Last year in December, we dropped by the Soorp Khatch Armenian Dessert Festival. There will be another of those later this year, but meanwhile, this very weekend they are hosting “A Taste of Armenia,” which includes food you can eat before the sweet indulgences of the pastry table, with some candy and canned goods thrown in for fun.
There is a choice of three special plates of kebobs with pilaf, salad and bread, but we found that the more interesting choices lurked among the a la carte offerings. I assembled a lunch of four side dishes, and found them more than satisfying. A bar with beer and Armenian wine on offer rounded out the festive offerings.
Cheese filo boreg, imam bayeldi (baked eggplant), lahmajun (spiced meat spread on flatbread), and sarma/yalanchi (stuffed grape leaves) were all delicious. Armenian coffee with our dessert of kedayif (shredded filo [phyllo] stuffed with cheese and nuts) and a baton sale each (a specialty of the Lebanese Armenians) guaranteed that we would not be hungry again for quite awhile.
The scene in the hall for lunch was lively, but nothing compared to dinner service on the weekend – at least according to my informant, Irene, who brought our coffee (made to order). We had come on the first day (Thursday) because this weekend is overflowing with other events. Unfortunately, that meant we did not get to see the added attractions promised for the weekend, a merchant’s mall and arts and crafts among them.
But there were Attic Treasures in the main hall, and among them I found an old chef friend, Maro Nalabandian. She has been away for a year, but is back in the area. What a nice surprise!
The festival runs until 9 p.m. today (Thursday), from 12 to 9 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Go and eat!