No sweetbreads or pigs feet please!

Old Aug 3rd, 1999, 06:29 PM
  #1  
Robin
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No sweetbreads or pigs feet please!

I hate to sound like a picky eater but I guess I am one. Please tell me, am I the only person on this website who could gag at the thought of eating sweetbreads, pigs feet, fried pigeon, frogs legs, pate, etc?
Last night, when I was reading the restaurant recommendations in Fodor's and Frommers for Paris, every recommendation for the best restaurants seemed to have some kind of organ meat as their specialty. I know Europe eats a lot more organ meat than many of us do in the States but, can someone please recommend a restaurant in Paris that will be nice but have more "American" type of food. Basic steak, fish, pasta would be fine. I hope I'm not offending anyone out there by not wanting to try many of their delicacies but, I guess I'm not a very adventureous eater.

Thanks!!

Robin
 
Old Aug 3rd, 1999, 06:59 PM
  #2  
Dayle
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Robin, the restaurants will have plenty of selections that you'll like. Just because they serve pate, doesn't mean that's all they have. PS: Frogs legs are good and no I don't like pate either.
 
Old Aug 3rd, 1999, 10:32 PM
  #3  
Donna
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You'll find every specialty imaginable in Paris, along with fine seafood. We had the most amazing roast chicken with incredible mashed potatoes. While some restaurants have English translations printed on their menus (mostly in the heavily touristed areas), many do not. So, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself (with a good food glossary, not the limited list found in the back of most tour guides) with the French terms for items you enjoy and especially items you would not. Just because you know "veau" means veal, doesn't mean you won't receive the brains, liver or worse! I, personally, can't imagine stewing an adorable bunny.(Anyone remember the episode of Dave's World when the French au pair cooked the family pet?)
 
Old Aug 3rd, 1999, 10:33 PM
  #4  
Donna
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PS See www.top-restaurants.com
 
Old Aug 3rd, 1999, 11:35 PM
  #5  
wendy
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I'm sure this is a generational thing, but I could never eat frog legs because of the Muppet Movie.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 01:01 AM
  #6  
Vincent
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Whether you like it or not, EVERY piece of meat that lands on your plate used to be part of a live animal's body. So, I don't see the point in refusing to eat rabbit while devouring beef or lamb. Have you ever seen a little lamb ? Ain't that cute ? And the gentle look of a nice cow grazing in the fields ? Do you think about it when you are having your T-bone ? So, please, let's drop that squeaky clean sentimentality, and never forget that, as vegetarians put it (and I am not of them), we are eating "corpses".
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 03:42 AM
  #7  
Valerie
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Robin, I wholeheartedly agree! I think it is not a question of eating specifically what was alive at one time, ie, chicken, beef, etc, but more of an organ type meat. I agree that the thought of eating things we are not used to is just plain horrible. I myself only can eat white chicken meat, everything else to me is terrible in taste (meat-wise). I find that I loose a few pounds when I travel because I only eat salads. I learn the word for salad in different languages! As adventuresome and aggressive in spirit as I am, when it comes to food, I am a big picky whimp!
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 03:59 AM
  #8  
Tracy
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Bravo Vincent!

In this post-mad cow world, about 20% of Brits are now vegetarian. But for us omnivores, let's get over the hypocrisy!

Meat & animal products have been sanitized down to neat cuts enclosed in plasic & styrofoam packages. There's no connection to the animal on the hoof. I say if we slaughter animals, let's use every little bit of them -- 'everything but the squeal.' Euro vacations are the best way to explore gastronomy . . . push the boat out, try something new!

My vegan friends filming in the former Soviet Union were laughed out of the shops when they asked for 'vegetarian' hats & boots (no fur or leather) -- of course, in January, they *had* to stump up for the superior animal-based products . . .

