It’s the little things…that make L.A. différence!
What would life be abroad without our favorite French comfort foods? Although many, many important things face the new expatriate from France, such as the search for a place to live, a job, and a French school for the kids… there’s still a common denominator we all face that I am certain preoccupies most French natives: how am I going to survive without my baguette, cheese, moutarde and my cornichons?
I remember not so long ago… in the ’70s… when my family immigrated to the US from France, my mom resorted to baking her own bread! We were nostalgic and missed the comforts of ‘Home’. Where to find such and such food became a daily topic of conversation! Staple French foods and things that we took for granted in France became the ultimate luxury… things like: la baguette, les pains au chocolat, les cornichons, le camembert, les Petits Suisses de Gervais, le Nutella, le vrai beurre! For us kids, we missed our French candy : Les carambars, malabars... and things got worse during the holidays when we would scurry town to find the traditional have-to-have special foods for le Réveillon de Noel et la Bonne Année: les escargots de Bourgogne, le foie gras, le boudin et les huitres! We also made our own Galette des Rois before it became so popular!
Well, as you know, things have changed drastically! Not only have all the French staple foods and delicacies almost made it to mainstream, but also in Los Angeles, French everything is still very à la mode, and we can buy our baguette without having to drive for hours; at the local supermarket or the many bakeries and boulangeries in town – one of my favorites is Chef Josette’s, Normandie Bakery among many other fine establishments around town and for out-of-the ordinary gourmet foods stock up at Epicure Imports. For that French festive touch of the holidays!
Today, my favorite little market in L.A is Trader Joe’s (which was called ‘Pronto’ many years ago). Trader Joe’s brings the L.A ‘Frenchies’ some of our favorite comfort foods in every neighborhood! From frozen pastry goods such as tartes et pains au chocolat to French wines and a good selection of cheeses, Trader Joe’s Aka “T.J.’ s” carries a very nice selection and variety of goods to satisfy the finest European palette.
I also love buying my flowers there, it reminds me of the little corner flower shops in Paris. We are also fortunate to have local open-air markets that sell fresh produce (there’s no comparison, though). It really is the little things that make all L.A. différence, n’est-ce-pas ?