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I F’ing Love Baklava

Casual, hungry me.

For someone raised in the middle class of a First World country, my boyfriend had about the saddest childhood when it came to home cooking. His dad only made food for himself, and his mom’s recipe for steak is as follows:

  • 1 thingy of meat
  • some salt

Bake until grey.

I wish I were exaggerating. He was almost full-grown before discovering exotic flavors like mustard and soy sauce. Yet from this household of tasteless indifference emerged a palate wholly set to receive. I think that’s part of why I like him so much: he prolongs my maternal need to feed, to teach and to feed-teach. Just because my tubes are tied doesn’t mean the sight of a newborn hurts my uterus any less, and Russell’s like a baby I can beat around the head—while belittling around the heart—without the state getting up in my shit. It’s everything momma ever wanted.

I promised him we could have lunch anywhere he desired for Father’s Day. Imagine my delight when he chose Persian cuisine—something even yours truly had yet to try. From being raised on two-ingredient baked potatoes (russets and boiling water) to being curious about kashk bademjan… I dare say this protégé of mine is almost passable as a functioning adult. Now I just need to get him to drink, rationalize sports and fart like the cure for effeminateness is in his asshole. Because it is.

Onto the ReKimmendation at hand:

Cafe Papillon and Bakery

Delicious eggplant paste.

So, yes, despite his inner crapola, Russell really did unearth a treasure by finding this place. Like any hole in the wall worth its holy salt, its deceptively simple-looking exterior is an act of subterfuge for the fantastic eatings within. (I’m convinced this is to turn elitist, micromanaging white people away.) Persian food is not unlike Greek, using many of the same ingredients, with no shortage of gyro goodness. The sweet lady, who both ran the counter and cooked the food, welcomed us like we were coming into her home. We started with the aforementioned kashk bademjan. Our darling proprietress said we would like it, and she wasn’t lying. It had the texture of baba ganoush, but was creamier, packed with a lot more flavor and served warm. After the accompanying pita ran dry, we were practically licking the bowl for whatever eggplant innards we could exhume.

Protein horseshoe.

Next came the Gyros Plate and Combo Plate. (I try to order something familiar at new places, so that I have some basis of comparison.) The Combo Plate included skewered ground beef, chicken, basmati rice and a side salad, while the Gyro Plate had me piling a piece of naan high with tzatziki, gyro meat, onion and tomato. Both were heaven. Speaking of tomatoes, a side note: Far too many restaurants are serving underripe and/or refrigerated tomatoes these days. If you didn’t know, putting your tomatoes in the fridge makes them mealy and bland. So just don’t do it, m’kay? The crisp freshness of what was served here definitely stood out to me—another reason why you’re going to go.

They stole my business card!

They also have an all you can eat lunch buffet Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I’ve already roped my basmati-sized friend, Autumn, into going. Oh, and their baklava is the best I’ve ever had. And, in case the censored title didn’t drive home the point… I. Fuck. Ing. Love. Baklava.

For you and I, the idea of something tasting like “home” fills us with nostalgia and warmth. It’s heartbreakingly sad to me that Russell’s idea fills him with an intrinsic need to delouse. It just goes to show you that socioeconomic status is in no way indicative of fine dining. Some of the best food I’ve ever found has been off the beaten path, both figuratively and not. Today’s ReKimmendation put the proof in that pudding.

P.S. I’ve updated the gallery, stalkers, so go feast your eyes.

TWTG says, “All my slaves can probably see you.”

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15 responses »

  1. I adore persian food -middle-eastern food…but then you probably don’t get many customers in the US if you call it that! 🙂 Have to admit that I do a pretty amazing lamb in a pomegranite sauce taken from a traditional persian recipe…now I’m getting hungry. I think I’ll make myself a Turkish Delight cocktail while I contemplate dinner.
    Cheers!
    Laura

    Reply
    • Oh I’m going to have to see how to make a Turkish Delight cocktail (that always reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia). Russell and I went back today and had their buffet. It was so good and I’m still full.

      Reply
      • I’ll have a couple of Rosewater creations appearing on the 30th (your 29th). At the moment I am crushing hard on the persian palate. If you put rosewater or pomegranite in it I will eat it…whatever it is! 🙂
        Cheers,
        Laura

      • I’ll go back to the little market attached to my new favorite restaurant and get some rosewater. I’ll be looking forward to the post.

  2. “…until gray.” that’s funny.

    feasting of eyes is underway.

    Reply
  3. I love all foods Persian and Middle Eastern. That restaurant sounds fantastic! And I’m a huge fan of Baklava as well. My sister-in-law’s mother gave me a recipe a couple years ago. Time consuming, but man-oh-man it’s worth it. Changed my life ——

    Reply
  4. I am kind of horrified at the thought of baking steak. At least you can introduce him to new and exotic flavors.. like mustard. lol. 🙂

    Reply
    • He’s pretty brave considering. Thank goodness some good women came before me that took the hit on introducing sushi and greek food. I’ve gotten him eating his veggies and fruit and I’m pretty proud. The only thing he’s refused are cherries and I think now it’s just a power of wills. I am determined that he will eat a cherry this year. Or die…

      Reply
  5. Your cousin Anne cooks Persian food alot, and so does Jeremy. His chicken khoresh is to die for!

    Reply

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