The 'Shroom:Issue 161/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Shroom2017 Anton.png

Welcome to the middle of August! Hard to imagine that summer is almost gone, but it's also hard to imagine we even had one without being able to actually go anywhere! With it being nothing but indescribable heat, agonizing torment, and plagues of both pure pestulence and petulence, there's little room to actually enjoy anything. Well, we have other plans; happy birthday Mario Wiki! At the time of posting up this month's issue, yesterday was our Anniversary Ceremony that we hold on the forum boards. The results of Mario, Fail, and Community polls back in June are now out, being presented through little creative and artistic displays by people in this community. Please check it out, and feel free to continue leaving comments in those topics about your thoughts on the results or letting the presenters know they did a good job!! So, kick back, enjoy the poll results, have an ice cream sandwich, and respect retail and food service workers for the rest of summer and beyond!

Also, thanks for voting for Half-baked Reviews as July's Critic Corner Section of the Month!! Be sure to give your love to all of our sections here, and give a shout out to our writers whether in chat or in their forum threads dedicated to their sections. Be sure to vote vote vote!

And now for my regular announcements: We've decided to implement in Critic Corner something similar to News Flush over in Fake News, where no formal sign-up application process is required for one-time or limited sections. From now on if you just want to send in a single review for something you just read, watched played, tried, whatever, you just have to send me your review privately either to me directly in chat, or in a message to me on the forum at least one week before each 'Shroom is to be released! There's no commitment or obligation to provide a full monthly section (although you absolutely can shift it into one if you so choose), just send us your thoughts on a thing and we'll feature it here! If you have any questions or curiosities about this, please feel free to ask!

As always, if you would like to help Critic Corner, we always have openings for more writers! You are free to write for sections such as Character Review and Movie Review, or really anything you'd like to do! There's no pressure to have a huge section; they can be shorter and concise! The application process is very simple, starting with reading the Sign Up page, and sending your application to Ninja Squid, our Stats Manager on the forum. Any idea you have is welcome, and if you have any questions or need help signing up, please feel free to reach out to myself or other 'Shroom peeps!

Section of the Month

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 11 40.74% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Countdowns 9 33.33% Luigi 64DD (talk)
3rd Agency in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 3 11.11% Lakituthequick (talk)

'Shroom FM

Written by: MrConcreteDonkey (talk)

Hey I'm MCD and unfortunately I've been a bit distracted this month, due to awards (which were very good for the record, would highly recommend you check them out), so I haven't really had time to write up any full reviews or even listen to that many albums from July. But here are the ones I did listen to, and a small review for each of them.

The Beths - Jump Rope Gazers
Alright but unfortunately rarely gets much better than that, it's pleasant enough sure but after it ended I couldn't remember pretty much anything about it. I heard a song from it the following day and had no idea what it was. These guys have character but (as with their debut Future Me Hates Me) this rarely feels like it reaches their full potential.

Nicolas Jaar - Telas
Out of Jaar's many projects this year - two of which I've already reviewed - this is probably one of my least favourites. It's very abstract and ambient, made up of clear sections that progress as the songs go on, but one particular section in the third track (which lasts a few minutes) is so good it makes the rest seem unremarkable by comparison, and it never achieves the same heights.

Lianne La Havas - Lianne La Havas
The first few tracks are amazing but from there on out it becomes too mellow, quieter and less inventive besides the odd track. It also ends by... repeating the first track? It'd be a cool idea if anything significant had changed about the track but it's just a shorter version, which is an underwhelming note to end on. It's a chill time overall, though, maybe I'll like more it after a few more listens.

Protomartyr - Ultimate Success Today
A solidly good album that I really want to be great but it doesn't go that far for me yet, it always peaks around the middle and then I lose focus a bit. Processed by the Boys and Worm in Heaven in particular are incredible. There's a lot of biting lyricism and powerful guitars throughout that create this real vivid atmosphere of doom and anxiety and pessimism. If that doesn't sound like fun then I don't know what to tell you.