Pheasant in cider! Rabbit in mustard! Tripes a la mode de Caen! Bring it on, you know it makes sense!
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 04:42 AM
  #9  
dan woodlief
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Food is one of the real delights of travel for me. I will try just about anything once, but I will admit that organs are not that appetizing to me either Robin (except fried chicken livers). I have never tried tripe anywhere, not here at home in the southern U.S., not abroad in Europe, not down in Mexico, I will not eat tripe, I will not... And no raw hamburger either. However, I have eaten jellyfish, sauteed and raw eel, raw foie gras, escargot, and yes frog legs. I didn't think I would like frog legs either, but someone served them at a family get together and they were very good. Even my wife eats them, and she is a very picky eater. I know everyone's appetite is different, but I always plan to try some of the local favorites. The only thing I have ever almost died from was the Kirschwasser down in Freiburg (cherry brandy) - might as well drink jet fuel.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 05:00 AM
  #10  
s.fowler
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I'm sure much of the my aversion to organ meats is mental, and I *do* try to go with the local flow, but sometimes I appreciate familiar items in new preparations rather than exploratory cuisine

My "to-be-avoided" at all costs in the Hungarian medcinal liqueur Unicum. It was presented to me at breakfast by the father of our young hungarian friend. I had a immediate gag reflex -- but managed to be polite [and my young friend helped me dispose of the remains quietly.]That hungarians relish this ummm.... item... tells me worlds about their inner fortitude.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 05:10 AM
  #11  
Beth
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I always like to try everything when I get a chance, but I have to admit most organ meats don't appeal. But I do like pate. And I ate sauted baby eels at a tapas restaraunt once that were very tasty, although they looked like something a Klingon would eat (for Next Generation fans, they look just like "gakk" only they don't wiggle!)
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 05:45 AM
  #12  
Brian in Atlanta
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I agree with Vincent. But how far do we take it? How about dogs and cats?

Did anyone happen to see the Lonely Planet episode where the local delicacy was whole fried guinea pig? Now that would have been tough to dig into.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 06:02 AM
  #13  
martha python
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How many does a guinea pig serve? Can one buy guinea pig rinds as a snack?
I'm a pretty adventurous eater, but have avoided tripe because I imagine the texture would be creepy.
And I wouldn't eat dog beause I can think of better uses for most dogs. Except some terriers (sorry, had to after the Oz subthread).
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 06:04 AM
  #14  
elvira
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Don't worry, Robin, there's plenty to eat in Paris that's VERY familiar (where do you think we got franks and beans? French cassoulet!! Same ballpark, different leagues...). Donna's suggestion to get a good food translator is on the money; there's something called ABC's of xxxxx food - there was a post recently about it - which gives all the words. Highly recommend you get it.

I have eaten sweetbreads (and loved them), but I have gagged on kidney. I really wanted to eat it, but the taste was not acceptable to my taste receptors. Whether you prefer not to eat organ meats because of the thought or the taste, you don't have to in Paris. Oh and by the way, the French don't do American food the way you think. The steak is different (usually less tender and 'beefier' tasting); the hamburgers are DEFINITELY different (in a good way, too). Try boeuf bourgognone (geez, did I spell that right?) which is beef stew from heaven. Or cassoulet (ya like beans, doncha?). If you've had it with French food (just like you get tired of 'American' food at home), go Chinese. Moo goo gai pan is...moo goo gai pan! Ditto with Italian - the French make excellent pizza.
There are lots of seafood restaurants, so oysters and mussels are available. So's all sorts of fish (different varieties, but there's always salmon or tuna to fall back on). And a croque monsieur is a grilled cheese sandwich - which is kinda like saying Hank Aaron played ball.
Then, again, you could always eat desserts for every meal...
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 08:04 AM
  #15  
Mary
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There is always McDonalds and Pizza Hut.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 08:45 AM
  #16  
AJ
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If my kid, Taylor, eats something green or healthy at home, we all fall out of our chairs in disbelief. He could live forever on hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. But guess what? If you ask Tay to name his favorite meals, he'll name the following: (1) snails in Paris, (2) jerk pork in Jamaica, (3) needlefish in salsa in Zihuatenejo, (4) boar lasagna in Orvieto, and 5) artichokes in LA.

