Taste of Paris: Miznon

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11695902_844701115977_8803345370097266460_n.jpgThis past Summer I spent two months cooking for a private family abroad in France. It was my first time to France, and I arrived not speaking a word of the language and completely unaware of how life changing the experience was going to be for me.

About a month into my stay in France, I journeyed to Paris for five days. I took a beautiful train ride that cut from the coast of La Baule to the city of Paris.

When I arrived, a car took me to Ile Saint Louis, where I stayed in a stunning chateau. It had floor to ceiling windows that opened out to a large courtyard below and the quiet, quaint streets of the island.

I ventured out into the maze-like streets of Paris. I refused to buy a map, but discover the city of my dreams on my own. I memorized landmarks and navigated my way through the city.

My first day was overwhelming. Starving, I decided to walk through le Marais and find an authentic dining experience in Paris.

Everywhere I looked was filled with tourists. I walked through seemingly endless side streets and alleys until I came across a tiny storefront of a restaurant with patrons spilling out the windows and entryway. I knew I had to eat here. 11836827_844700831547_9000377625054051336_n.jpg

The smell coming through the door of the restaurant was amazing! It smelled of slowly cooked meat, char, and smoke. I pushed through the door and saw a room with fresh produce on wood shelves, big bowls of lemons and heads of cauliflower. The menu was scribbled on a chalkboard wall in bright colored chalk. The kitchen was completely open, and the cooks prepared the food right in front of you as you ordered. There was minimal seating, and the crowd was loud and joyous. It felt like I had entered someones home, like everyone there was family. 11796379_844701135937_8055135375021145522_n.jpg

I stood awkwardly- waiting for someone to wait on me, or take an order – it never happened. I felt so embarrassed, I almost left. Then I decided to step out of my comfort zone, and I plunged myself down at the counter bar, and sat next to a beautiful pregnant woman.

I sat a few minutes, and then pushed myself to talk with her. I nervously asked her if she spoke English, (which she did, thankfully), and then proceeded to ask her how to order. I then explained I was a NYC chef visiting Paris, and wanted to taste the best food the city had to offer. She explained to me that her husband owned the restaurant and that I was indeed in the right place for good food.

She brought her husband over, and the three of us spoke about middle eastern food, restaurants, New York, and Paris. It was one of those experiences you don’t forget, and then the Chef decided to order for me. 11846732_844700891427_8813675508574140144_n.jpg

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The man working the counter was a combination host, maître d, and comedian. He poured me some warm red wine on this balmy  95 degree day. The restaurant was open to the street, and the heat everywhere. My clothes clung tight and wet to my body. A runner brought over some fresh made pita with side dish of tahini with tomato water and spiced olive oil. I dipped the hot fresh pita into the cool spread, and it refreshed me. 11846620_844701190827_7939526496194403906_n.jpg

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11836825_844700991227_537711851019361455_n.jpgNext came out a fresh pita pocket stuffed with thinly sliced steak, fresh parsley, red onion, and tahini sauce. It was served with roasted green chiles on the side for spice. (They’re very spicy!)

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Next came out the most incredible boeuf bourguignon stuffed pita. The combination of french and Israeli flavors are absolutely delicious, and was the singularly most delicious and memorable thing I ate in all of France. At the same time, they brought out a whole roasted head of cauliflower. It was perfectly tender, roasted nicely with salt and oil. You cut off sections as you ate it, and it made for a perfect accompaniment to the meal.

11825810_844701016177_7969641697193079440_n.jpg11013217_844701056097_1822053214430203279_n.jpg11825795_844701066077_1189422550208118183_n.jpgI drank a few more glasses of wine, ate way too much food, and chatted with the owners. Before I left, I was treated to one last indulgence. Apple Tarte Tatin, stuffed in a pita. A classic french dessert, with an Israeli twist. It was so delicious, I’m not sure how it hasn’t blown up into a huge trend around the world. (Maybe it will now!) 🙂

11855844_844701210787_2959316317263413118_n.jpgIf you’re in Paris, and venture into le Marais, you must check out Miznon.