That's all for this month, be sure to check out the awards ceremonies from yesterday and I'll see you in September!

Flip or Flop

Written by: HEROWALUIGI (talk)

Mario Kart 7

The Mario Kart everyone seems to have forgotten about. Well not today. Mario Kart 7 will be reviewed by yours truly. So open that garage and let’s get racing.

The Good

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First off, The Music, Mario Kart 7 has one of the best soundtracks for a racing game ever. Only second to Mario Kart DS. The Character roster is weird, for example you got Queen Bee and Wiggler? It’s weird but there is quite a lot of characters to chose from. New to Mario Kart is the fact that you can customize your cart. You can customize the body, the wheels, and the glider. It gives you something to work towards besides unlocking characters as you have to unlock a lot of the vehicle parts. The game has a really good Track list. All of the new tracks are quite fun to play on. The driving in the game is amazing. It’s tight and sharp. As well as being able to do tricks the drifting is near perfection. Also the game looks really cool with 3D turned on.

The Bad.

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The online for Mario Kart 7 is slow. It takes it quite a while for it to even find a group of people. Then when it finds said group it goes through who each person is one-by-one, makes you spectate, then makes you say OK after it shows you who you’ll actually be racing against, then makes you decide which track to play, and then, and only then will the race start. And keep in mind you have to do that every time you want to get Online. The tricks are iffy when they want to work. Most of the time they will but there is quite a bit of times where they’ll randomly not work even if you press the correct button. There is no VS race option for single player. There is no reason this shouldn't be a thing, especially because it’s already there in multiplayer. Then there’s the fact that the races feel slow. Like 150cc is the only acceptable speed otherwise it feels like a snail.


Mario Kart 7 is an amazing racing game for the 3DS but there are a few things that hold it from getting a perfect score. Final Rating: 8/10 Thanks for reading I hope you have a good rest of your day! Oh and, happy birthday Wiki, I know I’m late but have a good awards ceremony!

Anton's Half-Baked Reviews

Written By: Hypnotoad (talk) Artwork by: 2257 (talk)

France - Paris - Restaurants and Specialty

So to start off, some general observations. Everything seems catered to English-speakers first, especially towards the tourist areas, but still prevalent throughout Paris. This serves as quite an accessibility and comfort boon for tourists like me, but it conceals and masks that this is a completely different country with its own history, culture, and customs, that however similar it may be to every other western world country, there are separate peculiarities. This is where my advice from last month comes into play more often: “Also, please be aware of basic greetings; a simple “bonjour” (hello), “merci” (thank you), s'il vous plaît (please), “oui” (yes), “non” (no), and “excusez-moi” or “pardon” (excuse me/sorry) will get you through 90% of interactions that can’t be shifted in your favor with a “je suis désolée, parlez-vous anglais?” (I’m sorry, do you speak english?). Greet everyone!!!” I repeat, GREET EVERYONE! Just say bonjour, get over it, say hi, treat the workers with basic courtesy and as someone worth acknowledging because not doing so is how you get the trope of grouchy Parisians. They’ll understand you might not know French, but they will see you’re trying to be courteous and make it work for everyone, so they will go along with it and do what they can. Many people in central Paris will know English and know to use it to speak with you, but the further you get away from standard attractions the less they will know, so just be ready to figure things out. Bring a phrase book if you want, who cares, if your goal is to not look corny then just stay home.

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So, anyways, restaurants.

