Filipino Influence:

Filipino Suka Pinakurat spiced vinegar in Los Angeles

I can’t really tell you the first time I ever tasted Filipino Cuisine. Thinking back, it seems like I sampled adobo maybe 20 years ago… but was I really paying attention every time I ate an empanada? It could be I had consumed Filipino dishes for years without even realizing it. Then I started paying attention.

I can tell you, however, the first time I ever went to a Filipino restaurant. It was back in 2008, shortly after moving to Los Angeles. In and around the intersection of Vermont Ave and Santa Monica Blvd I noticed more than a few Filipino restaurants and markets. What I didn’t know at the time was that the border of the area officially known as Historic Filipinotown was close by.

A little turo turo (point point) steam table joint called Kainan Nino caught my eye and is pretty much where my true education on Filipino Cuisine really began.

Filipino longanisa, chicken pastel, pochero & pinakbet in Los Angeles

 Filipino longganisa sausage, chicken pastel (casserole), pochero (pork stew) and pinakbet (mixed vegetables) from the steam table at Kainan Nino in LA.

Filipino Sisilog Breakfast at LA Rose Cafe on Fountain in Los Angeles

A classic Filipino breakfast plate known as sisilog consisting of pork belly sisig with garlic rice and sunny side up eggs at LA Rose, a Filipino cafe on Fountain Ave in LA.

A couple of sweet older Filipino ladies ran Kainan Nino, probably some of the nicest people I’ve ever known and certainly knowledgeable cooks. I had a-lot of questions and they were more than happy to answer all of them, even going so far as showing me how to cook a few dishes back in the kitchen.

This is the first place I ever had dishes like pinakbet, pochero and pastel; the first place I ever had sinigang, the sour soup that gets its flavor from tamarind and the first place I ever tasted longganisa, the Spanish influenced sausage that could be sweet or spicy, depending on where in the Philippines it’s from.

That’s where things get interesting. Part of the reason Filipino food had been such a mystery to me is that I couldn’t see the influences. The Spanish-derived names of foods like longganisa (or longaniza), empanadas, tocino, ensaymadas (or ensaïmadas) and even adobo lent to Philippine languages like Tagalog and Ilocano should have made the Spain connection obvious, but I missed it.

Filipino-Chinese Siopao Steam Buns at Goldilocks in Eagle Rock, LA

Filipino-Chinese steam buns known as siopao in Eagle Rock, LA County.

Filipino Bibingka and Chicken Empanada in West Covina (LA)

Filipino coconut rice cake (bibingka) and empanada at Josephine’s in West Covina, LA County.

It was easier to see the Chinese influence in things like the steam buns known as siopao or noodle dishes like pancit or mami, even though the Hokkien origin of these words is less apparent. I didn’t even know about the Filipino influence on Hawaiian Cuisine or that Filipino food was easy to find there, nor did I realize that even places like Rome and London have large Filipino populations, until I went to these places and saw several Filipino restaurants and markets.

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Pinoy canned squid in various sauces at a Filipino market in Civitavecchia, Rome, Italy.

It still seems odd that, even in a place like Los Angeles, which has the largest Filipino population in the U.S., occupying entire cities like Eagle Rock and spread out as far as West Covina, that Filipino food is not as well known as other related cuisines… except to Filipinos of course. The nice people at Kainan Nino, which was open for years, never even got so much as a single Yelp review, and even though that place closed a while ago, the listing is still untouched.

Seafood City Filipino Supermarket in Eagle Rock, LA Filipino Halo Halo at Chow King in Eagle Rock, LA

Seafood City Filipino supermarket and halo halo at Chow King restaurant in Eagle Rock, LA County.

Does this really matter in the grand scheme of things? After all, Filipino Cuisine (or any other cuisine for that matter) doesn’t need to be popular with EVERYONE to be great. There seems to be a fallacy that something has to be accepted outside of its target audience to truly be successful. Even the notion of being “successful” or not when it comes to an entire food culture seems strange to me. I’m not sure who even has the authority to make such a determination. Entire cuisines only ever really “rise” or “fall” in the eyes of external audiences.

Filipino BBQ skewers on the street in Los Angeles

Filipino BBQ skewers on the grill at Dollar Hits in LA with names like “Helmet” andWalkman” as well as Isaw Ng Baboy and Isaw Ng Manok.

