Thursday, August 30, 2012


Tyma'z has been open for a few years now, and happens to be right down from the street from me. Yet till now I have never had the chance to visit it. Radwa Ibrahim a native of Syria is the chef/owner of Tymaz, and I was interested to try her Middle Eastern specialties.
 Me and my eating partner arrived around 9:00 PM for a late dinner. Tymaz has around 25 tables inside the very nondescript restaurant. When we arrived, there were only two other tables occupied, yet the young host/waiter gazed around looking for a table to seat us like the place was filled to capacity. Finally he sat us down after managing to find a table amongst the many that were available . The interior of Tymaz matches the exterior, being very plain with some Middle Eastern art adorning the walls. There was a nice 3 foot high plastic camel however that I found amusing and thought would make an excellent decoration in my own residence.
Complimentary Hummus
  We were served some hummus soon after sitting down. The hummus was drizzled with olive oil and came with some pitas for dipping/scooping. It was a pretty bland hummus compared to others I have tried and seemed to have a little too much Tahini (sesame paste) in it.

 Our dinners also came with a side salad made up mostly of iceberg lettuce(blah) and a few other veggies. The dressing was not too bad being vinegar and oil based with flavors of mint and oregano.

Shish Kabob $18.00

 My hot date/eating partner ordered the Shish Kabob which is marinated lamb cooked over an open flame. I was a little disappointed with the presentation, I would liked to have seen the lamb come out on skewers. The lamb itself was tender, and the marinade gave it a lemony/oregano/garlic flavor. Actually the marinades flavor was so pronounced that you could hardly even tell you were eating lamb. Lamb has a pretty unique flavor but that flavor was barely even detectable.
Mousakka $17.00
  My initial order was for Baked Kibee, but was told by our server the kitchen had run out. So I ordered the Mousakka which is described as eggplant layered with ground beef and a special cheese blend, baked in a rich tomato sauce with onions and green peppers. This is pretty much Syrian comfort food 101. The Mousakka came out piping hot and I actually had to wait about 10 minutes before I could eat it without getting naplam burns in my mouth. The tomato sauce had a pleasant sweetness to it which was balanced out nicely by the richness of the eggplant, meat, and cheese. A decent tasting dish overall which I think really could be enjoyed even more on a cold Winter night.
Rice Pilaf

Both of our meals came with rice pilaf. Dont laugh, but I thought this was actually the highlight of the whole meal. It is fragrant rice topped with almond slivers. Im not sure what they flavor the rice with but there was flavors of cinnamon and cardamon. It was awesome and I would and will go back to Tymaz just for this side dish.

 So all in all Tymaz was a mixed bag. The service was kind of crappy, and I was not too pleased when our server started to stack the chairs for the other empty tables at the end of the night while we were still eating. Make sure you BYOB if you visit Tymaz, as the drink selection is limited, and there is no corkage fee. Also make sure you arrive early as they do run out of things such as the Baked Kibee and the Baklava.
 As a whole the dining experience at Tymaz was not exceptional , with a combination of bad service and slightly above average main courses. However I know I will be back just to eat the rice pilaf again..


TYMA'Z  6/10

Tyma'z Mediterranean House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jean-Marc Chatellier

 I will just come out and say it, Jean-Marc is in my humble opinion the best baker in Pittsburgh. His bakery alone has made Millvale into a destination spot for any foodie in the region.

Jean-Marc himself is from Britanny France. He trained and was an apprentice for Master Pastry Chef George Merlet. In 1983 Jean-Marc came to the US and spent time at many restaurants in LA before moving and setting up his shop in Millvale in 1992.

 Let me tell you about some of my personal favorites at Jean-Marc's.

Breton Cake $8.00

  The Breton cake which is a specialty of the Britanny region of France is described as a buttery shortbread style cake. That it is. It reminds me a lot of my Grandmothers Oooey Gooey Butter cake that she used to make. Its thick, dense, moist, and very buttery in taste. A must buy when you go to Jean-Marc's

French Macarons $15.00 a Dozen

 The French Macarons were actually the first thing I ever tried at Jean Marc's. They are pretty tiny but they really provide a wallop of flaver. When you bite into them the first thing you notice is how light and airy the texture is of the almond based outer shells. Then you bite into the cream filled center that just explodes with flavor.
Sea Salt Caramel Macaron

Some of the Macaron flavors include Sea Salt Caramel (my favorite), Mango-Passion Fruit, and Peanut Butter and Jelly. It is just amazing how much flavor Jean-Marc is able to put into his Macarons. 


 Make sure you try out his Croissants as well, which are easily the flakiest and buttery croissants that you will ever have. 


So get your butt over to Jean-Marc's you will not be dissapointed. 
Let me leave you with some food porn from the last time I visited Jean Marc's. (Click on pics for higher res)

Jean-Marc Chatellier's French Bakery on Urbanspoon