Les Restaurants

At the top of basically every list on what there even is to do in Paris is to check out all of the restaurants they have to offer. Well, I’m poor, so I didn’t go to anything wildly extravagant, and honestly if you have money to go to any of those super luxurious fancy restaurants in Paris then you have the money to just go to the same thing here in the States with the same kind of chefs imported in straight from Paris serving the same exact menus. Only thing you’re missing out on is maybe some foie gras and the watercooler factoid that you ate food from some world-renowned chef as if anyone actually cares. Pretty much every single list that features Best Restaurants in Paris, or Must Try, or whatever, almost exclusively list the highest end $500 prix fixe locales donning the coveted Michelin stars and some gimmick like pure gold leaf and summer truffles diffused into the air. You’d be better off looking through Reddit for some real suggestions. At fancy restaurants you end up paying more for the service and pampered experience, and guys I just wanted to eat, I’ve been walking all day and my feet hurt and I’m dehydrated and all I’ve had to snack on was a pain au chocolat from a little bakery we walked past to get to the métro, I need FOOD. Maybe you want to pay several hundred dollars for some pleasant lighting and ambiance, and a food service worker with a genuine smile, but I can get the same thing myself for a few bucks cooking my own food that I like and then listening to some ASMR with the lights off.

Le Bistro des Augustins

Probably the only destination restaurant we went to, only because my sister-in-law really liked it on her honeymoon because they had good au gratin potatoes. It has a nice cozy vibe where you can experience the thrill of what plenty of tourism bloggers heap praise onto Paris restauranting for--sitting on benches extremely close to other groups. I can’t exactly say I’m a fan of that, so I sat at the far corner end with my brother as a buffer and a wall on the other end because I’m just not going to deal with that any more than I have to on the métro. I had some kind of Norwegian smoked salmon thing but honestly who cares because the entirety of my experience was eclipsed by the memetic perception of Paris: the single waiter/bartender being pretty rude and pretentious. He was just some beardy dude making fun of how Americans ask for and say “chicken” as if I couldn’t end his life any time during that entire meal if I wanted to and there would be nothing that could stop me. From the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Ariana Grande, “I hate Americans, I hate America”, but catch some uppity snob from across the pond making some sly comment ignoring that his own country is only marginally better by the solitary fact that their empire and influence died out long before social media, it’s July 4th and fireworks shooting off for me. It wasn’t directed at us, but another tourist couple who wasn’t even being obnoxious, they just wanted the chicken dish, and to say in French literally in front of them that ‘bien sûr l'américain veut “chicken”; Chicken chicken chicken *laugh*” as if the only subjects in that sentence aren’t either cognates or literally in English, and then to continue mocking in English. I could understand if they were the boisterous American trope, but it was just a cute somewhat older couple who seemed to have no idea what anything was so they wanted some level of familiarity with some chicken and potatoes, things that this restaurant apparently specializes in but can’t seem to hire a guy who pays attention to that as much as he pays attention to just how much product he needs to keep his thin policeman mustache perfectly coiffed so he doesn’t look too much like a eurotrash pedophile. God forbid we interrupt his 5th cigarette break to receive our drinks.

One single chef making every dish in what appeared to be a rent controlled studio apartment kitchen, cutting everything on just a little panel that I guess was meant to be a cutting board, wearing no gloves or protective equipment or really any other visible proactive sanitation measures. Prices are reasonable, food is ok, but I can go to McDonald’s and get something just as good for a cheaper price and at least they have the courtesy to hide their rats and snobs in the back.


First time I've seen "p'tit dej'"in the wild.
Kinda wish actual America had these, though.
Yeah, I know. Anyways we went here because I figured it would be neat to see what a French version of an American chain is like given how Galeries Lafayette interpreted American cuisine. I have no recollection of where we went to one, just that it was like the end cap of one of those roads that converge making a triangle-shaped block of buildings, maybe the one on Rue la Fayette if you care that much. I guess I should’ve anticipated it more, but the menu was basically identical to American menus barring just a few local differences, such as there being a McD’s version of a croque monsieur, basically a snazzy grilled cheese, differing regional water brands, whatever. Most significantly, though, was a much wider range of desserts that went just different iterations of milkshakes and sundaes. Canelles, macarons, tarts, all kinds of muffins and pastries set up in a kind of display like how Starbucks shows off their baked goods, and an unreasonably amount of hazelnut and hazelnut chocolate (basically Nutella) options. I’m ashamed of myself for not having tried the Lotus Biscoff McFlurry. I’m sure there are various iterations and combinations of burgers that aren’t available on the menu as-is without customization in France that aren’t in America, but that’s a question more for Shoey, so everyone go give him a couple thousands dollars to check it out. Fulfilling the purpose I came here for, I gladly located an “AMERICAN TIME” menu that listed some goodies that I guess are supposed to either appeal to or evoke Americans. Pecan pie is a good pick, but I’m not sure about the others; mint citronnade, chocolate pretzel pastry, and some macarons (cranberry, brownie, caramel pecan). I mean, close? Kinda?

