Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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A Trip to Armenia...sort of

Tonight's south bay Peace Corps dinner was different than I expected. First of all, we had a full house, with about 15 people (there was really only room for 12, but we improvised).

The place was Amanor Deli Bakery, 856 West El Camino Real, Mountain View, and was billed as "Alla Gharibian, an Armenian immigrant, SJSU graduate, and co-owner of the restaurant, will talk about Armenia past and present. Her husband Njdeh will prepare a delicious sampler of Armenian cuisine."

What actually happened was Alla re-arranged the small deli so all the tables (meant to seat 2 people each) were pushed together in a row, set with colorful plates, silverware and napkins, and then she and Njdeh started bringing out food. Kind of like tapas, it was a very filling meal of appetizers. They just kept coming. String cheese marinated in oil and spices, cured beef sliced paper-thin, a variety of wonderful fresh baguette style breads, two kinds of hummus, dolmas to die for, dried home made salami (elliptical instead of round), Armenian cole slaw, chopped spiced eggplant, a yogurt-based cold soup with assorted vegetables, and pita-like bread stuffed with two different offerings - a kind of farmer's cheese, and chopped spinach. For dessert there was Armenian coffee in a demitasse cup, or tea, and a small square of cake which was similar to carrot cake, but a little more dense.

Alla never got the chance to give her talk, mostly because it took a long time for us to sample each course, but also I think she didn't want to interrupt the several lively conversations we were having. About half the people were newcomers to the group, one fellow, Kendall, showed up whom I had not seen in about 10 years, when he was treasurer and I was newsletter editor on the board of the NorCal Peace Corps group.

The food was all excellent, and I'm sure I'll go there as a customer soon.

Across the street from the Deli is Frankie Johnnie & Luigi Too, which is where the boss took us for lunch today. We made reservations for the 8 of us at 11:45, and when we arrived the place was almost empty. Very strange. At that time 5 years ago, there would have been a line down the block. The food was superb, portions were huge, the service excellent, and the prices reasonable. The only thing I can think of to account for the lack of customers would be the economy, which is going down the drain slowly but surely.

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