Still, things do seem to be changing. I’ve seen quite a bit of speculation in the media that Filipino Cuisine will soon be as well known in the U.S. as say, Japanese or Chinese cuisines. Several Filipino cookbooks in English have come out in recent years that seem to have done pretty well (though I need to learn more Tagalog) and Filipino restaurants in Los Angeles are actually starting to get some mainstream press outside LA and local Filipino newspapers.

I even read that they opened a Jollibee in Chicago that has lines that are hours long. No waiting here, there have been multiple locations in and around LA for several years, but then there are plenty of other options to choose from.

LA is XL:

Vermont Plaza, a typical LA strip mall in Koreatown.

3.5 square miles out of 4,751.

That’s how big Hollywood is compared to the rest of Los Angeles County.

How did such a tiny place grow to represent an entire area the size of a small country? If you add on Beverly Hills (5.7 square miles) and maybe Downtown Los Angeles (5.8 square miles), even if you were able to completely cover every inch of those 3 places. You would still have 4,736 square miles to go.

Los Angeles County (4,751 Square Miles)

Los Angeles County (4,751 Square Miles)

City of Los Angeles (503 Square Miles)

City of Los Angeles (503 Square Miles)

You see, Los Angeles isn’t just a city, it’s almost a hundred cities side by side (literally). When someone says “Los Angeles”, in most cases what they really mean is Los Angeles County… even if they don’t realize it.

The City of Los Angeles (503 square miles) is just one of 88 cities (not to mention unincorporated areas) in LA County. Places like Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, for instance, are NOT part of the City of Los Angeles, they are separate cities in LA County. So if you think that Beverly Hills or say, the Santa Monica Pier, are synonymous with Los Angeles, even when YOU say “Los Angeles”, you mean Los Angeles County.

Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, Inglewood, Compton? All cities in Los Angeles County with their own local flavor and separate local governments, while unincorporated areas like East LA are governed by the county.

Barbacoa and cabeza tacos in East Lost Angeles

Tacos in East LA, which is NOT part of the City of LA, or a city itself, it is an unincorporated area.

Ribs at Bludso’s BBQ on South Long Beach Blvd in Compton, Southern Los Angeles County

Ribs at Bludso’s BBQ in Compton, a completely separate city in LA County.

A good way to picture this is to think of Manhattan (22 square miles). Many people think Manhattan is a big place, it would be easy to live there, or maybe say Brooklyn (69 square miles), and never even need to leave. Now think of what it’s like to live in the 4,751 square miles of LA County and you will understand why everybody drives.

In fact eight major U.S. cities, including Manhattan, fit into just the area covered by the City of Los Angeles, while LA County is over 215 TIMES the size of Manhattan and contains over 10 million people. Pretty much every city and nearly every neighborhood in LA County is unique in some way, even when the architecture is similar, the people in a given area make that area different from all others. It’s no wonder that so many people have such conflicting views of Los Angeles. It would be very easy to visit, move or even live here your whole life and rarely ever leave the bubble of your immediate surroundings.

Even if you explored 100 square miles out from your neighborhood, you really haven’t covered very much ground. Which is why I can also understand how, even with all the evidence to the contrary, clichéd views of Los Angeles still persist. The reality is just too daunting, too overwhelming to comprehend. It’s much easier just to simplify it into a single stereotype and move on.

Arabic, Armenian, English & Spanish on a market window in Glendale (LA)

Before I moved here, even I found it much easier to mumble something about Hollywood and fad diets when the subject of Los Angeles came up than it is now to come to terms with the fact that, even if I tried, I couldn’t even cover all of the regional Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley in my lifetime.

I’ll never cover all of Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Thai Town, Little Armenia, Historic Filipinotown, Little Tokyo, Little Osaka, Little EthiopiaTehrangeles and Long Beach Cambodia Town. I’ll never eat at every Mexican food truck on Whittier Blvd or every Indian restaurant in Artesia.

How did that tired old notion of Los Angeles being a “cultural wasteland” get programmed into my head again? I’m sure I don’t remember.

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LA Food Culture Photo Gallery

I’ve lived in and explored Los Angeles for almost a decade now and I’ve done my best to document as much of the food culture in LA in photographs as I can, and will probably continue to do so for as long as I can.