Aside from the menu, they just all looked, I don’t know, cleaner? More sophisticated? I’m sure there’s some real dump McD’s out somewhere in rural France, but every one of the ones in Paris looked pretty modern and sterile, which translated into the quality of the food which tasted cleaner and less artery clogging. Multiple floors with tons of seating, self-ordering and checkout through a touchscreen Price was on par with any McD’s location in American cities with the rates all hiked up, and the quality remains consistent across the board in that there’s only one single pickle slapped in the middle. You can kinda taste how much healthier it is, relatively, but not enough for it to exactly matter. Disappointed that things tasted less salty, but at least the fries were similar. Good homesickness prevention, and it’s always worth checking out familiar brands and locales in different regions just to see what’s different, what works, and what doesn’t.

Le Metro Restaurant

Solid presentation.
So at some point during the trip, we were starving, as it tends to happen. We were in this area on our last day together for some reason; it’s near Notre-Dame but we weren’t visiting that, so maybe it was before we went to Jardin du Luxembourg. Doesn’t matter, who cares, the reason we chose this place was because it looked welcoming and had a sign out front that said they have air conditioning. There really wasn’t much to this place, like, it seemed like a rather standard restaurant cafe thing that served normal types of food, where you can sit and talk, and people-watch. A little on the expensive side for being as mediocre as it was, but it’s a pretty primetime spot near a bustling area in the middle of one of the planet’s most admired cities. I got the fish & chips because I didn't want a hamburger, but all I remember is that the fries came in its own little fryer basket and were REALLY good. I also got a hot chocolate, which was true to the French recipes, basically being a brick of dark chocolate melted down into a thick and heavy goop with a teeny tiny bit of cream, with a cup of cream on the side to weaken it to your liking.
A little whimsy~
The menu is a little catered towards tourists (i.e. Americans), and is thus not the most Frenchy of French cuisines; this detail is something that has earned this restaurant an absurdly low rating from foodies on rating sites but like guys, come on, come onnnn, you all know where the most fashionable food places are around, where to get the local specialties and delicacies, do your research and see this place for what it is and not critique it on the standard of what you decided it should be. You don’t go to Waffle House and complain they don’t have chicken alfredo, do you? The menus of these places are pretty much always displayed out front before you even sit down so you can see if there’s anything you want and if the prices are acceptable so it’s just entirely baffling how so many of these people decided that this was the place they wanted to eat at and then got upset at what was offered; heck, that’s entirely why we chose this place over the dozen more in eyesight. Our service was fine, and I take it by the bulk of these reviews that the bad service reflected a sour disposition and unruly expectations. “So here it is: On food alone, this is 2.5 stars. The menu feels pedestrian and, despite having a lot of items, somehow manages to feel limited. You'll eat the food here, and you may even like it. But this is PARIS. I wanted better.” Come on, guys.

It’s a place to eat food when you’re hungry and not looking for an adventure. I left full, had a good drink, enjoyed my time with family, and took in the atmosphere. That’s all a restaurant really needs to be.

Factory & Co

The menu looks quite American, but the cold cases screams Paris.

Apparently a really fancy chain of New York diner-inspired food and coffee shop, filled with all kinds of gourmet burgers and desserts with a really trendy and hyped up foodie vibe, you know, the ones that put the bulk of their startup budget into buying fonts for their overworked logo and graphics. I don’t know or care about any of that, though, because we stopped by here while crawling towards some semblance of shade after the disaster that was Jardin du Luxembourg, and like a dream come true we saw a place that offered ice cream that also did not have a line wrapped around the block like the other ice cream place down the road did. I got a peanut butter milkshake, paid probably more than I should’ve for it, but it saved my life in that absolutely brutal heat, and was the only positive action I had with that whole little adventure.

