Whenever B and I venture out to eat, we try to avoid the big corporate chain restaurants and instead go to the ‘mom and pop’ places that our town has to offer. One such place is a little restaurant tucked in a side street by a major thoroughfare. The majority of the one-room joint is filled with small tables, and the space is illuminated by candles and Christmas lights. A wall is lined with shelves full of products from overseas (tea, spices, cookies, oil) and there is always lively music playing. This restaurant is run by a sweet Iranian family who serve some of the most amazing food I have ever eaten in my life. Zatar bread, chicken souvlaki or biryani, jasmine rice with saffron, falafels and gyros, along with tzaziki sauce I could drink! The food can be a little expensive but it is a price we’re willing to pay to keep local business going and help this family out. We’re always greeted with friendly smiles and now, since we’ve been patrons at this restaurant for several years, we are enjoying talking with the family bit by bit and getting to know them better.
The other night as we stood at the cash register to pay for our dinner, my eyes wandered over to the shelves to see what new products they had. As I scanned the items, I zeroed in on one thing . . . halva.
I let out a little squeal of joy, told B about my find and we quickly bought the item, excited to try it at home.
What is halva, exactly?
Why, it’s just plain goodness! Okay, but really, it is a dessert based on tahini (sesame paste) and is shaped like a block. We’d had this dessert at the restaurant before but they no longer serve it. So I was quite surprised to find it on the shelves, all packed and ready to go, calling my name. Mmmm . . . we got halva with pistachios. Simply scrumptious and a bit fattening (but hey, who’s counting calories when you’re eating something this delectable?!).
I love that as I’ve grown older, my picky-ness at food has waned and my palate has developed an adventurous taste. I credit it to my upbringing in a Filipino household, along with numerous trips to various countries abroad (and eating whatever was placed in front of me, no questions asked).
And though I am not rich nor knowledgeable enough to cook and eat gourmet food, I’m always ready for a culinary adventure. As I was telling a good friend the other night, just because we don’t have much money doesn’t mean we can’t eat well! 😉