After a decade, I still haven’t even scratched the surface.

Chinese Fast Food:

New Orleans Real Chicken Hamburger in Beijing, China

Having grown up in the USA, fast food is nothing new to me. It’s something that has always been there. Something that is, for better or worse, a normal part of life. My home town in Kentucky was even sort of a testing ground for new fast food concepts, so as a kid I had access to some things before they were available anywhere else and even to some things that never made it nation-wide. Perhaps because of this, fast food in America has never been particularly interesting to me. It’s just something I see everyday. Fast food overseas, on the other hand, is something I find endlessly fascinating.

Renjoy mobile RV convenience store in Beijing, China

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As I mentioned in my previous posts, while there has been a great deal of media coverage in recent years about the proliferation of fast food in France, this is really something that is happening everywhere and has been for a long time. Every country I visit, in between hunting down traditional local specialties, I always try at least a few things from various fast food establishments. This ranges from the localized options at predominantly American fast food chains, to modern and quasi-traditional items from fast food joints of local origin.

Beijing is home to an endless variety of both of these things. It’s a place where Pizza Hut is kind of a fancy restaurant, with red wine and steaks; where KFC sells congee and Cantonese egg tarts from stores that are often open 24 hours. You can get steamed buns and fish cakes in hot broth (to go) at 7-Eleven and pretty much every American junk food brand has Chinese versions, from Coca Cola in cans labeled in Mandarin to red cooked pork flavor Lay’s potato chips.

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Beyond that there are even more interesting things, near clones of Western fast food restaurants with similar looking branding that sell Western-style food like pizza, tacos and burgers to a predominantly Chinese clientele. Find your way to any one of the hundreds of upscale shopping malls and on the top floor or in the basement you’ll find a food court plastered with advertisements for places with fast food versions of traditional Asian fare sold from shiny kiosks, each with its own specialty and corresponding back-lit full color signage.

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With an infinite number of places offering excellent versions of classic regional Chinese cuisine in Beijing, I definitely don’t recommend skipping any of it to eat cheeseburgers and fries, but fresh steamed bao stuffed with pizza ingredients?

That’s harder to argue against trying.

À La Carte (Blanche):

Fish for soupe de poisson at Toute la Maree in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France

If there is anything I’ve learned in all these years of traveling, it’s that there is no substitute for first hand experience. No amount of reading or research can prepare you for what you actually find on the ground in a given place, there are just too many details, too much depth in an overwhelming volume of information to uncover. That’s why I had to go Back to France, to visit some places I’ve already been and see what changed, but mostly to go to places I’ve never seen, to see if what I’ve heard is true. Even after a decade of reading about France, of watching documentaries and travel shows, navigating endless chains of Wikipedia articles and scanning countless magazine articles and blogs in both English and French. I still found things I never knew existed, things I’ve never read about in any article and things I can’t really put into words.

A view of the village of Gordes in Vaucluse, France Flowers used as cover crops in a vineyard in Burgundy (Bourgogne), France A vineyard and house with blue shutters in the Côtes du Luberon AOC in the Rhone Valley, France

I guess that’s why I take pictures.

If you’ve been following my exploits for any length of time, you know that my concern is with the foundation of cuisine. I focus my lens primarily on ingredients, then markets and vendors, farms and fishmongers, butchers and bakers. Restaurants are important, but it is this foundation of ingredients and tradition among the general population that everything else is built upon. As long as a strong foundation exists, whatever it holds can still stand, even if completely torn down and rebuilt from scratch.

Local vegetables at the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market in Provence, France A view of the market in Chalon-sur-Saone, Burgundy (Bourgogne), FranceCharcuterie at the Les Halles de Lyon in Lyon, France Charolais cows in Burgundy (Bourgogne), France Fishmonger with mussels at the market in Amboise (Loire Valley)

After visiting dozens of cities and towns on this trip, driving from the Cote-d’Azur through Provence and the Rhône Valley to Lyon, then on through Burgundy and the Loire Valley, I offer a couple of observations. First, French Cuisine is alive and kicking. Second and just as importantly, the foundation of French Cuisine is still strong. I have to admit I was a little worried after all the things I’ve read over the years that all I was going to find was a cuisine completely ravaged by fast food and pre-packaged convenience foods, but that is not the case… yet.