Some kind of pub we found because we were starving

I have no idea what the name of this place was because for some reason I have no record of it in my financial statements and I can’t find anything on maps, but it was just some kinda restaurant we found because my brothers were looking for a sports bar or pub because some kind of important soccer game was on.
If only you could smell pictures.
It was down a side road a bit heading away from Arc de Triomphe towards where it stopped feeling as important of a boulevard. The waitress was heavily pregnant and couldn’t speak English not even a single bit, so you could just tell that this was an authentic French sports pub. The server was very lovely and absolutely tried her best to get through the language barrier. I’ve included this section because I feel it’s good to take the time to try out an authentic local-centric restaurant to just get a completely gimmick-free experience. What can happen to you, though, is what happened to us. You see, my one brother got some really good roasted chicken dish that he saw had “AAAAA” next to it, not knowing that it meant it was the signifier of an official authetic sausage dish. So, when we got to this place, he saw “Andouillette AAAAA” and thought it was just gonna be a really good Cajun-style Andouille sausage, which is a completely different thing. Turns out Andouillette is a coarse-grained sausage made from pork intestines and other chunky entrails, complete with what was left behind in them. The incredibly sweet and perfect waitress came by without any concern about his selection because why should she, it’s a national favorite that every restaurant serves? So there she plops a plate of what’s basically a plastic-wrapped turd, and the stench just wafted into everyone’s noses immediately. Not to be a stinker about the whole thing, he wanted to just give it a try, but upon cutting it open it unleashed an even more foul stench that almost killed us all. My other brother, not wanting anything to do with it, covered it with another plate and placed it on another completely separate table, which drove my anxiety to levels I had not experienced since any actual trauma. The waitress came by to check and mustered enough English to ask what was wrong. My brother made the international face and hand gesture combo that it stunk, and she took that as the quality was bad and looked a little shocked and ashamed, until we were like ‘it’s not you, we just didn’t know what we were ordering and did not exactly expect to be served hot feces’. She took the dish away and we meekly finished eating, paid, tipped well, and got out of there. Upon getting back to the hotel, we looked up what it was, only to discover that it’s at the top of basically every Do Not Try In France food list. I, myself, got an omelette with a salad and it was mostly ok.

She thought we were Dutch, somehow, after we said we were from New York, so when we were absolutely disgusted with the food at least we spared America at least just one transgression.

Crêperie Suzette

Impressed that such a tight space still managed to feel personal.
My brother and I kinda just fell into this hole-in-the-wall place in Marais because we were starving and for some reason he just absolutely refused to even consider any of the falafel and whatever places.
Clock that can of tea we had to pour into a glass ourselves and still cost €4.50
He saw the word “crêpe” and the deal was sealed. As you can see here, air conditioning is advertised and the complete menus are visible before even entering. I did appreciate the seating, which was still the common stool/bench combo lined up all next to each other, but it still felt somewhat private. Prices were on par with crêpes elsewhere, and the drinks mostly had the courtesy of being under €5. I opted to get one of their specials for the day, Galette Elzevir, a basically-crêpe with emmental cheese, onions, bacon, cream, and a basil sauce finish. It sure was a crêpe! It tasted like one and satisfied me for a meal, what else can I say. There is a technical difference between a galette and a crêpe, “The French are very particular over the distinction between a galette and a crepe and one should never be called the other. Crepes are usually made with wheat flour and served with a sweet filling, while galettes are made with buckwheat flour. Typically, crepes are smaller in size than Breton galettes, partly since they tend to be enjoyed for dessert (galettes are served as a main meal).” The menu did reflect this, with galettes being a heavier price around €10-12 each, all with savory meat fillings, with all of the crêpes being cheaper around €7 and being sweet, sugary, and fruity. So anyways it was a savory crêpe for anyone keeping track. If you’re visiting France, the distinction varies depending on region and who you’re even talking to, anyways, so whatever, if you’re confused just either make sure you’re OK with any option or that the menu has pictures. Crêperie Suzette is a pretty solid place to get a genuine French standard in a deep cultural part of town.

