By Johnny Lopes
Being in Paris for the first time, I wanted to see the city life -- the real hustle and bustle. So what better place to witness this chaos than Les Halles? It was jammed with bars for your aperitifs and tabacs for your nicotine fix. But aside from this typical parisian fare, I noticed a recurring food theme. A food theme which caught me off-guard, quite frankly.
Apparently, the French have a mighty appetite for baguette sandwiches. The baguette itself wasn't the strange part to me so much as what they called it: a panini. Being raised in the States, I've grown accustom to the standard "panini" you'd find at a cafe -- pressed and oily. This is not the case in Paris where you'd get a variety of buns (ranging from doughy, to flakey awesomeness) stuffed with some damn fine ingredients (meats galore and gourmet cheeses). You could tell there was a difference in quality from each vendor depending where you were in the city.
When you do shell out your hard-earned euros for one of these prizes, they do something unorthodox: they stick the paninis into the microwave for 40 seconds to reheat it. I suppose you can't expect some new-fangled reheating method when you're chowing down on street food.
Duck panini! Aside from the bread, it was pretty damn good
Parisian weiner + cheese
*Johnny Lopes is a professional cyclist critic (aka biking curmudgeon) living in San Francisco. He commutes to Oakland to see his girlfriend via the ferry, never the BART.