Plop! Yes bring a rug and plop down in any open space. No one seems shy about bringing along a rug and just claiming a spot in the middle of everything. I can’t say that it appears comfortable. Selfies in the background!? It’s midnight and joint is hoppin’! I’d ordinarily think a nice soft patch of grass would do. But there ‘s no grass in sight. Folks will set up in the most unlikely and most uncomfortable looking locations. And despite the hour, no one appears ready for bed.
My guide told me that there were typical drinks that were served at Ramadan. These things create the familiar memory of a holiday as eggnog would remind me of Christmas. The dark purple drink is served everywhere. The origin or berry is unclear to me. The taste is distinctive. The other drink is newer and is seen together. But it is the purple stuff….has an odd distinctive flavor. It is sweet without citrus tartness. Initially I did not like it but it becomes an acquired taste. It was new for me but is typically served where ever I go. Most vendors served it up from plain plastic containers. Here at least the display had some style and was worth sharing the image. Otherwise for the rest of the year I don’t see this drink.
This is a pocket food. It starts as a small ball of dough that like pizza is stretched to paper thinness. And then a filling is added. The package is folder and thrown on an oiled hot grill. Make it golden brown. It looked good. The picture says it far better than a description.
I am just realizing that the restaurants around here run lunch specials. Restaurants do this everywhere, I suppose. But bargains? This one was a pretty sweet deal. Zucchinni soup, pasta with bacon (it’s really beef), and a pounded tender chicken cutlet; the salad, bread, and soft drink are included. That’s my iPhone ebook reader in the background. Peaceful setup as anything…All this goes for the price of an entrée menu item. I’m trying to be good and not overdo this. I noticed the steak house has a lunch special too. And with Ramadan the Indian place will run an all you can eat buffet. So many restaurants, so little time. I’d mention the name but you probably won’t be dining in this restaurant.
If the candles are correct it’s fourteen. Otherwise there might be one there for good luck and it was the thirteenth birthday. I’ve reached the point where memory is fading. I don’t remember this cake. I remember this gathering of cousins. John had three sons. Eric had one. Count ‘em. All boys on my side of the family, Jules was the exception. On Lisa’s side it was two nieces. Symmetrical? I was one of three boys, Bill (grandpa) was one of three boys, and Vinnie (Lynn’s husband) the same. Yes, it was very symmetrical. It can’t last. This cake was in Lisa’s wedding cake decoration phase. The lace work and decorations would later be used in building a tiered wedding/celebration layer cake. She enjoyed the challenge. And once mastered, she never did it again.
Today the post inspired the picture.
This doughnut and my family have a long relationship. We pretty much loved the chocolate covered doughnuts with unconditional love since I’ve known Lisa and certainly all of the lives of my children . I’ve had others of their products but no no no, it was all about these doughnuts. This was not as bad as Oreo cookies. We couldn’t and never had Oreos in the house. Mom unashamed and unabashedly ate them all before they reached the cupboard. From the earliest time the kids (Jules) could walk we would routinely hide the doughnuts in the freezer. That continued until and beyond the time both kids could reach the freezer. I got to like eating frozen doughnuts so there was no need to store then anywhere else. When we would do our annual Bear Mountain hike I was always sure to pack a full box (8 large) and we would snack our way around the lake.
I did occasionally experiment like the time Entenmann’s made raspberry flavored chocolate covered doughnuts. A thin layer of raspberry jam was in between the chocolate and the doughnut. And there was the chocolate doughnut covered with chocolate. Neither product was a big seller in my house. In my kids’ opinion you don’t mess with a classic. However, the regular chocolate covered doughnuts never seemed to be around when I wanted one.
Therefore, I devised a devious deception. When the raspberry doughnuts were done, I filled the empty box with the regular doughnuts. My kids’ eye would light up at least once a week when they thought mom had brought home another box. Then there would be disappointment, “raspberry again,” and the freezer would close upon my stash in plain sight. I ate doughnuts whenever I wanted for a about six months before anyone discovered my secret.
When I recently returned to Jeddah, Eric brought me to the airport and he thrust a box of Entenmann’s doughnuts into my hand. He insisted I take them and even eat the whole box on the plane if they wouldn’t survive the trip. I scarcely had room to carry one more thing. But that darned box survived the trip and didn’t melt. So I savor them as I write this post. Yeah, Proust and la madeleine….