Indiana Café

Kinda want these for my own dining room decor.
Located near Place de la Bastille, near where we were staying, is this kitschy American Tex-Mex Mexican Whatever restaurant. We went here because it was on our path back home and looked busy enough to indicate that it wasn’t total crap, but not so busy that it would be too long of a wait or just simply irritating. Being a Tex-Mex restaurant, they serve burgers, quesadillas, nachos, wings, nuggets, basically all the same nonsense every other chain restaurant here serves.
Familiarity, I guess.
Prices were fairly cheap, much less than other restaurants around and also just cheap relative to the same menu items you can get in the States, except for all of the drinks, of course. Sprite was €6, a bottle of water like €5, bottles of beer and glasses of wine either on par or just slightly more expensive, so I just got a Sprite alongside the cheat code carafe of free ice water and dealt with it. It was also bizarrely hot in there, having none of the air conditioning they said they did and instead just rickety metal fans that we physically got up and moved to point at us just to survive. What intrigued me the most was its absolutely bizarre wall art and decorations, meant to evoke some kind of vague ideal of wild west aesthetics and southwest flair, but just ended up being some wicked cool signage like "USA EAT USA 666 USA DIE" and a target around Alabama with stenciled lettering "Just as in the anatomy of man, every nation must have its hind part". Eventually it hit me, these are all some sort of theme, it must be some kind of art project. Lo and behold, Robert Indiana and some pieces critiquing the Confederacy and various pieces evoking American stereotypes. My favorite was the Hope painting that was reflected in on itself in a way that just made it look like it was PEE and POOP. This art history detail seems to be completely lost on various local Indiana state newspapers, but I don’t blame them because the cheekiness of it all is so thin that it can easily just be some Frenchies missing the entire point just for aesthetic appeal. I guess we’ve had it coming, but leave the poor Native Americans out of it.

I got the fish & chips again because, honestly, if I try to avoid getting burgers even here and not on vacation because they’re kind of just boring and expensive for what they really are, I’m absolutely not going to get it while in Europe. It tasted alright, standard fish & chips, but there was just not really anything else on the menu that felt too cultured. I guess that’s what its draw is: to be a place of familiarity and comfort to tourists who might either be overwhelmed or confused with how different everything may be, and maybe just don’t want to accidentally order a turd sausage by mistake again.

Les Spécialités

Throughout Paris there are many more specialty food shops than anyone can handle. I wanted to visit them all and buy all kinds of things, but being limited by time and money and the patience and single-mindedness of travel partners resulted in me just venturing into places that fell in our direct path to somewhere else. There were definitely a few more we went to, but this set is what stood out to me for various reasons.


Same as the one I visited in NYC, but had much more aggressive salespeople; not in the sense of pushing sales, but rather pushing people out of the store. Upon walking in absolutely none of the staff seemed even fake-interested in being there, and mostly just sneered at every customer with a level of standoffishness that surpassed even comedic proportions for Paris. My shoelace came untied so I sat down on a step really quick to get to it, and as I did that I saw some older dude who appeared to be some kind of manager tell some lady who appeared to be high-level floor worker something, then she quickly came over to me and said something in French like “Sorry, if you are not shopping, you cannot be here”. Like, ok, I had stuff in a basket I was going to get but now I feel awkward and don’t want to give your crappy overpriced shop any business. I can get pasta and sauce anywhere else at half the price, and your shop doesn’t even have that many cool knickknacks, just a big pretentious restaurant. I would’ve liked to check out their prepared foods and huge cheese case a bit more, as that seemed at least a fraction more interesting than their entire sales floor of regular dry pantry items that anyone can get at any local deli, but I can just get that at a place that’s marginally less ostentatious. Not worth going to unless you want to live out your Twitter findom roleplaying in reality.

