I am a terrible creature of habit. In the spirit of trying to branch out, I decided to try a new restaurant. I do not have time to cook every night but I at least try to get good food for our family to eat. This is not always an easy feat, whether I’m cooking or not. My husband is a huge carnivore, I’m almost vegan, and our little one is gluten intolerant. Words cannot adequately describe my surprise and delight upon discovering this restaurant. I believe they call it “Mediterranean” because unfortunately “Halal cuisine” I fear would not go over very well; to me Mediterranean is Greek. The place turned out to have a huge buffet and, to my complete shock, apparently Halal food does not use gluten, or wheat as we know it in the states. So EVERYTHING is gluten free! My little one could eat ANYTHING there and they even had two different kinds of rice, something she normally cannot eat. For my husband they had red meat, chicken, and fish. And pour moi they had the best hummus I have EVER had (like savory silk,) and *drumroll please* the BEST FALAFELS EVER!!! This picture just does not do them justice. The only thing that has ever come close were the ones I had on Bowling Green in New York. I didn’t even know the white sauce was tahini back then; I just knew it was great with the hot sauce. My husband and little one eat them plain they’re so good. They also have wonderful flat bread my little one calls pizza. It’s excellent dipped in the hummus. Plus they have green beans and onions in tomato sauce, a yellow lentil soup, okra and tomatoes, and other hot vegetable dishes. I’m telling you the place is incredible. As a person who cares deeply about animals, I feel better knowing my family is eating halal or kosher, since both Muslims and Jews observe strict laws about the swift slaughter of animals; unlike the unthinkable duress they are put through here in American factory farms. This restaurant is an oasis for our little family. The men could not be nicer and one of them even has a black belt in taekwando! They are all recent immigrants and I cannot help but recognize they have made our lives richer. I taught my little one to say “thank you” in Arabic and they clearly see the cross I always wear around my neck. No one is trying to convert the other; we all are just trying to live good lives with our families. The 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt said:
“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.”
I for one look to that horizon with hope. We enjoy visiting with our new friends from Syria and Jordan. Unfortunately, I know there will be fighting … over who gets the last falafel.