Artisan baguettes at the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market in Provence, France Relatively rare French cheese (fromage) at the Les Halles de Lyon in Lyon, France. Charcuterie at a small butcher shop in Roussillon, France Banon (AOP) goat cheese (chevre) at the Marche Provencal in Antibes, France A variety of charcuterie for sale at the Marche Provencal in Antibes, France Cured ham and sausages in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France

If there was any indication to me that everything had not changed for the worst, it is when I set foot in the Avignon Les Halles. While I’m sure some of the vendors have switched out over the years, in principle, the Avignon central market is more or less the same as I left it a dozen years ago. The market still sells a huge selection of the products of the region and from other parts of France. You can buy everything from seasonal, local Provençal vegetables and olive oil to Bayonne Ham. Longtime mainstays of the market, like the fishmonger La Marée Provençale, are still displaying a dizzying array of pristine seafood manually arranged on a long bed of ice every morning, just as they have done for the last two decades and more. The butchers are still cutting meat early in the morning before any customers arrive, often from whole animals.

The exterior vertical garden of the central market Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France The Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France Mantis shrimp (squilles) at Maree Provencale in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France Jambon Ficelle a l'ancienne aux Herbes in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France Herbs de Provence marinated olives in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, FranceSaint-Omer beer in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France Oysters (huitres) at Maree Provencale in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France Brie de Meaux cheese (AOP) in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France Fresh fish at Toute la Maree in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, FranceSausages and offal at a butcher (boucherie) in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France A vegetable vendor in the Avignon Les Halles in Avignon, France

French restaurants have not given up on their regional products either. Tons of places in every town I visited prominently offered “produits du terroir” on a “menu du marché”. Indicating that they (or at least their customers) still care about the provenance of the food they are eating. Traditional places and “cuisine du pays” are still the rule. Just try walking into any of the long-standing old-school joints that serve the traditional cuisine of a particular region on any night without a reservation, you’ll find it full. This phenomenon doesn’t just apply to traditional sit-down restaurants. The longest line I saw for anything on the whole trip wasn’t for corporate fast food, it was for socca, a kind of plain chickpea flour pancake baked in a huge copper pan in a wood burning oven. This is a typical dish of the region of France near the border of Italy, one of many French-Italian hybrid dishes you’ll find here, along with straight Italian Cuisine.

A large pan of socca (or farinita) at Chez RenéSocca in Nice, France Cœur-de-bœuf tomatoes from Provence at the Cours Saleya market in Nice, France Linguine with roasted prawns at Restaurant Albert 1er in Antibes, FranceFougasse at La Fougasserie, a Provencal bakery in Nice, France Meringues for sale near the Cours Saleya market in Nice, France Pastis de Marseille, traditional anise flavored spirit for sale in Antibes, France Cote Vin wine shop in Nice, France Pate en Croute at the Cours Saleya market in Nice, France

So if the French still love their regional ingredients and traditional cuisines, what about all these doomsday scenarios about fast food, hamburgers and processed food? First, I would argue that PIZZA is actually more popular than burgers. Pizza was everywhere, not just near the Italian border, not just at places aimed at tourists. It seems like I saw more pizza on menus in France than I saw in Italy. Even in the most remote areas and in the smallest villages there were tiny pizza stands or in many cases, pizza trucks, stationed on the side of the road waiting for customers to drive by.

As for hamburgers, yes those were popular too, but not just the fast food versions. Restaurants with otherwise very traditional menus often had a hamburger or two, not as an alternative, as an addition. I saw everything from raclette burgers in Loire to “hamburgers Provençal” in Provence. I even had a burger at a joint in Burgundy that was called a “Burger Franchouillard”, meaning “typically French”. This burger had a patty called a “steak haché” and toppings like tranches de lard (fatty bacon), Camembert (runny cheese), roquette (arugula), confit d’oignons (onion jam) and sauce oignon. I have to say, it was a pretty good burger. Plus, hamburgers make some sense here given that white Charolais cows dot almost every field in Burgundy not filled with grape vines.

