife, just a small concension to his Frenchness.

I asked him if I was being gauche by eating with my hands. He said probably yes because burgers are sort of considered fancy food these days to which I responded "McDonald's". He told me that doesn't count.

As I sat there with my husband,  I felt good like I have made the world a little better by making one more French person eat with their hands. And I was also happy to finally have a satisfying (albeit expensive) hamburger in Lille.

So I'll have to go back to Le Cut again very soon to cleanse myself of the fork-and-knife hamburger experience...because it was just a little too French for my taste.


Rachel said...

If you happen to be in Paris, check out Breakfast in America, two locations..I just might happen to work there!

Reb said...

Thanks Rachel, I was there years ago before any burger joints existed here in the "nord". I don't get to Paris much these days but will definitely go there again when I'm feeling nostalgic for a good burger

Mahesh said...

Just for your info, I went to a place called the Boucherie on Friday (near le Cut) it was effing awful. One of the worst burgers I have ever eaten. The icing on this very bad cake was the runny, liquefied cheddar on the burger (clearly our of a tube). Awful!


TN said...

I will check it out Rachel thanks!

What Burgers Fancy...ummmmm they have never been stateside non?

Eat them with your hands and be a proud American!! My frenchie husband does it all the's the only real way to do it ;-)

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