What to Eat when in Paris
I know the obvious- croissants, crepes, steak frites. But I would like to be adventurous and try as much as possible- especially things that are hard to find outside of Paris. I am looking for recommendations for anything from breakfast, lunch dinner or just snacks. Note: I will try almost anything, but hate cheese and pork of any kind, and am on a budget.
Well, I was there a couple years ago, and also in college. What I really remember in college was the red lentil salad--so simple with so few ingredients and yet delicious! I am still trying to find a recipe/similar salad here.
Of course, baguettes--not the fancy breads, but the every day. My daugher, her friend and I could eat, each one a day when we went a a couple years ago--it doesn't get better than that daily fresh long loaf.
Pate--any and all are wonderful, along with inexpensive red wines--from my memory the bread, wine and pate are the essence of Paris!
Rue du Mouffetard has a world class market of the most beautiful foods to watch, buy, admire--please take your time and get there--the fruits, roasted chickens, seafood, are achingly beautiful and and delicious---my dream is to get an apartment in walking distance and dine on the market's bounty.
Let's start with the snacks. Wherever you go in Paris, you can find a boulangerie or patisserie in the immediate vicinity. When you are ready for a snack, just duck in and choose something that looks good. Maybe a miniature quiche or a single slice of a larger quiche. Or perhaps a pastry (I just love pain au raisin). If you are a little more hungry, a sandwich with pate or with French ham might hit the spot (some boulangeries make sandwiches, too). For ice cream, be sure to try Berthillon. They have the most amazing flavors.
You said that you hate cheese. Too bad because the cheeses available in France are divine. If you hate cheese but like other dairy products, be sure to drink some milk and get some butter. Both are much richer and more flavorful than what you get in the U.S.
Oysters seem to taste better in Paris than anywhere else (except maybe Seattle). There are huge oyster beds in Brittany so the mollusks in Paris are very fresh.
Wine, of course, is something to enjoy while you are in Paris. A wine bar is a good place to try a few different kinds and you can get an inexpensive meal, too. I like Jacques Melac's wine bar near the Bastille.
Try to find a way to manage your budget so you can splurge on one great meal. Dining in Paris is a wonderful experience. There are many places where you can get a really terrific meal for about 40Euros.
Have a great trip.
being the large city that it is, paris gives you a nice opportunity to try specialties from the other regions. i find meals in europe very affordable for the quality of product sold. as purplescout mentioned, breakfast and lunch are easy to keep lower in cost. for dinners many places offer pre-fixed menus which are very good.
I would encourage you to experiment with cheese, OK what you have experienced in the past may have put you off, but French cheese is spectacular. Even if you don't like "cows" cheese then try goats (Cherve) or sheeps (Brebis) cheese. Even the range of cows cheese can be a revelation from the soft and creamy St Felician to the hard Compte.
Not liking pork can also limit you, France has great Charcuterie, but much of it uses pork as a base. So even a game terrine or pate will have a pork content (obviously tricky if you avoid pork for religious reasons). However, again it is good to experiment. French charcuterie is broad based and you could easily find you like something you did not expect to.
As others have said oysters are great (plus the other seafood in Brasseries), duck and pinterde (guinea fowl) are all good. A good bet for lunch is to order salad and/or an omelet, both quite simple but also quite parisian.
If you are o a budget go for the set meal (Formula) when you go out. Often these can cost around €20 for three courses - especially if you head off the tourist trail. Most of the lunch menu's are designed for for office workers who typically have a large meal for lunch.