Hamburger Franchouillard (meaning typically French) in Burgundy (Bourgogne), France La Cabane pizza truck in La Croix-en-Touraine (Loire Valley), France

I don’t know what the future of French Cuisine looks like, but the present is actually looking pretty damn good. Moving forward, without forgetting the past. You see it in the market in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which more or less takes over the whole town on Thursdays and Sundays, selling local products from all around Provence. Similar markets everywhere from Antibes in Côte d’Azur to Chalon-sur-Saône in Burgundy to Amboise in the Loire Valley, as well as city markets like the aforementioned Avignon Les Halles and the Les Halles de Lyon, will remind you how the food in France got its reputation in the first place. You might want to skip restaurants altogether and just find a place to stay with a kitchen. Just be careful of buying any hallucinogenic fish (eaten since Roman times), which I like to imagine is how Picasso came up with Night Fishing at Antibes and what put Van Gogh in an asylum in Arles during their time here.

The sign above the Marche Provencal in Antibes, France Red berries for sale at the Marche Provencal in Antibes, France Charentais melons and walnuts (noix) for sale in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France Local thyme from Provence at the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market in Provence, France Vegetables from Provence at the Marche Provencal in Antibes, France St. Benoit Tomme Provence cheese at the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market in Provence, France Fava beans (feves) at the Cours Saleya market in Nice, France Boudin blanc (white sausage) at the market in Amboise (Loire Valley), France

As far as less formal approaches to dining go, there are many examples. A few good ones are Le Bistro du Fromager in Nice, which is run by two brothers, one in a two-man kitchen and one on the floor. These guys care a great deal about what they are serving and giddily explain that your biodynamic wine (all they serve) was made on a farm by some guy with two last names, he used one for the red and one for the white. You can still afford to eat here though, you can show up in jeans and even physically choose your own cheese plate from the cold case filled with about 30 different varieties. Fou De Fafa, a restaurant in Avignon whimsically named after a Flight of the Conchords song is making beautiful traditional French cuisine from regional products, but the couple who runs it just happen not to be French. Oh Terroir in Orléans is an actual “Bistronomy” joint that serves items all made from regional products, in the manner of fast food. You order from a touch screen, pay and sit down. Your meal is made from scratch and delivered to your table.

Guineafowl (pintade) from Landes at Restaurant Les Saveurs Gourmandes in Menerbes, France Galette de sarrasin (buckwheat pancake) "La Mam Goz" at Creperie Mam Goz in Arles, France Assortment of shellfish (fruits de mer) on ice at Restaurant Albert 1er in Antibes, France Saucisson de Lyon and rillette de harengs at Cafe des Federations in Lyon, France Salade du chef in Bligny-sur-Ouche, Burgundy (Bourgogne), FranceQuenelle brochet, sauce langoustines at Cafe des Federations in Lyon, FranceMagret de canard aux fraises at Restaurant Fou de Fafa in Avignon, France Terrine de Canard "Maison" (duck pate) at restaurant Les Lavandes in Vence, France Epoisses cheese at Le Caveau des Arches in Beaune, Burgundy (Bourgogne), France Tarte a la praline at Cafe des Federations in Lyon, France

I personally love old-world places like Café des Fédérations in Lyon, for whatever Lyonnaise dishes they are serving that day and extremely simple places like Le P’tit Coin in Charolles, a tiny local joint that serves nothing but Charolais steak and fries. It’s hard to go wrong in some of the newer places though. If you overdose on French Cuisine (strictly speaking) and want a pizza, the La Cabane pizza truck in La Croix-en-Touraine has got you covered. They also use regional products and sell local strawberries from the same truck.

Are there threats to French cuisine? Yes, but they are the same threats faced by all cuisines. Every place I went still had small local boucheries, pâtisseries, fromageries and poissonneries selling regional products, and beautiful local produce was available at more smaller markets than I could even count. But… every town also had an increasing number of giant supermarkets carrying versions of the same corporate products found in every supermarket in the world, and giant chain restaurants. This is not unique to France, I’ve seen the same thing everywhere, even in China. It seems like these places all operate on the same model, largest volume, lowest price, central distribution. Oddly, most of the produce in big French supermarkets… was from Spain.

