Mediterranean food adventure

Looks like the food adventures of the new year have begun. This Mediterranean food adventure was totally unplanned. We were parked and walking towards Baja, our favorite Mexican food joint, for lunch when we noticed this newly-opened Mediterranean restaurant straight ahead.

Okay, so you wanna give this place a try? we were asking each other. I don’t think I’ve had Mediterranean food before. Well, okay, I may or may not have had a couple of bites off a shish kebab sandwich once, if that even counts.

We walked up to the restaurant to get a closer look at their posters. Frankly, some of these well-intentioned food posters tell me absolutely nothing about what I’m going to get if I were to order those items. I can venture a guess but I really can’t be sure.

Someone pops out from behind the glass door and cheerfully hands us each a small flyer with a bunch of unfamiliar food names, then promptly disappears (which is kinda nice). Goodness knows how annoying it is to have restaurant staff shouting out welcomes, shoving flyers in your face and chasing after you as you walk away. It just tells you how desperate they are to get you to eat their – bad food?

Anyhow, standing out in the cold trying to decipher the flyer on an empty stomach was the last thing we needed. No matter how many times we read the flyer, none of us got much further than the words shish and pilaf. The rest of the food items might as well have been names of asteroids in another universe light years away.

At some point, the wind started blowing and we decided, okay, that’s it, we’re going in. The big man behind the counter flashed a huge friendly smile and asked if we were new to Mediterranean food. I’m pretty sure he already knew the answer to that. He embarked on explaining everything. Finally it was all making three-dimensional sense.

We only ordered one plate to share, just in case. That’s us, picky eaters who don’t like to waste food. The man was very understanding and handed us a single plate piled high with 2 sticks of chicken shish, rice pilaf, white beans, pita bread, salad, jajik and baklava. It’s all good. Just keep that humus far, far away please LOL!

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I know. That’s a lot of carbs. But don’t expect me to say, I’ll eat my carbs now and tomorrow I’ll swim the Pacific from end to end to make up for it. I feel no carb guilt. Seriously where would we be without carbs? How did we even get to adulthood if our parents never fed us carbs eh? Something to think about.

So you’re dying to know, did I like the food? Looking at the deep red tomato-based chicken, I was expecting the flavor to be intense. But it turned out to be pretty mild. We ordered the spicy version too but to a seasoned spicy eater like me, I barely sensed any heat. Maybe it’s been toned down for the American palette. If you know what this Mediterranean chicken is supposed to taste like, please let me know. But yeah, the chicken tasted okay.

As for the jajik, a creamy white dip made with Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic and olive oil, loved it! In fact, we couldn’t get enough of the two big bottles we bought at Costco last year. And of course, we loved the baklava, a Mediterranean dessert made with Phyllo pastry and honey. Absolutely delicious. So sad that we got such a small piece *sobs*.

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Right after this meal, we marched straight across to Baja for “Lunch, Part Two, The Conclusion”! Tada, our Grilled Shrimp Salad aka yummiest thing ever, as always! No surprises! We gobbled up every last bean (pinto and black), every last tortilla chip, every last bit of diced tomato and avocado, every last shrimp… ’nuff said!

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From the Mediterranean to Mexico, this was one fabulous food outing on a winter’s day. Guess we’re richer from having tried yet another cuisine we’ve never tried before.

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