Maghreb Food

January 17th, 2014 § 0 comments

The Maghreb is the culturally distinct region of North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco) fronting on the Mediterranean Sea. HG loves the food from this part of the world and enjoys its splendors whenever possible. There’s a good article on Maghreb food in Paris by Jay Cheshes (SAVEUR–Nov. 12, 2012). Cheshes mentions two great street foods: Casse-croute (Tunisian tuna and vegetable sandwich) and Mahjouba (Algerian crepes rolled around grilled vegetables). Why do working class Parisians have all the luck? Why can’t we Americans have these treats instead of hamburgers? Cheaper and healthier. In a recent post, HG mentioned the excellent (at a very modest price) chicken and preserved lemon tagine with couscous HG enjoyed at Restaurant Jour et Nuit on Paris’s gritty Boulevard de la Chapelle. Close to that place is Dar el Houma (mentioned by Cheshy) which specializes in chicken tagines atop Maghreb noodles. Sounds pleasing. Also in the area is Les Trois Freres which in addition to couscous, does a mean steak et frites. Makes HG want to hustle back to Paris. Sadly, Maghreb food has not really proliferated in the United States. Surprising, since dumbed-down Mexican, Italian and Chinese food is available everywhere. Couscous has gained a foothold in American kitchens, but has not really infiltrated US restaurants. In all of HG’s many years in New York, HG remembers only one good couscous joint. This was a place in the West Greenwich Village where a jolly Israeli guy dished out maximum couscous dinners at minimal prices. Long closed. Sad.

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