If you think Parisians eat expensive shit like snails, frog legs, duck liver and ox tongue on the daily, OTP is about to whip you up a healthy serving of Frenchie food truth. This culinary empire drips down to street level, losing some dollar signs along the way and banging out some of the best street eats in the world. You don't have to overpay for a tuxedoed waiter to serve you a boner appétit, grab your scarf/beret combo and head outside with OTP for the cheaper side of fine dining in Paris.Nothing says Paris street food like the crêpe. Sweet or savory - breakfast, lunch, dinner or drunk o'clock - crêpes are thin sheets of anytime lovin'. Crêpe-hawkers are everywhere you look but don't even think about buying one within eyesight of Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower; that shit is old and overpriced. Paris' crêpe capital is Boulevard du Montparnasse. More options than Justin Bieber at a junior high, take a stroll around and watch the masters drizzle their batter before picking one. Make sure a new batch of dough is poured for every order and the ingredients look fresh. Expect the crêpe to be thinner than in the states, because we Americans make our food like we make our people, and this ain't no pancake. When you've found your crêperie, hand over a few euro coins for a crêpe stuffed with Nutella and banana, a combination that's slowly making peanut butter its bitch. If you're feeling savory, look for a place dishing out galettes - same as a crêpe, but with a darker, less sweet, buckwheat-based batter. Ingredient options are endless and you can't go wrong combining mushrooms with several French cheeses for a gooey taste orgy.
Pâtisseries (pastry shops) and boulangeries (bakeries) are on every block and the window displays are like Paris' Red Light District of food porn. Dry the drool and go in for a viennoise au chocolat, your ticket to tasty town. This soft, delicious, chocolate chip-filled pastry looks (keyword) similar to a Dunkin' Donuts Long John and tastes like a pillow of chocolate sex exploded in your mouth. Pâtisserie Viennoise whips together the best viennoise in town, and this dive bar equivalent pastry shop is just far enough from the Arc de Triomphe to afford staying cheap. One bite will make your nipples hard. To defrost those bad boys, tack on a cup of their famous hot chocolate.
OTP Tip: Be sure to check hours before trekking to a bakery across town.Steer clear of the stale pre-made sandwiches outside and cut out the crusty middle man by heading into a boulangeries for a fresh, toasty-warm jambon-beurre. Not your *NSYNC lunch box ham and cheese, in France, white bread is wrong bread, American cheese is for Americans and Oscar Mayer was denied a visa. To get the best sandwich, join the lunch rush line of businessmen at the Le Petit Vendôme takeout window near the Opéra metro stop. Lube up Paris's finest baguette with butter, your favorite fancy French cheese and slap on a few thin slices of Auvergne cured ham. Order le complet as a short cut to picking through the menu and holding up the rush. At about 6 euros, it's worth the slight premium.
OTP Tip: Avoid elbow humping the French men at the bar inside and escape a few blocks to the Tuileries Garden to savor this sandwich legend in peace.Nothing says French food like falafel. A wave of mid-east imports have infiltrated the city and brought their food with them. Sure, you can pick up a falafel sandwich anywhere in the world, but when it comes to food, it's just somehow done better in Paris. There is no shortage of falafel joints in the old Jewish district of Marais, but the consensus favorite is L'As du Fallafel. Unfortunately, the loaded falafels here are about as well kept of a secret as Ricky Martin's sexuality and if your patience is as short as his career, ditch the line and grab a comparable falafel from Mi A Mi across the street. Both places have decent carnivorous shawarma options as well. Ditch paying extra to get served in the packed restaurant and maul this foreign flavor feast in the park around the corner.
If there is anything Parisians love more than their food, it's their wine. No need to hit a costly chic wine bar, you can find a good bottle at any supermarket to join you on your park date with Parisian street eats. The Cru Bourgeois classification is your cheat sheet to fine wine and is printed right on the label, with many great bottles priced well under 10 euros. If you're no wino, try the local standard beer, Kronenbourg 1664, from Alsace. Or pull a spring break and get the tequila beer, Desperados - France's correct answer to a Corona and lime.
It's tough to go wrong with food in Paris (and going right doesn't mean going broke). One basic rule to always follow: when it comes to choosing a street eatery, look for a long line of Parisians. While street food is usually equivalent to fast food in most places, the concept is lost on the French. They love their grub so much that they're willing to wait it out for the good shit. Food is a religion here, and to sacrifice quality for time is a sin that will cast you to the depths of cuisine hell or, as they call it, back to America.