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Sunday, July 31, 2005
A meal dat hits
A dollar doesn't go far when you're out in the world. Many times I've checked my wallet before going out only to find a lone one and some change. At those moments, I'm forced to hit up my boyfriend for a $10 bill for security. Otherwise, what would happen if I couldn't pay enough to exit a parking garage, or if I couldn't get to a bank before lunch?
Turn around when you walk through the door to see the list of daily specials on the wall behind you. This is the part of the menu that gets strangers talking to each other about the dishes they've tried and the ones that you must try. Specials change daily because Ramadan and Kifuji enjoy surprising their customers, and are immensely patient when it comes to explaining the menu.
You'll see a lot of Egyptian-inspired dishes based on Ramadan's mother's recipes, but the couple is open to all world cuisines, enabling your tastebuds to explore flavors of Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and India, as well as America. No passport necessary
For $6.50, you'll get a generous entree portion with about four small scoops of rice, a salad (Greek or Caesar are frequent offerings), and dessert, often baklava.
Newbies tend to start with the exotic-sounding Egyptian baked chicken, slow-cooked for a minimum of two hours for maximum tenderness. No added oil is necessary to give this dish flavor because the chicken's coated in a mix of 20 spices including cumin, coriander, red chili flakes and cardamom. The only downside is that it's so tender even the chicken skin -- which I usually rip off and cast away -- melts in your mouth before you can stop it. Fat avoiders will be in anguish for days when it happens to them.
The lemongrass, chilies, cilantro, coconut milk and curry flavors of Thai Penang chicken may be more intense than many are accustomed to because they're similarly concentrated right on the chicken, without the soupiness of most curries.
Chicken dominates the menu, but you'll usually find at least one beef dish and a vegetarian dish.
"We have a lot of return customers so they kind of know our system is whatever we feel like cooking that day we're going to make," Ramadan said.
You'll also find a long list of sandwiches for about $3.50 each, and you can cool off anytime with smoothies priced at $2.75, $3 and $3.75 for 16, 20 and 32 ounces, respectively.
The couple chops and freezes most of the tropical fruit for smoothies as fresh as homemade. When sherbet is called for, Tropilicious rules. They're now pushing a mango and lichee combo. Go with it.
|very good, exceeds expectations;|
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