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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

You Say Tomato!

I love a BLT sandwich.  If I make a batch of bacon I will make BLTs until the bacon is gone.  Once when I did this I realized I still had lettuce and tomatoes leftover and I still wanted a sandwich.  I decided to try it without the bacon - an LT if you will.  It was delicious.  My taste buds were so conditioned to taste bacon when eating toast with mayo, lettuce and tomato that I almost believed my sandwich contained bacon.

But whoever heard of a Tomato Sandwich?  Well, if you have read Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh you know all about them.  A Tomato Sandwich was the only thing Harriet ate for lunch all through grade school.  No matter what was suggested for lunch the answer was always the same.  "Tomato".

A tomato sandwich is tasty.  A tomato sandwich with lettuce and mayonnaise is tasty too.  A tomato sandwich with mayonnaise and lettuce on toast is one step away from a BLT both in ingredients and in deliciousness factor.

Next time you crave a BLT and don't have any bacon handy, make some toast, slice a tomato and wash & dry some lettuce.  Spread the toast with mayo and top with your fixings.  Note:  I almost always have to eat this over the sink if the tomatoes are juicy.

BLT memories - at work, if there was any bacon left over from breakfast, the lunch ladies would move it to the sandwich station to make BLT sandwiches until the bacon ran out.  One day, there was bacon and I ordered a BLT.  The lunch lady took pride in fanning the lettuce "just so" and layering the tomato artfully upon it.  She spread my toast with mayo, laid on the fan of L & T then held up 7 slices of bacon.  She put three on my sandwich, then another, then pondered the three remaining slices.  After a few seconds she shrugged and put all of them on my sandwich.  Fair is fair, right?

Quotable Quotes; in the category You Thought I Was Going With Homer Simpson, Didn't You?

"I unfortunately still crave chicken McNuggets and bacon, which is the meat candy of the world."
Katy Perry

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Welcome In!

That is what the waitress told us the name of the restaurant means.  We stopped at Hala In yesterday for the first time.  This small storefront opened 2 years ago and we discovered the neighborhood mail coupon, about to expire, in a stack of old mail, so we set off to see if we might find a new favorite Mediterranean restaurant close to home.

Hala In is small - just 9 tables (some pushed together to make tables for 8).  Decor is simple, service fast and friendly and the food excellent.  The menu ranges from a vegetarian combo for $7 to chicken, beef and lamb dishes and combos ranging from $7 to $15.

Whatever you choose to order, start with a small dish of superlative hummus for less than $2 (a larger portion is also available).  The hummus was creamy, smooth and perfectly seasoned with a pool of lemony olive oil in the center and generous pinches of spices adorning the rim.  The pita was so hot we had to let it cool before tearing off a piece for dipping.

My vegetarian combo consisted of more of that wonderful hummus and equally delicious baba ghanouj, creamy and mild with a smoky kick.  Taboule chock full of parsley, felafel and stuffed grape leaves (2 each) rounded out the platter.

Mr. ordered the Combo Plate ($10).  Pieces of beef kabob, kifta kabob and chicken kabob with a mound of chicken shawerma topped with slivered onion and ground sumac.  I tasted everything and everything was delicious, especially the perfectly cooked rice pilaf.  The combo came with a small salad of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion with a light vinaigrette.  Just right.

Fearful that Mr. might not have enough to eat we opted for an extra hummus just to be sure.  We needn't have bothered.  We were both full beyond comfort but I still insisted on finishing every grain of rice, it was that good.

With our coupon the bill ran to $15.  Without we would have had trouble topping it out at $20.  The restaurant does not have a web site but you can order online at Halainrestaurant@yahoo.com.

Quotable quotes; in the category I can see how they're both important!

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."  Fran Lebowitz