An Eggplant’s Life Goal: Die at Zahav

Dishes Ten, Eleven, and Twelve: Hummus with Laffa (on the list twice) and Lamb Shoulder at Zahav, 2nd and Dock St, http://www.zahavrestaurant.com

I made an Excel sheet. I’ve done fairly well for myself thus far, mostly thanks my obsessive organization and uncanny ability to meet people under strange circumstances. I made an Excel sheet with every dish, restaurant, address, and a location marker—Center City; Italian Market; “AC” for Atlantic City, for example—and the order in which I tried the dish. And would you like to know what I found?

There are only 238 dishes.

I counted them three times, forwards and backwards. I matched the names of the dishes. I re-ordered the cells on Excel. There are only 238.

But there are more important things in life.

Katie O., Steph and I went to Zahav, which is awesome because you feel cool just by being there. It feels like a place that cool people would hang out. We ordered the hummus and laffa, which found the rare balance between tahini, chickpeas, and olive oil; not greasy, not too creamy, not gritty. The theme of the night—everything was “not” too anything, it was all perfectly right.

The laffa was lightly peppered and hot out of the laffa-oven, and very pleasant to eat. Then Katie and Steph chose the chocolate semifreddo, which is a thick layer of mousse sitting on a crust, with candied kumquats spooned onto it. It resembles Cool Whip pie, and tastes like a Kinder bar with kumquats. The kumquats were the star- the citrus was so crisp it was like having a mouth full of Florida. Citrus and Kinder bars—of course! Of course!

I chose the Romanian; it seemed appropriate to replace the lamb shoulder with another meat dish. The Romanian is three chunks of hanger steak and three chunks of eggplant, with a big schmear of roasted red pepper chutney. The steak was so juicy that none of us wanted to chew it because we didn’t want it to end, and the eggplant was very—eggplanty. I wish I could explain how it all tasted, but I don’t know the words—juicy?—flavorful, I guess, and the most eggplant-y an eggplant can be, and the most steak-y a steak can be. How does it work? I don’t know. Some of us use Excel and planners to achieve our potential, but apparently all an eggplant has to do is end its short vegetarian life at Zahav.

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