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Miznon in Paris

Miznon is hard to write about, because once inside, it’s hard to describe what’s going on. To figure out the menu, or the structure, can take some doing. It’s better just to go in with blind faith and have the experience, without trying to control or understand it. That said, I’m not a picky eater but I do like structure. So since I’m not a…

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Eggplant and Yogurt Spread with Saffron

When Anissa Helou told me she was writing a book on the foods of the Islamic world, I was surprised, and a little curious. I didn’t know much about the food, but I am always drawn to the flavors, and ingredients used: Lots of vegetables, olive oil, pulses, grains, olives, spices, handmade cheeses and flatbreads, fresh fish, and grilled meats. In short, the kind of food…

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Merguez & Pastrami

[UPDATE: In the fall of 2018, Merguez & Pastrami closed, and the space will become Saul’s, a restaurant by the same owner, offering similar specialties.] The most interesting neighborhood right now in Paris is the 9th arrondissement. Walk in any various directions from a métro station after you land there, and you’ll find yourself in a completely different neighborhood, whether it’s surrounded by stately buildings on…

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Tawlet Souk el Tayeb, Lebanese food in Paris

One of the great regrets I had in life was when I went to Beirut and didn’t go to the Tawlet Souk el Tayeb, a culinary project supporting local farmers, cooks, and producers. There’s also a weekly farmers’ market, classes and meals. Because my schedule was so packed on my trip, as much as I tried, I didn’t make it. A few years later – as…

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Jerusalem

I shouldn’t have been surprised when I was talking to someone at the airport, just after my arrival in Israel, who had asked me what I was doing in her country. When I told her I was there to learn about the cuisine – by eating it, her eyes lit up, and she said – “Whenever I leave Israel, after my family, the thing I…

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Haj Kahil

When I left the restaurant Haj Kahil after lunch, I said to someone – “That was the best day of my life.” When Erin, who was dining next to me, took a bite of the fried Halloumi cheese, her whole body softened, her eyes dimmed, and she looked as if she had been lulled into a trance. And when someone tried to talk to her,…

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Maoz Falafel in Paris

Yes, that’s me in the corner, wolfing down falafels at Maoz. I was trying to figure out a way to break the news, but my favorite falafel place in Paris is not where you think it is. Last time I went to another joint, the French fries that came out were so light and limp that I was wondering what was going through the head…

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