We walked home from the park and said our goodbyes to Anya. And then I think we actually…gasp!…had a little rest!
But you have to eat, you know. I really wanted my parents to try Georgian food. The Internet said there was a good restaurant right across the street from our apartment:
The Saperavi Cafe styles itself as “modern” Georgian food, so I was slightly worried that it would be more modern and less Georgian, but I shouldn’t have worried. The interior was so cozy:
We settled in and ordered a bottle of red Georgian wine. Then came the challenging task of decoding the menu for my parents. They had been given what was ostensibly an English menu, but…well, this is how the”English” menu began: “Ajapsandali and gebjalia, pkhali and pelamushi are cooked according to ancient Mingrelian recipes and in proper utensil. ” So this is where I really have to hand it to my parents for being adventurous. I asked them if they would let me order for all of us, and, having no clue whatsoever what we would eat, they trusted me.
Luckily Georgian food is an easy sell to anyone. The flavors are certainly unusual, but they’re not in any way an acquired taste. It’s not hot & spicy, nothing is particularly bitter or sour, there aren’t any troublesome textures or outlandish ingredients. Georgia borders Turkey and is quite close to Iran, so the food is almost Middle-Eastern, but not quite.
You know how a typical Middle Eastern restaurant serves hummus? Well, in Georgia they have something vaguely akin to it: pkhali. Pkhali refers to a kind of paste made from finely minced vegetables and spices. We started our dinner off with a selection of five: red bean, green bean, asparagus, spinach, and eggplant. The vegetables are mixed with ground walnuts, onions, garlic, and herbs.
Along with the pkhali, we had stewed eggplant and tomato (my personal favorite), as well as turkey in walnut sauce. Our main dish was grilled pork and lamb kebabs. As always, the highlight of any Georgian meal is khachapuri, the gooey, melty cheese bread:
We basically ate ourselves into a coma, but we had to try their desserts. Dad had honeycake (the one I make at home is better….ahem) and Mom had a dessert I had never heard of called pelamushi, described on the menu as a “grape and corn dessert.” I did some searching on the Internet and apparently it’s made with pressed, condensed grape juice and corn flour. So it was a…pudding? A grapey, eggless flan? Very hard to describe. Here’s a photo:
As with all Georgian food, it was very unusual but entirely delicious.
We could hear the tail end of the fireworks as we stepped out of the restaurant into the cool night, but we missed seeing them.
Stuffed and happy we returned to the apartment. Earlier, we had fashioned a flower vase out of a plastic water bottle to hold all the flowers Mom and Dad had been given. I took the Russian flag and added it to the bouquet.