Archive for the tag “Middle Eastern”

Casablanca and Next Generation UPAF – May 6th – Mark Your Calendar!

A little over a month ago, on a Monday night, I agreed to meet the man I had been out with a few times for dinner – prior to my leaving for Florida on a business trip.  He suggested (and made a reservation at, as he always does!) Casablanca on Brady Street.  Although we really enjoyed the delicious Middle Eastern food, I was more intent on enjoying the evening with the guy I would find myself dating, and then walking away from (aka: the eventual ex-boyfriend), than on taking photos to share in a blog post.

However, a few weeks later, through my affiliation with Next Generation UPAF, I found myself being hosted to another dining experience at Casablanca by a fellow Next Genner, Nadia, whose family owns the restaurant.  It was the perfect opportunity to take pictures and write a post! Oh, and to enjoy more delicious Middle Eastern food and traditions!

Nadia and her family have generously offered to host a fund raiser for UPAF on Wednesday May 6th, and she wanted a few people to come by and check out the restaurant, the food, and the Hookah.

I met Nadia at the upper level bar (Casablanca is a huge restaurant!).  She greeted me warmly and started to explain the concept of Hookah to me.  The flavors (citrus, mint, etc), the technique (think Clinton), and the social aspect of Hookah. When Nadia gave me my own mouthpiece, I sampled from her bowl.  I can honestly say that smoking Hookah isn’t “my thing”, but when in Rome…

At the bar, trying Hookah with Nadia.

At the bar, trying Hookah with Nadia.

Shortly thereafter, two others joined us, Craig and Kristi. Both work at Apex Systems, and have worked with Nadia in the past.  And, both were lovely folks – it was very easy to feel comfortable with these two!

Nadia, having checked out my blog, already knew that I would trust her and the servers to choose good food for me that evening.  And, they did!

We started with Adas Majrous (lentil soup) – which was wonderfully flavorful and had great consistency.

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Then, as we were enjoying casual conversation, we munched on some deliciously simple hummus and meat with warm, fresh pita bread.

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Our entrees were served quickly thereafter.  I was served chicken and beef kabobs with basmati rice.  A great combination of proteins and vegetables – all perfectly flavored.

IMG_1600During our dinner conversation, we talked about the event Casablanca will host on May 6th. From 5:30-8:30PM that evening, Casablanca will have guest bartenders from local businesses (including Nadia’s employer, Rockwell Automation).  The tips and a percentage of the bar take will be donated to the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).  There will be delicious a Middle Eastern food buffet, a complimentary round of drinks, prizes (vouchers for the performing arts), belly dancers and other entertainment throughout the evening.

We took a brief break to enjoy a few bites of a surprise delivery of baklava (yum!).  I ended up taking a few pieces home to share with my house guest and to munch on later!  And then continued with our conversation.

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With the space Casablanca offers, the FABULOUS food, and the generosity of the owners, this should be a fantastically fun evening out!  “Like” their Facebook page for more information about this event as well as “Classic Movie Night”, “wine and canvas”, and other special events.

I hope to see local folks on May 6th for a great night out in support of the performing arts!

Cheers!

Ker

Shish Garden, Woodhaven, MI

After months of procrastinating, my girlfriends and I finally managed to grab dinner together.  Two of the women were friends of a friend, and when we met last year, I immediately took a liking to them both. Wendy, is genuinely interested in people, candid, and has incredible wit, sprinkling several “quotes of the night” throughout our 2 1/2 hour conversation. And, Brandi has a quiet, unassuming genuine charm to her that makes her instantly trustworthy and truly pleasant to be around.  Both exceptional ladies – I’m not doing them justice with just a sentence apiece.  And, then there’s Dana, my coworker and friend.  A fireball of personality and quick-witted humor.  We make for a really fun dynamic at the dinner table.  And, to the men of the greater Detroit area – we’re all single women! 😉

We met close to their homes at Shish Garden in Woodhaven.

Shish Garden Menu

It’s a Middle Eastern fare restaurant, and though I’ve had a few ME meals since I moved to Michigan (ethnic food is abundant here!), I don’t necessarily feel comfortable choosing my meal. Hommous aside!

Hommous and fresh baked pitas.

I asked Mariesa, our waitress, to choose my dinner for me.  She gave me a slightly odd look, but then said okay and went off to place our orders. She came back a few minutes later to see if I had a preference for chicken, beef, or lamb – to which I replied “nope!”.  So, off she went again.  My friends all ordered perfectly portioned sandwiches and they knew I was getting a full entrée when Mariesa brought me a Fattoosh salad to start the evening.  It was a really delicious salad – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, tossed in herb dressing and covered with toasted pita chips.  It was also big enough to be my entire meal!  Indeed, I needed a box to take most of it home.

Fattoosh Salad

After the salad, when my friends were served their small sandwiches, I was served a heaping plate of seasoned chicken, grilled vegetables, and rice.  I was told it was the Classic Ghallaba plate, with chicken and rice.

Ghallaba with chicken and rice.

The flavors were tremendous!  It was a wonderful choice by Mariesa.  I also needed a big box to take leftovers home.  I’m guessing I have at least three more meals to go before I come close to finishing this one!  But, it’s so tasty, I don’t think I’ll have trouble eating leftovers (typically not my favorite thing).

My friends were so supportive as we talked about this blog, and they all read (and LOVED!!) Jerod’s story while at the table. They also admitted to being indecisive at times too, and I think they might be inspired to give their servers a chance to surprise them sometime in the future – even if it’s only making a choice amongst two or three dishes.  Baby steps!

No waiting another six months or so for a lovely girls’ night out!

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