My family and I spent a wonderful Saturday afternoon here. We had the place to ourselves, and Ali was in fine form, culinarily and otherwise.
He brought us pita to dip in za’atar, sumac & his incredible fiery sauce, and a platter of hummus, baba ghanouj, warm puréed beans and felafel. After that: two warm vegetable salads, one of lemony artichoke hearts and the other of beets, onions & apples; excellent merguez (ground and spiced to Ali’s specifications) with hot potato salad; lamb’s tongue with olives; baby cuttlefish with onion, green pepper and lemon; lamb’s cheeks with jasmine rice; fabulous koshary; baked kibbeh with walnuts and dates, the only dish I didn’t adore (a bit stodgy and sweet); the usual desserts with home-made yogurt and mint tea.
I brought a bottle of Gruner Veltliner and a flask of Aberlour single malt, courtesy of Simon, whose name was invoked with due reverence - as was Omni’s, of course. :D Dad brought Ali a big cigar. I knew they’d like each other, and I knew my stepmom would be as smitten with Ali as I am. Nephew didn’t talk much; he was too busy eating. Although when Robyn asked if Ali was married, the kid said, "You'll have to get in line behind Cathy."
Ali proudly showed us a recent Newsday article
about his Pharaonic goose. It's a very good portrait of him.
By the time we left, kid pictures had been passed around and bear hugs exchanged. Isn’t it fun to introduce people you love to restaurants you love?