For My Dad…

MoreGhormehSabzi

I’m going to do things much differently this week.  And it’s absolutely necessary.  I lost someone close to me last week.  I lost someone so important to me.   You only get one parent, one mom, and one dad in this lifetime.  It’s a blessing.  But yes, all things must….

I’m heartbroken to say that I lost my dad last week.   I’m still sad, numb, grieving, overwhelmed, and in a state of disbelief.  And he passed just eight days before my birthday.

The timing is never good for these things.

This post will be seen my most on May 31st, which is my birthday.

For my birthday, his birthday, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, other family members’ birthday, and often no particular reason at all, we would share in delicious food from all over the world, and more often times than not, from our native Iran.

That hasn’t happened in quite some time, and it hurts.  And it will no longer happen in person.  That’s a hard thing to accept, but accept I will have to at some point.  I’ll have to make some kind of peace at this at some point.

However, I can still celebrate his honor and spirit by sharing with you some our favorite dishes.   He’s still with me in spirit and I know he’s watching, and I hope he appreciates the foods I’m about to share with you.  I’m sure he’s either having some of this right now, or will be shortly.  It feels weird typing this out this way.  It’s good therapy I guess, but it just feels so weird.

This is over a collection of meals, locations, and times.  Not one in particular.  I could recommend a few places in the DC and Baltimore area if you would like to contact me.  There’s a lot of good Iranian and Middle Eastern food in the area.  I’m grateful my dad and many of our family got to share in many experiences, and created some amazing memories.

I can only hope there’s more memories to come, albeit they’ll be different…

Ghormehsabzi

First up, is one of the first meals I remember as a kid, prepared by both of my parents, Ghormez sabzi.  I won’t elaborate on every ingredient, as links have been provided.  But this is an absolute gem.  The combination of beef, herbs, and dried lime may come off a bit sour or bitter at first, but that won’t last.  I loved this immediately.  I loved this more to this day.   And I particularly love it that much more today.

Morgh&Tahdig

Next, is Zeresh Polo Morgh, or more specifically just Morgh, in this case. This is a favorite of both of my parents.  It took me years later to appreciate chicken off the bone.  And in the last few years, I would prefer it when ordering food with my dad.  Something about the taste off the bone is such a great contrast to simple pieces of grilled (more on that shortly) chicken.  Both are great, but there’s something about it this style of chicken I now love so much.   The carrots, tomato sauce, and potatoes are the perfect complement to this.  Whoever invented this recipe is a genius.

Bademjan&Gheymeh

What you see with that is the Tahdig (crispy rice) next to it and in the picture below is Gheymeh, which goes with the Tahdig, or goes fine just by itself.  Ah such memories of piling at Gheymey on top of that crispy greatness.  It’s the perfect appetizer, or an amazing dinner all by itself.  Even if you don’t love Persian food, Tahdig is univerally loved.

The Bademjan, is another one that took a long time to grow on me.  But now I find eggplant to be divine and a joy to eat.

Another favorite of mine, which is traditionally eaten at Nowruz, which is Iranian New Year (First Day of Spring).  is the Ash reshteh.  The melange of noodles, beans, lentils, and chick peas is perfect for the cold winter months.  During the summer it may not feel right, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s what feels right to you.

whitefish&kuku

To go along with Nowruz is the kuku and whitefish.   I mean what else needs to be said.  You might be able to tell that the kuku is egg based and it’s glorious.  I’m craving everything I’m writing about, right now.

Kababs

I would be foolish to leave out the kababs, so there you go.  Koobideh makes everyone happy, and so does grilled chicken, onion, and tomatoes.  I know right?

The pastries is the one I’ve shared with friends and pals.  I’ve been requested to bring baklava, bamiyeh, jalebi, and all these other delights to parties and gatherings.  Who am I to say no?  I’ve also had friends request it if I ever stop by a store and I’m happy to oblige.

These are the memories that I love.  Food brings people together.  And it bonds us like not many other things do.  I’m grateful I shared so many experiences with my dad, and now hope to share new memories with family, friends, and of course my dad in spirit.

