Saturday, March 17, 2007


I live very close to a Greek restaurant called Ari's. The folks at Ari's have an interesting use for the Kasseri cheese that I used in yesterday's mousse-de-foie-de-canard sandwiches. They bread and deep-fry the cheese, soak it in brandy, set it on fire, then put it out with a squirt of lemon juice while shouting "Opa!" at the top of their lungs. I'm not sure what role the "Opa!" plays in the recipe. Perhaps it is some kind of magic. Knowledgeable customers join in the refrain.

I haven't actually tried Ari's Opa Cheese, but I've overheard the "Opa!" on several visits, and tonight I sat a couple tables away from where the ritual was being carried out. It looks good. I know the cheese tastes good. I'll have to give it a shot. However, even knowing that this was a possibility, I still chose a good old All-American cheeseburger (only with feta cheese) and fries (only I dipped them in tzatzike sauce). I washed it all down with a bottle of Fat Tire, served in a cold glass.

I love Greek food; I've had all kinds of it; but tonight I was in comfort food mode. Nevertheless, tzatzike sauce beats ketchup any day, and a little feta can lift any mood, even on a day of gray skies and snow flurries like today.

Before I sign out, I want to put in a plug for one of the Two Wonders of the Omelette World. It is the feta cheese and spinach omelette, which I first tasted at Fort Wayne's Omega restaurant. I don't know if Omega is still there (it opened while I was at the seminary in the late 1990's). It was a very convenient spot to study because it was open all night and it wasn't far from the sem. They made the thick, fluffy type of omelette that must have a bit of pancake batter added to the egg before it is whipped in a drink blender; the kind of omelette they serve at Waffle House and at catered brunches, that only gets folded once (in half) and stands up taller than anything else on the plate. With spinach for sweetness and feta for tartness it was just perfect - at least, as long as the cheese remained in its molten form. It did lose a bit of its charm as it cooled and the cheese congealed. And since huge plates of food were the only kind Omega served, there was a good chance this would happen unless you wolfed the omelette down right away.

The other Wonder of the Omelette World is the Blue Ribbon Special Omelette served at Tyler's Taste of Texas in Yuma, Arizona. The next time business or pleasure takes you along I-8, do stop at one of Tyler's two locations, where they serve a diabolically delicious decoction of egg, cheese, onion, pepper, and I think maybe ham, topped with slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream, plus a side of salsa if you want to add that (do). Complete your order with the country-style potatoes (sliced and fried to perfection) and toasted sourdough bread, and you'll be their driveling slave every time you're in town.

No comments: