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Lebanese hamburger

Thi N. | Jun 19, 2002 08:52 PM

A pleasant, unexpected thing: stopped in at Sunnin on Westwood, near UCLA. My schwarma was good, not great. Companion ordered a dish of ground beef and bulgher wheat pounded together, over rice. I've had this before, raw, at some Armenian places - it's a little, er, scary, and I speak as a man who truly loves meat as raw as he can get it - I speak as a man who has very much enjoyed chicken sashimi, though not so much the food poisoning afterwards. The beef and bulgher wheat combo kind of emphasizes the sliminess of raw ground beef. It is sticky and gooey and sort of makes me think of mushed maggot.

But Sunnin, the stuff came cooked, a big rectangle hunk of burger patty plopped onto some rice. Looked completely unappetizing. But damn tasty. Flavor is at first calm - tastes pretty much like a burger - but after some consideration, opens up. The bulgher wheat, cooked, gives a pleasant, warm, nuttiness, which wraps around under the beef. Kind of like how the flavor of fresh pancake wraps around underneath the flavor of banans. Subtle. And then some gentle spicing, I don't know what. Very tasty.

Anyway - not as fine as some of the Armenian places far east, but for Westside, pretty damn nice.

Next to me I saw a Lebanese man consult the lady behind the counter and order something not on the menu or the specials board - some kind of squash cooked with bits of meat in some luscious smelling brown sauce. Looked like a mess of brown, but every time he forked open a pile of sludge it turned out to be beautiful orange stringy squash. He kept sighing and rolling his eyes back with every bite. I asked the lady behind the counter - the shortest one with a hair net, who seemed to be watching the guy and smiling like a madwoman everytime he liked a bite. She said she only made it once in a while. I asked her why it wasn't on the specials board. She grinned at me and didn't say anything.


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