I don't think anyone should try menu items that are totally abhorrent to them, but one should be somewhat adventurous in a foreign country. I mean, isn't traveling mostly about food?
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 10:01 AM
  #17  
cherie
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Finally(the web's slooooow today):
I think the idea is to be flexible here. I would not suggest one do something that their religion or ethics prohibit. I have days that I want to be adventurous ones, where I will drink and eat mussels and Kreik(sp?), for example....and days where I will absolutely not eat mystery meat. In Barbizon once, we could not identify what we were ingesting and it was actually fun...We ordered "The Daubigny" meal and simply let the waiter bring us two different entree, appetizers, etc. It was fun to experiment that day. Another day in a downpour in Shanghai, I only wanted food I could indentify. We noticed there were NO DOMESTIC ANIMALS like cats and dogs there. We did not want the eel in blood sauce that day. Depends on our mood. Traveling means staying open to new experiences, but not without a care as to cleanliness of the kitchen, etc. It should be fun not grueling.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 02:45 PM
  #18  
Christina
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You've probably gotten the point that French restaurants have a variety of food--almost any brasserie or cafe serving meals will have some form of chicken, steak, saddle of lamb/lamb chops, and some form of beef is also very popular. I would avoid the very cheap "steak-frites" menus you will see at many cafes as the meat will be mostly gristle/fat if you pay little, but you can get a good steak in most restaurants /cafes. I don't hold the opinion that all French make good pizza; pizza in Nice and on the Riviera is good, but every pizza I've had in Paris has been execrable. Basically, any brasserie/ restaurant /bistro with the word "rotisserie" in its name will have a variety of roasted meat dishes. Some above-average such places are: Rotisserie du Beaujolais (19 quai de la Tournelle, 5th arr, owned or run by same guy as La Tour d'Argent, definitely not McDonald's fare)and Rotisserie d'en Face at 2 rue Christine, 6th arr. The Brasserie de l'Isle St-Louis is a safe choice (55 quai de Bourbon), they have steaks and other meat, and it's a nice location on the island. I like most organ meats myself, especially sauteed calves' liver, although there are some health concerns for perhaps avoiding some organs (ie, kidneys, lungs, heart) as I think they can potentially harbor some bad bacteria; kidneys also have a stronger, not always-liked flavor. Rabbits aren't cute; they are disgusting, mean, dirty animals that are better dead. Americans eat them, anyway, my brother-in-law in Vermont keeps them in the backyard and goes out back before work and rings a neck for dinner all the time; lots of people up there do that. Anyway, you'd probably like rabbit ok, it's fairly common in restaurants (lapin), tastes sort of like chicken. There are good ethnic restaurants in Paris that should suit you: Italian, Indian, Thai or Algerian (many cous-cous with various meat dishes), not to mention Alsatian cuisine which I find unappealing due to its fattiness and reliance on sausage-type meat, but guess some people like. Any Provencal restaurant will probably be a good choice with a variety of suitable dishes, and will probably have some type of salmon. Finally, in response to AJ, NO, traveling is NOT "mostly about food." There are many reasons for travel, food may or may not be one of them depending on your interests. I live in a major US city and if that were the main reason for travel, I could just stay at home and avoid the expense and time requirements and discomfort of 8-10 hr flights, etc(I mean that seriously) as there are many authentic ethnic restaurants in the city I live in. I live in Washington DC, where there are many ex-pat French people, lots authentic French restaurants run by French chefs; if that were the main reason to go to France, I'd stay home. I like a nice dinner, but it's no obsession of mine and I don't care that much about food, I travel for other reasons and simply eat when I am hungry and choose a place off-hand that is close by and looks good.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 03:46 PM
  #19  
Robin
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When I posted my original message I had no idea I was about to spawn such controversy. To those who enjoy all the delicacies the world has to offer, I think that's great but, quite frankly I have no desire to try many of the foods that have been discussed. That was the point of my message. All I really wanted to know was if there were nice restaurants that served good "normal" food as well as delicacies. I know McDonalds and Pizza Hut exist in almost every corner of the world but that's not what I was looking for.

Hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion and quite honestly I can't explain why I think it's okay to eat steak but I could gag at the thought of eating tripe, heart, liver, intestines, pigeon, etc. If I die having never experienced those foods, I still feel that I will have lived a full life. Hey, to each their own.

In between the debates I do appreciate those who have made suggestions. I've written them down in my notebook and hopefully will get to try them.
 
Old Aug 4th, 1999, 05:11 PM
  #20  
specs
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned bread and pastries in Paris. I could easily live off these. Ask my husband.

If you absolutely have to have Amurrican beef, the Marriott in Neuilly on Rue Victor Hugo, Metro stop Anatole France, has steaks shipped right from the heartland-- Omaha, Nebraska.

I also eat a lot of omelettes when I'm travelling. Even if they're not on the menu, many places will be happy to prepare them.

I have also had good experiences with chicken in France, with one exception when I think they substituted rabbit. The legs looked suspiciously bunnyesque.
 

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