Paris isn't widely associated with street food, but some of my favorite food moments in France happened not in restaurants or bistros but at crepe stands.
One crepe cart would set up outside the Odeon movie theater near my apartment; I preferred him over all the others because rather than cooking the eggy discs ahead and reheating them to order, he would pour the batter fresh onto the searing griddle, so every crepe ended up piping hot and crispy.
Eat enough of these things and you can tell the difference, just as you can tell when a barista uses someone else's steamed milk. See also: - Hot damn! Central Bistro & Bar redefines what a neighborhood restaurant can be - Photos: A closer look at Central Bistro & Bar
When I ordered the Nutella waffle at Central Bistro & Bar, which I review this week, I was expecting something similar to what I so fondly remember from Paris, namely a sweet, flour-based treat -- in this case a waffle, not a crepe -- that serves as a delicious excuse to eat warm chocolate hazelnut spread.
What arrived couldn't have been more different. Instead of a Nutella-driven dessert, the thick, golden waffle was topped with bananas and butterscotch-rum sauce, with just a hint of chocolate underneath. After a bite or two to reorient my expectations, I fell in love with the dessert, a clever spin-off of Bananas Foster.
Despite the abundance of Christmas cookies at my house, my thoughts keep returning to this dessert at Central Bistro, so I tracked down the original Bananas Foster recipe, created more than sixty years ago at Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans.
You can get a taste of Brennan's Bananas Foster here.