Tame the Hot Potato: Craig from Breakfast in America

By 11 December 2017 Video lessons 4 Comments
breakfast in America

Hey there, and welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll have fun becoming fluent in American English. Today is a special Tame the Hot Potato episode! Yay!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. So if you don’t know what Tame the Hot Potato is, basically it’s a spontaneous, unscripted conversation between me and another person, often British or American, but not always.

In these conversations you hear real natural conversations, modern expressions, and you learn the real English the way that we speak it in the real world.

With these Tame the Hot Potato videos, you also get a script, and a comprehension worksheet if you’re subscribed to my email list, because it’s like an extra bonus to say thank you for my special subscribers.

Now in today’s Tame the Hot Potato episode, you’re gonna meet Craig. And Craig is the creator and the owner of an American diner in Paris called Breakfast in America. The first time I went to his diner, it was in January of 2017. I wanted to go to his restaurant, I’d read about it on the Internet and in magazines, things like that.

I wanted to go and test it, and we organized to meet, just to, you know, to meet, two Americans in Paris, what do they do? They meet for breakfast. And I went to his restaurant, I found that it was absolutely fantastic. It’s the best American breakfast I’ve had in Europe since I’ve been here.

And you know, I thought that this would be a perfect video for you guys to introduce you to American breakfast.

We’re talking about:

  • Typical American breakfast food
  • Why he created an American breakfast diner in Paris, which already has a lot of very good food how Parisians reacted to the food
  • Six different ways to order eggs in English, so some very practical vocabulary
  • Craig’s suggestion of the best thing to order at his restaurant

This is your chance to meet Craig, to learn a little more about breakfast in America, and to also work on understanding conversations between two Americans, speaking like they have a hot potato in their mouth.

Alright, let’s get into that conversation! And the full script is below the video.

CHRISTINA: Hi, this is Christina from Speak English with Christina. And I’m really excited because we’re here today in Paris at the American diner, Breakfast in America, which is located in the Latin Quarter of Paris. And as you can see, it’s like a real, authentic American diner. And we’re here with Craig, who is the owner and the creator of it. Craig, can you just maybe introduce yourself?

CRAIG: Yes, hello, I’m Craig. And like she said, I’m the owner of Breakfast in America. We just celebrated our 14th anniversary yesterday, so we’ve been here for a little while now.

CHRISTINA: Oh right, right.

CRAIG: Yeah.

CHRISTINA: How did you get the idea of creating an American breakfast diner in Paris, ’cause it’s totally not what you would imagine finding in Paris.

CRAIG: Right. Well first I have to go back to my first time in France, I came over as a student.


CRAIG: And I studied here for a year, and I loved it so much, I never wanted to go back. And I ended up coming over here for a job, and I worked on it for a year. And I just wanted to live here, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. And then I went back to the states. My friends took me to a breakfast joint because I hadn’t had an American breakfast in a whole year.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, right.

CRAIG: And the minute I saw my breakfast, my pancakes, my eggs and ham steak, home fries, I was like, oh my God, the one thing I missed when I was in Paris.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, right.

CRAIG: And then it just hit me, I was like oh my gosh, the one thing I missed in Paris. And that’s when I had the idea. It literally hit me like that, like a lightning bolt.

CHRISTINA: It was like, I have to do this.

CRAIG: I have to do this. Even though I never had a restaurant, I’ve never had my own business, nevermind do it in a foreign country with a foreign language.

CHRISTINA: You know, do it. That’s always fun.

CRAIG: Yeah, why not?

CHRISTINA: Why make it easy when you can really give yourself a big challenge?

CRAIG: Exactly, yeah.

CHRISTINA: And so, what’s the reception been like? Have people liked it? Have people complained, oh that’s American food, what’s it been like?

CRAIG: It’s evolved over the years, the reception’s evolved over the years. In the beginning, it was mainly American ex-pats that were coming in, and also tourists.

CHRISTINA: Okay, yeah.

CRAIG: And then slowly we started becoming discovered by the French, or Americans would bring their French friends to show them what breakfast is, and other things.

And then slowly it started turning, we started getting more and more French students, because we’re near the universities. We’re near Sorbonne and Jussieu.

And in the beginning I just served breakfast. And it wasn’t until the French customers kept saying, when are you going to have a real hamburger?

CHRISTINA: Oh, yeah right, that’s it.

CRAIG: ‘Cause I knew that was the stereotype of our food.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, yeah.

CRAIG: And I didn’t want the stereotype.


CRAIG: And so you can thank the French for introducing the hamburger to our diner.

CHRISTINA: Thank you, French.

CRAIG: Yes. So yeah, so now it’s about 70 percent French, 30 percent American. There really hasn’t been, you know, very little of anything like, why have an American joint here? I thought there would be more. I really did.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, good.