Every story was different, yet me might have shared the same exact dish.  But not everything is going to be same, or what’s the fun in that?

ghormehsabzi2

Our moods may have been different each time, different company may have joined here and there, the soul and spirit behind the food can vary, yet the constant was me my father.

I’ll miss that.  I know he’s still here,  I know somewhere he’ll be reading it.  I know he’s now relaxing and at peace.  I think he was at peace for a while, but not it’s all official, and that just feels weird.  But it’s time.

Everyone will have their time.But for now it’s time appreciate the ones we love, we care about and adore, whether it’s family, friends, our pets, or anything that raises our spirits.   Surrounding ourselves with the best spirits makes us better ones as well.

I’m so grateful I had one of the best spirits of all, my father.  He was a great a man, he was the man,  I love him and miss him so much.

I know I’ll see him and dine with him again soon.

I love you dad.

Ideen

Pizza With My Poppa

PotomacPizzaSlices

For friends and family who have lived in Montgomery County dating back to the late 1970’s, you know about Potomac Pizza.

I recall growing up as a kid that my friends always gathered at the original location in Potomac, and honestly I don’t remember if I ever joined them.  In my own creation, maybe I thought the place was invite only or an exclusive club.  How foolish of me.  It’s just a pizzeria.  And I don’t mean a pizzeria, but it’s exactly that.  Every patron is a pal and I’m sure they appreciate all business, if it’s good and courteous business.

PotomacPizzaFront

What I also think happened that this was not meant to be my go to place until much later.  Location is everything and so is the company.  And it wasn’t until a newer location (not sure if it’s still the newest location in Rockville opened, that this was meant to be my place.  And more importantly this became my dad and I’s place.  So it’s our place, but I always think of it as his place.  It’s one of his places for a pizza pie, a sandwich, a salad, and everything that is quick and convenient.  Sometimes that’s all you want, more so than a need.

My most recent visit was yesterday.  And while I had hoped it would be with certain company, I feel like going to certain places my dad likes is a way of honoring and celebrating him, for all he’s done for me, all he’s done for his family, and all he’s done for everyone, universe included.   So in a way I was dining in with him (we usually eat at his place of business in a beautiful and comfortable setting) in a spiritual and metaphysical sense.

PotomacPizzaMagnets

Potomac Pizza is more about the pies, but I couldn’t eat one on my own. Luckily, they do slices for folks on the go, in a rush, or in solitude.  I’ve always thought not seeing pizza trays takes away from the slice ordering experience  Maybe it’s a visual thing because seeing all those slices is one of those happy place situations.   Even though I would always prefer seeing trays, there is an intrigue and mystery in seeing how the slices turn out when being made behind the counter and behind the scenes.

I’m happy to say that these slices are exactly on the level of how their full sized pies are.

Their pizzas have always been extra cheesy (without ordering the extra cheese), and the sauce has a distinct taste about it.  It’s sweeter than what you might be used to.  But it’s how I’ve always remembered it.  And their toppings are all over the place, just like any good pizzeria should be.

PotomacPizzaCheese2

And when it comes to all over the place, that’s how my dad is with his pizza.  He’ll get toppings for the heck of it, or may not even realize what’s on it.  I like to think he’s an adventurous guy.  That or sometimes he doesn’t know when to stop.  It’s charming either way.

PotomacPizzaFeta

So in that regard, I went with the plain cheese and then one that he would appreciate, Feta, Spinach, and tomatoes.  It’s part of our culture, our heritage, our family, and just a tradition to have lots of fun veggies, with bread, and feta cheese.   Both these slices were fun.   You can’t compare this (or any pizza) to just anywhere.  It’s not the fanciest, it’s not the most artsy, and they don’t need to be.  It’s charming pizza that makes me feel good and is a part of many enjoyable memories with me and my dad.

And you can never have enough good memories, good experiences, and of course good pizza.

I hope my next experience at Potomac Pizza will be one shared with my dad, and another great one I can share with you.

For menus and online ordering info click here,  For a list of locations click here, here is more of their story, and their contact info.

Thank you so much and have a blessed holiday weekend.

Ideen