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Apr 10, 2012 08:24 AM

Very finicky teen in Paris

Hi. My friend is going to Paris for 3 days with her finicky 15 year-old daughter. Her daughter only likes pasta, Chinese food, and anything fried. She is red meat averse but will eat chicken, shrimp or I think pork. Any suggestions will be very gratefully received.

Thanks! I know this is a tough one.

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  1. Does she eat bread? My patents always enjoyed picnicking on fresh bread and whatever else they could get from the cafe. Is it plain pasta only that she eats? Does she eat all preparations of chicken? There is likely a chicken dish as many restaurants.

    1 Reply
    1. re: melpy

      No, she seems to like pasta in all guises. I don't remember pasta on the menu at most places I went to. Do you know of any that has some pasta choices?

    2. Best advice is to ignore her foibles and choose places they want to eat. There will always be something on the menu for her, often a pasta, usually chicken and often prwans. But with restriction like that you can guarantee she will turn her nose up over carefully chosen options as much as a standard menu so better to choose something that is just good and trust she will find something.

      1. I agree with Phil that you should not be burdened by an eater with bad taste. One must not waste a trip to Paris that way. Stick to the good eateries and let the daughter wallow in her expected dissatisfaction.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Parigi

          Better yet, leave the daughter home. Paris is too good for her.

          1. re: jock

            A trip to Paris should be a reward for agreeing to grow up and stop torturing her parents.
            If she's going to be a pill, leaving her home would be ideal.
            La Coupole would be a worthwhile choice.
            It's beautiful. It's historic. It's vaguely kid friendly.
            There will be something there for her to eat, the atmosphere might distract her, and her folks will be able to eat something worthwhile.
            Maybe they can even get her to try an oyster.
            Take her to Georges on top of the Pompidou Museum (a great! museum) and sit on the patio outside.
            If she's bad, leave her there. :-)
            The food is not outstanding, but they'll have something for her.
            The view is spectacular, one of the best in the city.
            The "scene" would probably be interesting for a kid.
            Pouting models as waitresses etc. She'll fit right in.
            Pavillon Montsouris is beautifull and the food is good.
            The gorgeous surroundings might even inspire the child to try something new.
            None of these places are cheap.

        2. We took our kids (one picky, one who eats anything) to Paris a few years ago. The picky one, who was 12 at the time, fell in love with steak-frites and ordered it everywhere. He also adored the bread and croissants. If your friend is really desperate, there is a McD's on the Champs-Elysees, I am sorry to report. But your friend should know that it is there.

          For pasta restaurants, head over to the student area near Boulevard St Michel--lots of cheap places there with crepes, pasta and pizza. But for three days, the girl will live even if she only eats bread.

          I agree that it's not worth seeking out a place specifically to please her. Very likely, the version she gets will be different from what she has at home, so it's best just to find a place with a broad enough menu to give some options for her to choose.

          If the teen is friendly and smiley (rather than sullen), the wait staff and cooks will go out of their way to please her. One cook even brought my son back into the kitchen, gave him a dish of Turkish delight, and told bring it back out to our table. We got so many free tidbits on that trip from servers coaxing our son to eat that we called him our "token cute boy" and offered to rent him out to our friends traveling to foreign countries.

          1. I am reminded of a 5 week trip to Greece, Italy and Britain with our picky 13 year old. He quickly learned how to say "roast chicken" in Greek and Italian, and moreover learned how to bone out a half chicken in minutes. Nothing like advanced hunger to speed the learning process!

            The worst meal of his trip was a 'hamburger' in a hotel dining room in London when he was served seared meatloaf between two slices of bread.