Finally got around to trying Reef Café and it was everything I hoped itd be. I ordered the lamb/beef mixed shawarma (they had run out of a special that looked fantastic white kidney beans w/lamb). First I had the lentil soup, a fantastic, oily broth, obviously it had been on the stove a long time letting flavors mingle. The shawarma meat was a little tougher than I like, though its a matter of preference and in all it was wonderful. The meat and onions were piled high, with onions subtly cooked enough to make them tasty without being harsh. Underneath it all was the rice pilaf, which was plain white rice covered in a great yogurt sauce with a scant bit of crispy vermicelli. The Lebanese style tabbouleh was fantastic with not only good-sized pieces of parsley & tomatoes, but with little barely-pickled cucumber bits, complementing the freshness of it all. The pickled radish matchsticks were a nice touch as well.
Per the globe review (printed and laminated and set on every table) they have a traditional Lebanese hot sauce/paste available called mouhamara, which was very good though I dont think the pita bread was the best flavor delivery vehicle for it. Actually, I wasnt wild about the pita bread in general. The mouhamara is made from red peppers and other spices (a quick web search shows recipes using walnut & pomegranates), but to me, it tasted a lot like a harisa. Apparently they use a difficult to obtain version of mouhamara unavailable in Beirut, and only made in Damascus.
I also stopped by the Babushka deli on Washington Street in Allston/Brighton and picked up some kielbasa & some Russian-style salami. My grasp of the Russian language is tenuous at best, but dont call it kielbasa, try kole-bas. It was mighty tasty later that night simmered in beer and served up w/brown mustard and horseradish. The recent question about Czech food & kolaches got me craving poppyseeds & made me grab at the poppyseed danishes they have (poppyseed is one of my favorite kolache fillings) but this wasn't really the same sort of danish. Poppyseeds were drier and it was more a sweet poppyseed paste than the poppyseed jelly you might find in a Czech kolache. Ahh well.
Oh, question about Super 88 in Allston, specifically WHERE in the big Allston Super 88 are the Kaffir lime leaves? I saw them neither in the fresh herb area or the seasoning aisle near the produce.
On the other side of town, Salumeria Italiana has some pretty tasty pistachio mortadella thats going to serve as my brown bag lunch this week with some provolone (though Im not sure thats the ideal cheese with mortadella, but I dont know my cheeses well enough to come up with anything better).
Most of my travels were actually spent looking for the Walnut Acres brand of soups in jars - not cans, formerly available at most Whole Foods and favorite brand of the wife. If anyone has a tip on where to find them locally, let me know.
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