Le Camion Qui Fume

Like most American Expats in Paris, there are times when I crave things you can only get back home. BBQ, buffalo wings, a corn beef sandwich, and yes…a burger too. Sure, you can find burgers in Paris, you can find them on just about every menu but they’re usually average at best and geared towards tourists.

So when I heard about this new burger truck, Le Camion Qui Fume (literally the Smoking Truck) roaming the streets of Paris (for about 2 months-time now) and settling on a different location every day, I knew I had to try it out. It started out 2 months ago by Californian, Kristin Frederick, who studied in my alma mater, Ferrandi. If ever there was a time to break into the food truck business in Paris, now would be that time. It’s an uptapped market.

Today in the freezing cold (-3 degrees celsius to be exact), I went to try out what I hoped would make me reminisce the real American burger. As I approached the truck with the gleaming lights, the closer I got to it, the more I could smell, grilled ground beef, BBQ sauce and the smell of hot fries. A smile came across my face. But, it wasn’t that easy to order the burger…It was more of a challenge.
I had carefully planned to be at their “location of the day”. I read that if you didn’t get there early you would have to wait a long time or there would be no more stock. No way, I thought so I tried to take my chances.

I got to Porte Maillot at 12.30pm and there was already a huge line. Where did all these people come from?

Well, they, too, heard about this burger truck and were able to know its daily whereabouts through social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook which discloses the next location and times of opening. Though waiting in the queue made me grumpy (as I was equally starving), I got to place my order just in time as today, they rant out of burgers and the rest of the people waiting behind me, had to go home empty-handed (empty stomach too). The guy who took my order told me it was a 45 minute wait…

45 minutes? For a burger? You’ve got to be serious. Well, there were only 3 people in the truck and they did the orders by 5. I tried to find a welcoming spot in the sun but the problem was I was starting to feel pain on my feet due to the cold…The one day I decided not to wear my UGGS.

The wind was blowing, and toes were frozen, but no one really cared. We all just stood around and waited patiently for our number to be called. We were watching their every move, burgers on the grill, buttering the rolls to be toasted, the ingredients being loaded onto the bun, the cheese being melted, wondering if that was our order they were creating.

And so I waited. And waited.  And waited. One hour in total…

My ticket ended up being one of the very last tickets. The very last orders of five tickets remained on the counter. And mine, was the first. When they called once…elevent, I felt as though I had won the lottery! Me! Mine! Over here! As Kristin gave me the bag of goodies, I snatched it, said thank you and ran away like a little child stealing the cookie from the cookie jar.

Now, was it worth it? It was massive! A huge burger, larger than my hands could hold well.  Each juicy bite was filled with cheese, mayonnaise, onions, tomato, lettuce and pickles.  All of this sitting on a thick, buttery, perfectly toasted roll.

 The verdict? Amazing.

The more I ate, the more great it became. Now, truthfully, it’s also possible that I was absolutely starving so anything I could get my hands on would be great, but there was so much flavor, so much texture in the beef with the right amount of fat, and the buns were home-made; it felt fresh, refreshing and not greasy – as a usual burger can be.

Classic with cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayonnaise. My least favorite of the bunch, but well seasoned and juicy.

Campagne with Gruyere, wild mushrooms and caramelized onions

Barbecue with Cheedar, Bacon, Fried Onion and BBQ Sauce  

Porc Braisé with Slow-cooked pork cooked in beer, BBQ Sauce and Coleslaw. For me, the best…Surprise, surprise…

The fries though, were cold and soggy by the time I could get to try them. It was freezing that day and the wind didn’t help at all. But they smelt great! They were also hand-cut and not frozen, something we don’t find nowadays anywhere.

3 words: Kick ass burgers

Next time, I’ll be sure to try the Cheesecake.

You can find out where they’ll be next, by following @LeCamionQuiFume on Twitter or Facebook or you can just go to their website: www.lecamionquifume.com.

*This is technically not the first food truck in Paris since there are trucks all over making crêpes, but to my knowledge it’s the first that changes location on a daily basis, using social media to inform clients.

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Comments
One Response to “Le Camion Qui Fume”
  1. Funny story. I heard of this truck too but i guess it’s irresistible just for Americans because I ate carpaccio at home with no lines.

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