Les Boulangeries et Pâtisseries

Can't say I ever felt so comfortable anywhere else.

Pretty much all the same when you really get down to it, with the only variance that was notable being the ones in Marais having a very strong Jewish cultural presence that influenced the kinds of products they offered, or like the one I visited, Legay Choc, which features an astounding array of gay culture inspirations such as their la baguette magique which I caution your viewership around conservative parents and coworkers for phallic reasons. Otherwise, throughout the city, every bakery pretty much offered the same assortment of items in a pretty similar setup that I would consider it difficult to tell them apart unless you specifically set out to find The Best Parisian Bakery according to some blogger or listicle. Not much to say here other than acknowledging just the sheer quantity of these, you can find one literally on every corner, they absolutely blanket the entire city, apparently 30,000 of them. Almost a primordial call to your inner self, you simply cannot start the day in Paris without getting one of the staples: a fresh croissant, pain au chocolat, or baguette. None of these are really that spectacular in terms of variety or pizazz, but they’re just like, I don’t know, something to bring warmth to you. Ignore every attempt to point you to the best place, all that really matters is if one is just absolutely awful, and you can easily tell that by if one just has no one there, and that the place should be called a ‘boulangerie’ at all in the first place as there’s a legal mandate that to be called one that the bread must be made on site. If you see a bakery or pastry shop just bustling with people (barring a global pandemic, of course), then you know they’ve got something good. The only difficulty I had were a few instances where the person at the counter just knew literally no English at all combined with their display having no labels, but that can be easily overcome by the traditional greet, point, and nod. Otherwise, I did not enter a boulangerie that didn’t feel like it helped slow down time during a busy day, and feel comfortable. This article is incredibly useful in helping identify what things are even what, as well as this one which gives you things to say, because there’s just so many minute differences in each item that may not be readily noticeable to someone who hasn’t immersed their entire life in the culture. No need to study up or memorize, but it’s at least good to attempt to be familiar as you don’t want to be standing like a lump in everyone’s way. Also, keep in mind that many might not even be open on Mondays.

Le Comptoir de Mathilde

Kinda seemed like it was designed by amusement park artists.

A chain chocolaterie that is set up with the whimsical spirit of a traditional mom & pop candy shop located in dimly lit wing of your local mall that has yet to find a business willing to take over the spot Sears has left abandoned, but not unlike the fancy little olive oil gift shops you can find in quaint little fully gentrified upper middle class towns. It’s a rather high end fine food shop, self named as an Épicerie Fine, that sells all kinds of handmade chocolate treats and sugary sweets, as well as branded fancy mustards, olive oils, liqueurs, and gift sets. The whole atmosphere felt warm and welcoming, reminding me of places in my childhood where we would go to get some hand-crafted specialty chocolates for holidays, like those big chocolate Easter bunnies and the wide assortment of fun chocolate shapes cast from molds. It’s a shame that these places aren’t, or don’t feel, as ubiquitous as they once were, as the small town ones either ran out of business or were matured into higher end luxury destination shops as the whole designer cupcake trend swept the nation that forsook their $2 chocolate heart lollipops for $18 bags of a handful of stale popcorn gently drizzled with merely the concept of chocolate. While Le Comptoir de Mathilde is definitely the latter of those, they at least had the courtesy to maintain the aesthetic and charm, albeit foregoing the buzzing fluorescent lights with trendy track lighting and lamps.

We went to the one just south of Notre-Dame on Rue de la Huchette, a cramped little side street completely filled with a mix of tourist shops, bars, and mostly gyro restaurants that were all a lovely mix of top-of-the-line designer and bottom barrel flea bins, mostly because we were just wandering, it was there, and I went inside.