Baker at La Cabane a Pain bakery at the market in Chalon-sur-Saone, Burgundy (Bourgogne), FranceLa Cabane a Pain, bakery on wheels at the market in Chalon-sur-Saone, Burgundy (Bourgogne), FranceFresh fish on display at La Sirene in the Marche Provencal in Antibes, France Poissonnerie La Sirene at the Marche Provencal in Antibes, France Pastries on display at a patisserie in Lyon, France Macarons at Patisserie Wagner in Beaune, Burgundy (Bourgogne), France Paris-Brest dessert at Boulangerie Soulier in Arles, France

I know quite well the possible outcome. I’ve seen it in numerous small towns all over America, where it is increasingly difficult (if not impossible) to find a local place to eat or buy any of the products of the region. If you are buying food or eating out in these places, it’s at a giant chain… the same giant chains as in every other town. While a playful Flight of the Conchords song might best describe the current state of the New French Cuisine, in much of Small Town USA, the old Fugazi song Five Corporations off the album End Hits was pretty prophetic. In little towns all over France, such a thing is potentially devastating.

Hamburgers Provençal and pizza trucks, though, aren’t really a threat to French Cuisine. They may sound odd, but a French love of burgers is no more odd than an American love of French fries (forgive me Belgium). Pizza? A natural fit. Anyway, these things are already past and present. The future, however, is a blank slate. The menu for tomorrow? It always remains to be seen.

{ 300 Photos from France, 2016 }

Back to France?

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Fresh shellfish at a seafood market in Paris, France (2004)

Not long after I returned home from my first trip overseas (to France in 2004), I was met with some disturbing news. Apparently, while I wasn’t paying attention, French Cuisine had died. The zeitgeist had turned, almost instantly it seemed, to the Modernists of Spain. Young cooks began rebelling against the old French system in droves, lured by the freedom to now do whatever they wanted, instead of being confined by a rigid set of rules.  Traditional cooking methods were being all but abandoned in favor of scientific and technological approaches, creativity exalted above all else. In the blink of an eye, the world had changed. The future of the French techniques I had spent years studying, like most culinary students at the time, seemed to be in jeopardy.

The bad French news didn’t stop there. While upheaval was wreaking havoc on French Cuisine in the restaurant world, to the point that some said you could no longer get a good meal in Paris, news came that the French people themselves were abandoning home cooking. Fast food and packaged, highly processed supermarket products were taking over the French diet. The hamburger was on pace to outsell the baguette. Even some restaurants had been caught advertising “home cooking” while secretly producing the equivalent of microwaved TV dinners, which was so shocking that the French government took action.

While nearly all the training I had received to this point had been focused on things like mother sauces and cutting a perfect brunoise, I really had no choice but to investigate these modern paths – if for no other reason than if I chose to reject them, I could do so with an informed argument. When faced with rapid change, the general rule of thumb is “adapt or die”.  This leads to a multi-year investigation into food science and everything that subject branches into. I read everything I could get my hands on, from the quintessential books on the subject to searching Google Patents for descriptions of industrial processes used to make things like Trix and Boo Berry cereal. In the end I simply “absorbed what is useful” and found the practical application of science to traditional cooking, à la The Food Lab, to be most compatible with my personal inclinations. (I actually met Kenji at a cooking demo in Santa Clarita, nice guy).

Fast-forward to current day. The zeitgeist has already shifted again, this time to the notion of using heritage ingredients and foraging what is around you in lieu of shipping in foreign ingredients from overseas. Pretty much everybody followed. In a way though, it seems like circling back. In the city I live in (Los Angeles), French Cuisine is having a sort of Renaissance, which is somewhat ironic. People are freaking out over the most basic tenets of French cooking, a well made French omelette, baguettes that taste like they are supposed to taste. Probably five new French-leaning places have opened in the last year and a half, a pace outstripped only by pour over coffee shops and poke joints.

Was French Cuisine ever really dead, or did it just move to Canada? Does what we see in the media really reflect reality? I’ve heard stories of French Cuisine trying to change with the times, tales of Bistronomy and less formal approaches to both cooking and dining. I’d be interested to see what that looks like, but part of me feels like maybe the old advice; that when you are lost you should stay in one place because someone is more likely to find you, may apply. After all, if things are coming full circle, doesn’t that mean we are all going back to where we started? In Japan and Italy, a place that has served the same dish in the same place for a hundred years is revered for its longevity and resistance to the ravages of time. I suppose sometimes not adapting at all can, eventually, become an asset rather than a liability. Like horseshoe crabs, print books and some would say, vinyl records, not everything needs to change.