Miznon
Restaurant: Israeli-French Fusion
Address: 22 Rue des Ecouffes, 75004 Paris, France
 

Bon Appetit!
Sean Patrick Gallagher
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BARBUZZO

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Barbuzzo: my favorite spot in Philly. Chef Marcie Turney and Sous Chef Daniel Miller put out consistently some of the most delicious non-pretentious foodie-foder in Philly. I have dined at Barbuzzo probably 8-10 times and have made an effort to try every item of the menu.
 
My by far favorite items are:
 
ASPARAGO
shaved asparagus, guanciale, secret white sauce, parmesan, fior di latte, and truffled farm egg
 
The shaved asparagus pizza is decadent, thin, crisp, and chewy crust, creamy-truffled gooeyness, crispy pork, and a perfect runny egg on top. A must have for lunch or dinner, perfect for sharing. 
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CHEESE BOARD
with baguette, crostini, marcona almonds, quince and caramelized shallot aigre doux, roasted garlic mustard, toasted hazelnut honey, pear maple butter
·Quadrello di Bufala, Water Buffalo, Italy
·Gorgonzola Dolce Artigianale, Cow, Italy
·Idiazabal, Sheep, Spain
·Scimudin, Goat, Italy
 
The cheese board at Barbuzzo is like every other cheeseboard anywhere. DELICIOUS. Great combo of cheeses, I really love the scimudin, a goat cheese from Italy that is creamy and pungent. Really nicely paired with a fig spread with a subtle sweetness. 
 
HOT ITALIAN BRISKET SANDWICH
braised brisket, arugula, horseradish-lemon creme fraiche, gorgonzola, onion jam, grilled focaccia
 
Probably my favorite thing at Barbuzzo is the Brisket sandwich. Served with rosemary fries (yum!) and a smoked garlic aioli. The sandwich itself has deliciously luscious fatty braised beef, bitter arugula, with a bite from a creamy horseradish sauce and gorgonzola, and sweetness from the onion jam. All on grilled foccacia. A decadent and delicious lunchtime fav of mine. 
These are just a few of my favorite things at Barbuzzo, their cocktails are also to die for, and they change the menu seasonally. So stop in at any point and see what’s cooking!
 
Make a reservation because this place fills up fast, even for lunch, and its hard to get a seat!
 
BARBUZZO
 
110 S 13th St  Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 546-9300
barbuzzo.com/barbuzzo
Check it out!
 
Cheers
 
Chef Sean Gallagher

Philadelphia: My NEW Foodie Frontier

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This is Pan-Roasted Grouper with french lentils, pancetta lardons, and mustard greens @ The Oyster House

Over the last few years I have eaten a lot of food. Consequently this is just as evident in my waistline as it is my palate. Your palate is at its most basic form,  your perception of a meal. Your unique ability to dissect ingredients swirling in your mouth and detect the subtle nuances of seasoning, cooking preparation, and quality. For one to possess a discerning palate, they must have a scrupulous background in food.

Being brought up in restaurants, classically trained, and enhanced by hotels, catering, and fine dining; my palate has undeniably developed.

Within the past four years I have lived and worked in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and now Philadelphia. In all of these locations, I have had incredible food experiences which have helped shape the Chef I am today. I didn’t have the opportunity to share these experiences then, and as a result I plan to do so moving forward in Philly.

Moving to Philadelphia has been a hectic, trying, and (For the most part!) exciting experience. There is one thing that is certain about Philly locals; they are huge foodies. They care about where their produce comes from, what preparations go into the meal, and who’s in the kitchen making it. Philly has an incredibly interesting food scene. There are small niche restaurants, dives, behemoth steak houses, oyster bars, food trucks, and farmers markets on every corner. All of this adding to my new adventure, a digression from my New York City food battle, and setting new sights in the city of brotherly love.

