Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Petra Mediterranean

In DC, I was very lucky to have close friends with roots in the Mediterranean: Miss Bridget lived in Morocco in college and brought spices and tagines back with her, cooking up a mighty Moroccan feast on more than one occasion; and my old friend Banu, who disappeared off the face of the earth when she joined the DIA (this happens sometimes in DC), who is half Turkish and used to read my coffee grounds after dinner at Zaytinya downtown. We would also wait for the lamb truck to come down Connecticut Ave. so we could get melt-in-your-mouth gyros at Yanni's Greek Taverna.

Not too long ago, I shared my experiences about one of the many little coffee joints in Bethlehem, Java Mill. Since then, Java's Brewin' (the one in the building where Melting Pot is moving in) has closed, and Java Mill (the one next to Chocolate Lab and Rippers) has closed, too - it's now Petra Mediterranean. When I ducked in out of the rain, the owner, Elias Salameh, mentioned that there is a $9.00 lunch buffet and a few patrons encouraged me to come back for couscous tomorrow. He and his family used to run a Moroccan restaurant in Jordan so you'd better believe they know their couscous!

In the meantime, here's a little snack to tide you over... some lamb in spicy pasta, muhamara (dip made with walnuts, pomegranate, molasses, toasted bread crumbs, olive oil, roasted bell peppers and spices), and tabbouleh (fine bulgur wheat soaked in lemon juice, fine chopped parsley, tomatoes, green onions and seasoned with olive oil and mild spices). Anneke, please teach me to properly photograph food. All I can say is, I have never tasted anything like the muhamara but now that I have had it, I'm hooked. Everything was fresh and delicious.

Here's the menu:
Once it quits rainin', they plan to put out lots of tables and chairs for an al fresco dining experience, but in the meantime, we can stop in for lunch, takeout, or an early BYOB dinner. The menu boasts some familiar dishes, and family recipes which received rave reviews from a couple of friendly patrons I met.

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