La vie en burrito

Romance is the subject of Woody Allen's latest Midnight in Paris. This is not uncharted territory for the auteur, who has been dining out on the bursting and blowing of romantic bubbles his entire career. Whether it's the love of a city, a woman or a zeitgeist, Allen has put his characters on a see-saw between illusion and disillusionment for four decades.

The movie opens on the misbegotten lovers Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams on holiday in Paris. He's enraptured with the city, besotted with the American-in-Paris expatriot literary heritage. She's bored and dismissive. We've seen this pair before, as early as Annie and Alvy in the frames of Annie Hall, and more recently in Melinda and Melinda and even Vicky Christina Barcelona. When the see-saw reaches its tipping point, the rose-colored glasses fall off and we see the other cast in the harshest of lights.

But here we are in a lovingly, sepia-tinted Paris, where our hero is transported back to Paris in the '20s and stumbles on a who's who of the avant garde--the Fizgeralds, Hemingway (in a hilarious comic turn by Corey Stoll), Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Djuna Barnes, Salvador Dali, a vertitable Vanity Fair Oscar Party circa 1927.

Allen's conceit here is exceptionally clever; old liberal arts majors and Paris-philes can sit in the theater feeling mighty smug when recognizing Alice B. Toklas, Cole Porter and Josephine Baker. Allen is as playful as a freshman; when Owen Wilson notices Gertrude Stein purchasing a Matisse for 500 francs, he says (aware of his life and position in the 21st century), "I'll take six."

There is a lot to be said for romance. Paris in the '20s was the icing on my cake for years. And years. Hell, it still is. But, as funny and pretty and full of wit as Midnight in Paris is, I wish the older Allen would push through his frosh year and show us something deeper. What happens when the see-saw rights itself and finds equilibrium, bouncing occasionally as it does from limerance to exasperation to wonder to getting the dishes washed?

Which brings me to the wash up after the Burrito Bonanza contest.

The giant All-American Hog Dogirrito was sunk by a sleek apple-dolce-de-leche wrap, a confection so pretty and luscious-sounding it makes me want to flush my green smoothies.

Vegan dolce de leche, which brings to mind Buenos Aires, and alfajores and sipping mate in the late morning, and tango. Romance is everywhere people. Even inside a burrito.


Above: Marion Cotilliard and Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris

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