It started in an apartment upstairs in Manhattan Plaza. The guys started baking pies in neighbors’ ovens all over the building and were so successful that the rest, as they say, is history. It began many years ago, but, after we moved to the neighborhood so it has always been in my kids’ lives. The signature pie is the sour cream apple walnut, SCAW. They published a cookbook and did not include this recipe. Drat! So nostalgia drew us to get a small pie. David was gracious enough to allow (and he made it himself) me a BLT. Yeah, life is good.
There is an Ethiopian restaurant downstairs and steps from where we live. It was at one point Mike’s Bar and Grill before Hell’s Kitchen became Chelsea Clinton (not her, the neighborhood name) and the clientele became yuppies. I recall there were also jokes many years ago during the famine and starvation in Ethiopia. The food is served atop a large sourdough flatbread called an jnjera. Therein lies the problem. The bread is tangy and Lisa and the kids don’t like the taste. I once took Grandma and niece Jane. They liked it. Or at least they didn’t tell me if they didn’t like it. Well, the story (it’s not about the picture) comes around on my birthday. We get dressed – semiformal – we really never dress to eat out in the neighborhood. Then… comes a blindfold and the kids take me down the elevator and into the street. We enter a cab, instructions are whispered and we ride around. Still blindfolded, Lisa pays the fare, and we descend to the street. We enter and the blindfold is removed. As I said this restaurant is located a couple steps out the front door. I view this as a family sacrifice on my behalf. I ate and they picked.
When I wanted to torture the kids I would make them eat in the Turkish Cuisine restaurant. Of course this was many years ago when at dinner the sauce and the pasta had to arrive separately on the plate. No hidden ingredient surprises then. Lately David ate iguana tacos in Mexico. I was horrified to see his pictures of the old woman killing the live iguana with a machete and then tossing it on the grill still kicking. And when I was in California, three days running, J ordered dishes or smoothies with kale in them. I can recall (memory still intact) nary a single instance in which I have ever eaten kale. So… who’s the grown-up now?
It’s made in fired ovens. David thinks that it’s two layers and the ‘puffy’ bread rises because of the construction of the dough. To me the dough looks like a single pancake. They make a lot of it. It’s the sliced bread of life here. It’s the Middle East equivalent of French bread served in NY. And then there’s the Tandoori oven. They slap pieces of dough against the sides and make another form of bread. When I attended a banquet at a home, there was a portable Tandoori available for on the spot baking. My assessment – it sure beats sliced white ‘Wonder Bread.’It looks like there’s something stuffed inside. Either way the food is good.Since we were in the outdoor kitchen, it afforded us a view to some pretty good cooking.
David said don’t do it. He said it’s a chain and it’s not too good, too formula…. He’s eaten in a lot of places by now, so he’s more sophisiticated in his taste and evaluation. Unlike Ajii which both of my kids approved, PF Chang was a place to avoid according to both children. With a lack of choices I found myself drawn to try it. All local reviews were positive and everyone raved about the dynamite shrimp. Now I have found out that the entire six restaurants at this site are owned by a single company group. So far it’s been very successful with no parking and lines everywhere. I’m not impressed that cheesecake costs $8 (33SAR). A burger at Shake Shack is only $8. But my eye was on PF Chang. The singles section is like an afterthought. The space is small and cramped. Service is very attentive. They do a little show to mix some dipping sauce tableside. The food – dynamite shrimp is the local NY version of deep fried shrimp covered in a mayonnaise sauce. It’s pretty funky in NY and so what else can you say. It is a recipe that was made on the spot in NY with ingredients at hand in a combination of ingredients put together from a bad dream. Not bad…. Just not worth mentioning again. Dynamite – it’s in the hot cloying sauce. Anywhere else and without the sauce, this is tempura shrimp.
Chicken lettuce wrap has the standard iceberg lettuce – ice cold – to wrap around diced chicken and deep fried crispy rice noodles. Decent. The shrimp dumplings were covered by steamed wonton skins and were largely tasteless, hence the dipping sauces. There was green apple soda, way too sweet, but with a crunch green apple slice. I’ve not made another foray to try the mains yet. But so far David and his sister were right.