CRAIG: But I think it’s because it’s not a chain, it’s a real place, a neighborhood place.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, exactly. It’s a small business. And I think people respect that. Because you’ve created your thing and it’s very good, and they enjoy that. So tell us a little bit about the typical American breakfast, like what would people eat for breakfast.

CRAIG: Well it depends, if you like the salty or the savory, or the sweet. I tend to like both, but not at the same time. We were discussing that earlier.


CRAIG: I don’t like my maple syrup touching my sausage or eggs.

CHRISTINA: Sausage and maple syrup.

CRAIG: So technically, usually, of course, eggs is almost always part of the breakfast.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, exactly.

CRAIG: And make them in the form of an omelet, or scrambled, or sunny side. That’s been fun, teaching the French the different versions of it.

CHRISTINA: The different ways of doing eggs.

CRAIG: Yes. ‘Cause I’ll ask them, how do you want your eggs? And they’ll just stare at me.

CHRISTINA: Uh, omelet?

CRAIG: Yeah, I’ll run through, give four or five choices. Usually their friend will say, just get that.

CHRISTINA: So you got, for eggs, you got scrambled.

CRAIG: Scrambled. Over easy.

CHRISTINA: Over easy.

CRAIG: Over medium.


CRAIG: Over hard.


CRAIG: Sunny side up.

CHRISTINA: Sunny side up, okay.

CRAIG: And we’d love to do poached, but we don’t have the facilities for that.

CHRISTINA: I don’t know, Americans, do they do the poached eggs?

CRAIG:  Well, their eggs Benedict or something like that.

CHRISTINA: Okay, yeah.

CRAIG:  But no. But I get occasionally, I’d say once a week, someone asks me about the poached.

CHRISTINA: Okay, yeah. And so if somebody comes into your restaurant, one of your restaurants, ’cause you have three, right?

CRAIG: Yeah.

CHRISTINA: What would you recommend that they get? If you had to choose one dish, what would it be?

CRAIG: I think it would probably be the 2x2x2, the Deuces Wild, because it has pancakes, which is our trademark. It’s what we’re known for here. And then it has your eggs, and it has sausage or bacon. Because bacon was one of the hardest things for me to find here, real bacon.

CHRISTINA: Which is really good.

CRAIG: And so for Americans who are homesick for that kind of thing, it’s great. And for French who don’t know the American-style bacon, it’s great as well. And then the sausage choice as well, which is nice. And then after that I would say, probably my Big Mess, which is the scrambled, has everything in it.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, so good.

CRAIG: ‘Cause you get a little piece of everything inside.

CHRISTINA: The two things that he just mentioned, the Deuces Wild and the Mess, is what we had for breakfast this morning. So I’ll put a photo as well, so that guys can actually see what it looks like, because it’s really good. This is the best breakfast I’ve had in like, 13 years of living in France.

CRAIG: Sorry, I have to mention, too, the maple syrup situation, because in the beginning French people would be, “What, you want me to put this, this–?”

CHRISTINA: “What do I do with this?”

CRAIG: Yeah. “You want me to put this, this very sugary thing on top of my crepe?”

CHRISTINA: Yeah, right. And you’re like,”It’s not a crepe, it’s a pancake.”

CRAIG: Exactly. And so now it’s been great to see French just like, “Give it to me.”

CHRISTINA: Awesome, awesome. Great. So just two things is that Craig actually wrote a book this year, called Pancakes in Paris. Which I’ve read, I loved. And it’s a very good and a very easy read. So a good way to practice your English. And it’s a fantastic story.

And there are three restaurants, Breakfast in America, in Paris. So I’ll put the links in the notes below the video so that you guys can check it out. And definitely, if you want to have a real American breakfast, definitely come and check out Breakfast in America. Alright.

CRAIG:  And you get to practice your English here, too.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, exactly, ’cause everybody speaks English. So you can practice your English, which is brilliant. Alright, thanks a lot, Craig. It was a pleasure.

CRAIG: Great, it was a pleasure. Same for me.

CHRISTINA: Yeah, alright. So that’s it. I hope that you enjoyed our Hot Potato conversation.

And also, if you are a subscriber on my Speak English with Christina e-mail list, last week you saw that we’re having a special breakfast, in Paris, and it’s gonna be at this place, at Breakfast in America.

So that also gives you a little introduction to Craig, to the place where we’re gonna have breakfast. And I’m just looking forward to seeing you there if you are planning on joining us.

And if not, I hope that you enjoyed this Tame the Hot Potato episode, learning all about breakfasts in America.

Alright, thanks a lot, guys, and I’ll see you next week with a special Christmas episode. See you later, bye!

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