January 13th, 2008

Brookline Family Restaurant

As anyone who has spent any time with me knows, I get food cravings. And because I like tasting new things, sometimes these cravings are oddly specific. This time, I wanted Adana Kebab.

At first, I thought Cafe Anatolia might have it, so I made bedfull_o_books drive me there. Sadly, despite their name, they don't actually make much Turkish food. A search for Turkish food in Boston turned up the Boston Kebab House, which I'll need to write up sometime, because it was a favorite lunch place for cmeckhardt and me, back when our work locations made it convenient. Unfortunately, Boston Kebab House closes at 8PM. But there was another alternative listed: Brookline Family Restaurant! Open until 11. And their online menu said they served Adana Kebab!

Brookline Family Restaurant
305 Washington Street
Brookline, MA 02445
T: Green Line D Branch to Brookline Village
phone: +1.617.277.4466
fax: +1.617.277.4140
Mo-We: 0700-2200
Th-Sa: 0700-2300
Su: 0800-2200
Cards: MC/Visa/AmEx/Discover

True to its name, Brookline Family Restaurant does have an unassuming family restaurant sort of way about it: with padded booths along one wall and tables in the center, like a thousand other family restaurants all over America. But the food is something else entirely.

It's probably because there just hasn't been that much Turkish immigration into the States that its food has been overshadowed by its neighbors Greece to the west and Iran to the east. And it does share some similarities with both, with kebabs and rice featuring prominently on the menu. But it would be a mistake to assume that's all there is to Turkish cuisine.

Brookline Family Restaurant gives a good sample of the variety of Turkish food: while the standards, like doner, kofte, and shish kebab are all on the menu, there are also items like alabalik, a whole brook trout, char-grilled or pan-fried, and sebzeli guvec, a vegetable casserole served with rice.

We both started with cups of lemon chicken rice soup ($2.95), which had nice, bite-sized chunks of white meat in the thick lemony soup. It arrived with excellent Turkish bread, as well as a bean salad with diced tomatoes and cucumbers.

I got the Adana Kebab ($13.95) which comes as two long strips of minced lamb, mixed with crushed red pepper and , lying across two beds: one of rice pilaf and one of bulgur wheat, garnished with parsley, and served with sliced onions, quartered tomatoes, and shredded carrots. A couple of grilled green peppers laid along side the lamb completed the attractive presentation.

Adana Kebab is, in its home town of Adana, in Southeastern Turkey, often a spicy dish, but its level of heat can be reduced as you go north and west. Here, the kebab has just enough bite to keep your attention, but isn't by any means wildly spicy.

bedfull_o_books ordered mantı, from the handwritten specials menu. These little pasta pockets are a bit like tiny curled up tortellini, and were served lightly tossed in a red sauce, with a generous dish of yogurt that one could top them off with. (I stole some of the yogurt for some of my Adana Kebab, too.) They were served with the pasta still nicely chewy, and I found them delightful, with little bits of flavorful ground meat within.

For dessert, we shared a sweetened pumpkin slice, garnished with what bedfull_o_books identified as ground almond ($3.50). We almost couldn't finish it, as we'd already had too much food.

Turkish tea ($1.50), served in the traditional tulip-shaped glasses and drunk with sugar, was the perfect accompaniment to our meals. Beer and wine are also available.
  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased
  • Tags

Some Debt Trends Are Good. This Isn’t One of Them.

As if the mortgage crisis weren't enough of a problem for the credit markets...

From http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/12/business/12charts.htm:
American credit card debt is growing at the fastest rate in years, a fact that may signal coming trouble for the banks that issue them.

The surge in credit card borrowing comes as credit card default rates are gradually rising, albeit from low levels, and may reflect the fact that it has become harder for consumers to borrow against the value of their homes, both because home values have fallen in many markets and because mortgage lending standards have tightened.

Increases in outstanding credit card debt can indicate a strong economy, as confident consumers spend more, or it can indicate the opposite, as troubled consumers find it harder to pay their bills. The fact that the November increases in credit card debt came during what appears to have been a weak holiday shopping season could be an indication of the latter.

The holiday sales data indicated that consumers cut back in late 2007. But the consumer credit numbers would seem to indicate that they wound up further in debt anyway. Those are not good signs for the economy as 2008 begins.

Human Tetris, from the Game Over Project.

From http://notsonoisy.com/tetris/index.html:
TETRIS is the fourth video performance of the GAME OVER Project, directed by the Swiss artist Guillaume REYMOND (NOTsoNOISY creative agency).

Who does not remember TETRIS, one of the very first video games? Players had to pile up rudimentary geometric forms on top of each others, in tune with a little Russian music…

Well, the biggest ever game of human TETRIS has in fact taken place on November 24th 2007, as a pre-view of the festival "Les Urbaines", in Lausanne, Switzerland!

88 extras
4 1/2 hours of shooting
880 pictures
They also did Pole Position, Space Invaders, and Pong.

(Thanks to allessindra for the pointer!)
  • Current Mood
    amused amused