When you go to Ehden, the first visit is to Le Mortier, a restaurant that serves the giant goat kibbe footballs I told you about last post. The first time we went to Le Mortier the roses were in bloom
the lavendar that fills the boulevard in front of the restaurant was just beginning its purple outburstroof tops are ideal places to dry your laundry as the sun is hot on the roof. The line of white towels from the restaurant are being bleached and sanitized by the sun. when you sit down at the outdoor patio, a holy sight greets you: the Qadisha Valley. The valley is the beginning of the journey to Baalbek and runs up to the goats in the last post. The valley is spelled many ways and it is also known, as my brother- and sister-in-law call it, the Qannoubine Valley (spelled also Qannuben or Kanubin).
these are the famous giant kibbe balls. They have a specific name, but I can't remember it. Inside they are hollow and have a big blob of animal fat (sheep, I think) that melts when they are cooked. This way of serving kibbe (there are hundreds) is one of the favorites of my brother- and sister-in-law whose summer home in Ehden we were guests at. You cut it up and share it.
And, of course, Arab hospitality being so overwhelmingly spectacular--indeed, I believe the word/concept 'hospitality' must have Arabic roots--before all else, you are taken --and treated--to the various specialities that different restaurants are known for. So, every visit is an adventure on the gastronomy route, where one collects knowledge about the culture, the land, and the people through food and the heavenly practices associated with it.
Mezze begins the experience of social eating. I have a story about shanglieshi (the bowl on the upper left with a yogurt herbed ball circled with tomato and onion), which is one of my favorites, but that story belongs to my visit to the Khennak Hmaroo, or industrial working class part of the city of Tripoli.