Using my discerning palate, I plan to eat my way through Philadelphia and share these personal experiences with you. The best and the worst of it.

 

 

Oyster House: Pan-Roasted Grouper with pancetta lardons, french lentils, and mustard greens

 

To start things off I want to talk about a revelation. Oyster House’s Pan-seared Grouper; First off, forgive me for my incoherent ramble, but I must tell you how deliciously moist this fish was, crisp skin, perfectly seasoned – letting the quality of the fish show. The combination of the flaky fish with the salted-chewy pancetta lardons, and the creamy french lentils, which on their own were a standout, really made for a quite memorable  meal. This was a very simple dish but had flawless seasoning and execution which made me realize I don’t eat enough fish out, most likely because its never cooked this well when ordered.

 

Try it out for yourself.

Cheers

 

Chef Sean Gallagher

http://oysterhousephilly.com/home.html

Oyster House

1516 Sansom St.

Philadelphia PA 19102

ph (215) 567-7683

fax (215) 567-1673

Butter Lane Cupcakes<3

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Elvis Cupcake. SO GOOD!

Today was one of those day’s that you just never forget. Started out simply enough. Strolled around St. Marks with my beau, shopped a bit, stopped to get coffee. It was absolutely beautiful today and this evening was warm and the sun set late.

St. Marks is an experience. On the Lower East Side of Manhattan, it’s like crossing into another dimension from where I live in Astoria. People are hip. Hip? Yes hip. Hip in many ways. They present themselves in any way they want. I love it. Be who you are, or who you want to be.. as long as your happy at the end of the day with your blue hair and your ripped leggings, so be it!

Regardless, the people here have their own way about them. Unpretentious, fun, and laid back. The atmosphere is just the same. Small niche restaurants, bars, and cafes stud the streets. Intersected by tattoo parlors, soap shops, and frozen yogurt galore. It is definitely a different Manhattan, and I can see why there is so much appeal. Just people being human and enjoying so much of what this quirky area has to offer.

So to get down to what sparked this post… and made my day… Butter Lane Cupcakes!

*To me the best example of what this area has to offer.

Butter Lane Cupcakes Storefront

Okay I know what you’re thinking. You’re fat. I GET IT! But there is just something about light, fluffy cake.. topped with velvety frosting that just does it for me. OKAY?! 😀

Butter Lane Cupcakes do it right. They source natural ingredients and make cupcakes with the finest and freshest stuff they can find. This place is a true gem. Absolutely delightful staff, DELICIOUS products, and the cutest storefront around.

You pick your cake and your frosting

Jamaal and I had the pleasure of tasting 3 different cupcakes. I will make you jealous now.

Chocolate Peanut Butter – Rich, moist chocolate cake with subtle peanut frosting

The “Elvis” – Delicious banana cake with notes of cinnamon, paired with peanut butter frosting and topped with marshmallows… a KNOCKOUT.

Strawberry Cheesecake – Light vanilla cake with strawberry filling, and cream cheese icing.. yum

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcake

After we indulged in Caracas, an amazing arepas spot on the same street..(I will revisit this place as well to tell you all about it :D) We walked around the lovely Tompkin’s Square Park.. and then we finished our evening with Butter Lane Cupcakes. This was a foodies dream and I challenge all of you to make your way down to St. Marks and indulge!

They know what they’re doing here. Hope you all try it out.. well worth the trip to this great hotspot in St. Marks.

Butter Lane Cupcakes

Things you should know:

*They cater weddings, private events, and offer cupcake classes.

Butter Lane: The Better Cupcake

“Butter Lane is devoted to making you the perfect cupcake. With a focus on pure ingredients like real vanilla beans, pure cocoa and dark chocolate, we’re giving foodies something to sink their teeth into besides straight sugar (although we have some of that, too!).”

http://www.butterlane.com/

Address: 123 East Seventh Street

New York, NY 10009

212.677.2880

Email me with any questions at Chef.Seangallagher@gmail.com

Best,
Sean Gallagher