Sunday, July 10, 2005

1921 SW 6th Ave, Portland, 97201

That's the address of Abu Rasheed, possibly the best little lebanese restaurant in Portland.

I'm not quite sure what you think of lebanese food, but one thing is true: after afternoons and evenings of college pasta, there is something to be said about fresh cut halloumi cheese, kebabs grilled in tomato sauce [slowly, and to perfection], and chicken shawarma with rice, yoghurt and tabbouleh that rolls tenderly over your palate like the gentle bosom of a sea wench on the HMS Seagull upon the pacific, murmuring blue-green-purpleness...

[...I of course assume the metaphor. Pirates not being a part of the extended family, inspite of my wistful longings as a child...]

... Baladi.

Which means, "coming from home" or "authentic", in Arabic. Which is the word one of my Jordanian friends and fellow PLUS student used to describe the food at Abu Rasheed. And while saying it, her eyes lit up, she laughed and spoke arabic with the family who runs the restaurant [like most lebanese restaurants here, its self-owned]and smiled and waved her hands over the food- As the rest of us did, except the arabic part.

The food was perfection. And the hookah that came afterwards?

[NB- 'The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
`Who are you?' said the Caterpillar']


Blissful Baladi, last night's dinner and post dinner peace-hookah session was.

Double apple, out of a green burbling, gurgling bottle, through a friendly pipe with a wooden stem that seemed to cordially smile as your fingers wrapped around it. Watching the 12 go by, burbling like gods of the desert.

Never underestimate the power of the hubbly-bubbly. Or so I said to myself, eyes closed, sardined into the back of a big yellow taxi which I managed-- quite gracefully-- to wobble my way into.

It put Caroll's three inch high, laconic, blue creation into perpective. Only a bug on bubbly could've said- "That is not quite right"...


'Not quite right, I'm afraid,' said Alice, timidly; some of the words have got altered.'

`It is wrong from beginning to end,' said the Caterpillar decidedly, and there was silence for some minutes.

The Caterpillar was the first to speak.

`What size do you want to be?' it asked.

`Oh, I'm not particular as to size,' Alice hastily replied; `only one doesn't like changing so often, you know.'

`I don't know,' said the Caterpillar.

Alice said nothing: she had never been so much contradicted in her life before, and she felt that she was losing her temper.

`Are you content now?' said the Caterpillar.

`Well, I should like to be a little larger, sir, if you wouldn't mind,' said Alice: `three inches is such a wretched height to be.'

`It is a very good height indeed!' said the Caterpillar angrily, rearing itself upright as it spoke (it was exactly three inches high).

`But I'm not used to it!' pleaded poor Alice in a piteous tone. And she thought of herself, `I wish the creatures wouldn't be so easily offended!'

`You'll get used to it in time,' said the Caterpillar; and it put the hookah into its mouth and began smoking again.

This time Alice waited patiently until it chose to speak again. In a minute or two the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and yawned once or twice, and shook itself. Then it got down off the mushroom, and crawled away in the grass, merely remarking as it went, `One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.'

`One side of what? The other side of what?' thought Alice to herself.

`Of the mushroom,' said the Caterpillar, just as if she had asked it aloud; and in another moment it was out of sight."
-(Caroll, Lewis. Alice's adventures in Wonderland, 1865)


`Keep your temper,' said the Caterpillar. And in a city filled with cafeteria food, assignments, tests and like Alice, the strange need to be bigger and smaller and-not-knowing-which-is-best-

That is some bloody good advice.


A Hairy Snail said...

did ya know that lewis caroll was a mathmatician? heh heh. i have hope still.