Any suggestions for restaurants or other experiences in or not too far from the 19th arrondissement? My wife and I are going to Paris in March 2012, and as Americans, we are paid in increasingly worthless US dollars. I found a hotel in the 19th that we can stay at using points (allowing more $ for food, although still on a budget) and hopefully will allow us not to be confined to tourist traps. Most tour books largely ignore the 19th. We hope to get around town primarily using velib bikes as well as the metro.
I'm looking for good traditional French food, and other things that we can't get at home. Hope to buy lunch at markets where possible, supplemented with a steady diet of cheese and bread. For dinner, I have an image (stereotype? fantasy?) of the corner Parisian restaurant that families go to once a month, everyone is relaxed, and the food is sublime . I don't need fancy, couldn't care less about celebrity chefs, and want to avoid feeling tourist-trapped. I studied high school level French, so I can converse in simple (slow) conversations if that helps, although it's been quite a while since I've used it.
Also: does anyone have experience using thefork.com, (or groupon, livingsocial, etc.) in Paris, and how are the restaurants generally? Is it the case that they are not that great, and need to use extra marketing like thefork.com to get customers, or are they usually satisfactory? (I have had both experiences at home using restaurant.com.) Do you get treated with equal respect if using a discount? What about tipping - do you need ot add extra if you use the discount? Are there any other similar web sites worth looking at?
And what does "hors menu" mean?