Marché Bastille

Too bad I had no idea what anything was.
Unsure of the local customs, I didn't know if I could touch the food myself or ask for help.
On my way over to the museum on my last day, I really had no other plan but to just take the métro there and see what’s up. To my grand surprise all of the mysterious structures lining Boulevard Richard-Lenoir, stretching from the Bréguet-Sabin station all the way down to Place de la Bastille right outside my hotel was a very large outdoor market. Open Thursday and Sunday 7am-2:30pm, Marché Bastille appeared unexpectedly, fulfilling one of my personal goals in Paris that I just otherwise was unable to achieve. Not unlike any decently-sized farmers market you can find in any American city and suburb, it was lined with vendors selling all kinds of stuff, from clothes, jewelry, handbags, tons of fresh produce, but what stood out specially was quite a few each of fresh fish vendors, olives, cheese shops, meat, and baked goods, all of that latter set taking up a majority of the spaces laid out. If you dig around through Google Maps like I do, you can immerse yourself in it at least until they update the entries. Rather than American farmers markets, which end up being more county fair-esque in terms of their vendors selling knick-knacks, art, small batch artisan sauces, numerous large businesses handing out information brochures, politicians shilling for votes, and overpriced food trucks all appealing to an affluent Whole Foods-type of customer, this market seemed to be made for and filled with customers looking to do actual food shopping, direct from farmers and craftsmen without the middleman grocery store. There’s also an incredible variety of produce and food in general, representing a bunch of local farms and artisans, as well as international tastes that are all not as widely represented, or even available, in any grocery store around.

Overwhelmed with food choices, and disheartened at the timing of it all with my flight back home in just about 18 hours, all I really ended up doing was ogling all of the variety, and buying a couple baguettes, cookies, and some cheese in hope that I could store some in a refrigerated bag and that the cargo hold on the plane would be cold enough. A true Parisian outdoor market is a must for any trip here, and be sure to hit it both early in your vacation and early in the day. There are plenty more out there, and I recommend doing research on which one to go to because not all of them offer the same things, are open at the same times, or are as easily accessible to an English-speaking tourist base, but within all that Marché Bastille is one of, if not the, largest one around, centrally located, and incredibly accessible. I encourage you to go find other blogs that do a better job of detailing this than I did thanks to actually knowing what they were getting into instead of just stumbling upon it in a daze. Oh, what I would do to go back here with all of the cheese knowledge I have now that I didn’t then...

Many places have minimum spending totals to authorize the use of a credit card, particularly at the outdoor markets, but just anywhere else at all that isn’t a big brand shopping center. Simply look around for signage that indicates what that may be, or ask "quel est le montant minimum pour une carte de crédit?" if you’re feeling confident enough in your linguistic abilities. Or, you can do what most people (i.e. me) do and just fumble around saying “minimum? minimum?” on repeat while waving your credit card around because you forgot how to words.

I leave you with this terrifying vision of drink prices.
Overall, a meal is not what I got in Paris. There were a couple of gems, but nothing that really filled me up to completion and protruding bellies, a fact that did not escape my family traveling with me as being unable to find a decent filling meal that was actually good for a reasonable price was a breaking point for them to not want to visit Paris again, but they also didn’t exactly find much value in the things I did and instead placed more merit into sight-seeing. Maybe I should’ve shelled out some extra cash to go to a world-renowned, or at least listicle-worthy place, and I could’ve gotten a meal that carried over at least until I got back to the hotel so I wouldn’t have to make a last minute trip to the Franprix to get snacks. Ultimately, though, I picked at a little bit of food here and there, sampling what I could, and gorging myself on all kinds of breads and baked goods, and honestly what else are you in Paris for if not to eat twice your bodyweight in fresh croissants?

Thank you to 2257 (talk) for providing artwork for this month's review!

Bon, mangeons! Also, tell me what to review next! You can tell me to do can also be movies, shows, physical actions, trying new foods, music, literally anything and I’ll cover it eventually if it’s not too ridiculous. Just send me a message here on my talk page or PM it to me on the forum. Don't like what I have to say? That's fine, and probably bound to happen because I've been told about how much people like Super Mario 64 and how they feel about any criticism of it! We at Critic Corner will welcome your alternate review of it as a new section for the next issue!

The 'Shroom: Issue 161
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