Foodie Friday: A Shakespearean Tragedy, Part I

A cool, clear Saturday night was the perfect time to watch the closing weekend performance of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of Othello. How great it felt, in the midst of such a hot and humid summer, to be sitting outside in jeans and a jacket and still feel cold! Oh, I’m happy for it now, but remind me about this when that same ground I was sitting upon is buried under feet of snow. This year’s production was set in what seemed to be WWII era, with men in military uniforms and tall boots and women in chic suits and/or “saloon wear.” Overall it was a beautiful evening, a FREE yearly event and a wonderful performance. However, this is Foodie Friday afterall, so I must discuss the nourishment.

Prior to traipsing across town to Boston Common, we dined at Helmand in Cambridge. A-MA-ZING! I had been wanting to try this restaurant for a while now and it did not disappoint. Sadly, the menu is not on the website but my husband did snag a printed menu about a year ago (he had been once before) – the older menu seems a bit but not too different. The descriptions are from the older menu. Loved watching the action at the wood-burning brick oven, where freshly baked flatbread was kneaded, shaped, cooked and cut before our eyes. Delivered piping hot, there was a selection of dipping sauces. One was yogurt, one like a coriander chutney and a 3rd was spicy and red – I didn’t try that one. For a party of 3, we had 3 starters and 2 entrees. The shared plates included KADDO (pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce), AUSHAK (ravioli filled with leeks and scallions served on a sauce of yogurt, mint and garlic) and MANTWO (homemade pastry shells filled with onions and beef, served on yogurt and topped with carrots, yellow split peas and beef sauce). One of the specials was a trout, which had some type of spice rub with a little kick and was perfectly cooked. We also had a rice entree, QABELEE (pallow rice baked with chunks of lamb shanks and raisins). PALLOW rice is described as rice boiled then drained, seasoned with canola oil, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin seed and black pepper then baked. We finished the meal by sharing a slice of pineapple cake.

I didn’t take any pictures. We didn’t really even speak but to say, “This is so good!” “This is awesome!” “I’m so full and I can’t stop eating!” In fact, upon leaving I wondered when I could come back. I’m not really a huge lamb fan but it was incredible. The pumpkin starter I probably could eat daily. It was that good!

Why is this part I? Well, next week come back to learn how I tried to recreate some similar flavor profiles at home.

(This was 100% my opinion, we paid for the meal in full, there was no discussion of reviews or blogs. I just wanted to talk about a restaurant meal I loved and if you’re in the Boston area, you might like to check it out too).


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