Monday, March 26, 2007
Persian Garden. Elle and I entered Hatam's on B street in San Rafael and were immediately greeted with the sweet smell of hyacinth placed artfully throughout the store. Might it be because of the Persian New Year just celebrated last week? I had promised Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms to reciprocate after the lovely introduction of La Dolce V in Sebastopol by indroducing her to a hidden treasure in Marin. Elle also blogged about our Persian adventure. Yes, this PhD journey is impinging on my blogging~ so this post is not as prompt as Elle's. I have to say that Hatam's was a hit. The chef/owner was gracious as usual and we started our eating adventure with some appetizers.
First the lavash with feta, mint, basil and butter came forth with our cardamom tea as customary.
Elle had a fresh cucumber, tomato and onion salad. She said it was crisp and went well with the richness of her next dish, the Fesenjoon.
I wanted to try the lamb's tongue, but it was not ready for lunch time, so I tried the koo koo, an Persian omelet with herbs.
Elle tried the Fesenjoon, which is a celebratory Persian lamb dish integrating ground walnuts and pomegranate into the sauce.
I thoroughly enjoyed the combination kebob plate, the spices were just right and the chicken was moistly succulent. The ground beef kebob was also just right.
Our host, as he sometimes does, brought out a tray of festive desserts as his treat, some palmiers and Persian marzipan which seemed to be flavored with rosewater and cardamom. After finishing this leisurely meal and catching up, we let ourselves loose on the small grocery store in front. I put my snaps of this in the slide show at the head of this post. There are so many cool and delightful things to try!
One of the interesting things were some miniature pears, which the owner informed us were specially grown from imported Persian seed and were the sweetest, most delicious pears he'd ever tasted. I bought some to take home to my father. This place has never failed to delight with exotic spices and interesting syrups and teas. I blogged about Hatam's a couple years ago when I discovered barbari bread and French feta with sour cherries. It is also my secret spice treasure trove as they prices are significantly less expensive for some of my favorites (e.g. dried hibiscus flowers) than other places. If you are interested in tea, you can buy a beautiful Persian tea set, and drink Persian tea the old-fashioned way by putting an irregularly shaped sugar cube in the front of your mouth, and sipping the hot, specially blended tea through it. If you have questions about how to use some of the things, the chef/owner is very patient with explanations. He also mentioned that he will have some Persian cookbooks in stock next week. This place is not fancy, but it is rich with charm and old world delights.