on December 2, 2012
Considering the long-standing accusations of cultural imperialism that many French aim at America, it is perhaps surprising that American imagery is so popular in France. You cannot pass a furniture store - unless it is Ikea - that does not sell black and white photos of New York or movie posters featuring James Dean. There are swathes of reproduction Americana to be seen in bars and homes across the country. With such tastes in France, it is not at all surprising that Lily's In St Paul de Vence does a roaring trade. Despite being set in a small cottage in a small town in the foothills of the Alps, it is decked out like an American diner from the 1950s.Upon entering Lily's you are greeted by a series of large booths with plastic topped tables, vinyl coated seats and a mini jukebox close to the wall. Sadly, the jukeboxes are purely for show and when we visited the only music on offer was French pop on the radio. There are, of course, all the photos you would expect of movie stars: James Dean and Marilyn Monroe feature prominently. Alongside these are several 1950s posters advertising coke and other products. There is a truly fantastic small advertisement for Red Rock Cola featuring Babe Ruth. To crown everything off, the menu is written on a large chalk-board that covers one whole wall.The decor at Lily's certainly cuts the American mustard, but how about the food. I was a little undecided here. I ordered a cheeseburger and my mother had a spicy chicken burger. These cost 4.90Euro and 6.90Euro respectively. In the South of France, these are not unreasonable prices. At other places that serve burgers you would easily expect to pay 12Euro for a cheeseburger. When we received our orders we quickly saw that we had got what we paid for. Our burgers came aloud on a bare plate - a plate decorated with 50s Pop Art. There was no salad, no garnish, nothing. We had the option of French Fries, but these would have cost and extra 4Euros.So, we have established that the burger looked rather solitary and isolated in nature. But, what of its size and of its flavour. I must confess that its dimensions confused me. The bus was a good healthy size and the patty was nice and side. However, it frighteningly thin. The salad that was on it was also rather sparse. Thankfully, what it lacked in dimensions it made up for in taste. It was well cooked and the cheese melted nicely onto the meat. My mother faced similar size issues as her chicken burger was less than gigantic. But, she also thought it was rather good.Eating at Lily's was a difficult experience to define. The portion size was disappointing, but the actual taste was good as was the restaurant's style and decor. Two burgers and drinks cost us a reasonable 20 Euros.
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