This is a post written while I travel in Iran.
The other day, someone treated me to lunch in a truly sublime cafe in one of the northern neighborhoods of Tehran.
Days earlier while I was traveling in Yazd there had been an epic hailstorm in Tehran — a storm front that huffed and puffed and hours later made its potent presence felt in Yazd as well, ferociously shaking the lion and sun fabric of the tent ceiling of the coffee shop at the beautiful traditional hotel we were staying at, and delaying our flight from Yazd to Tehran — but on this particular spring day, the weather was just so, and just as one dreams of it being: breezy, clear, cheerfully sunny and perfectly mild.
We chose an outdoor seat, in a clearing lined by cypress tress on one side and surrounded by other tables occupied by what seemed to be a bunch of uniformly very pretty and very trendy Tehranis. Several arrivals were such spectacles that everyone stopped whatever they were doing and stared at the display of fashion and bravado … (if you know what I mean by bravado, ahem.) There was also a very beautiful and somewhat unabashedly communicative cat (such pretty eyes and such a fluffy coat of fur) who was not at all shy about demanding his fair share of food from the gathering at large.
Everything — the location, the menu, the architecture, the landscaping and the food (and beverage and dessert) — was delightful in a low key and gracious manner. Our interlude was leisurely but I was loathe to leave and felt like I could hang out there and nibble, imbibe, people-watch, sky-gaze and admire my beloved cypress trees for days and days!
What follows are some pix from this little marvelous lunch and the good things there were to enjoy.
We had the chicken tandoori wrapped in lavash bread and a kabab wrap. We also shared a terrific salad: crunchy lettuce, olives, feta cheese and crispy pita bread chips served with the most amazingly tart & sweet pomegranate dressing. I loved this salad.
For our drink, I picked …
A lemon, mint and sekanjabin (a mixture of vinegar and honey) drink with crushed ice that was the ultimate in cool fragrant refreshment and with just the perfect hint of sweetness. A winning choice.
My companio picked a pot of the soothing gol gav zaban (borage) brewed tea. It was served in the prettiest way on a little tray with saffron rock candy (nabat) on a stick and two pieces of a Yazdi sweet called Haji Badoom. I wish you could have seen the color of this tea — a very pale purple and rose color although in the photo it just looks like ordinary tea color.
For dessert we shared a wonderful traditional Persian ice cream …
that was sprinkled with solid chips of cream (khameh) …
Need I even mention that it tasted heavenly?
So now you see why I could really have happily spent hours there and would love to go back at least one more time before I return to New York. Meanwhile, I’m off to Shiraz and Kermanshah and I can’t wait to sample the culinary marvels of these cities and share it with you.
Have a delicious weekend and until soon!