A Mediterranean mecca … right under my nose

I just got home from a grocery store I had never been to before, and it gave me that giddy feeling I used to get when I discovered a good record store or bookstore (before everything was instantly available online).

I don’t know how I hadn’t discovered this place before, since it’s only about a mile from house, and the charming Palestinian owner, Samir Koury, told me that the store has been there for 38 years, but Samiramis Imports rocks! Flatbreads and feta and couscous, oh my! A zillion types of olives and vegetable spreads and grape leaves. Bulk spices for every type of Middle Eastern cuisine. And a ton of ingredients I couldn’t even identify. One of my (many) impulse purchases was a bottle of Tazah rose syrup, which I’m hoping might make a nice champagne cocktail tomorrow for our Mother’s Day lunch. Now I’m wishing I had bough the tamarind and a couple of other flavors too.

And speaking of Mother’s Day: It goes without saying that Mother’s Day is another opportunity to host a little get-together (Lunch followed by bridge. How very 1950s!) Never mind the fact that my husband and I had sort of forgotten that tomorrow is Mother’s Day until, well, yesterday. Oops. Happy Mother’s Day Mom(1) and Mom(2)! We love you both, even if we can’t get our acts together to mail you a gift that will arrive on time or issue an invitation to our house with plenty of advance notice.

I’ll be making a Middle Eastern mezze platter for lunch, thus the trip to Samiramis, which was the first place that turned up when I googled where to find harissa in San Francisco. More on the food soon, since I’ll be testing a few recipes that I’m planning to make next weekend, when I’m preparing lunch for a hundred. Maybe I should make sure that the Merguez-spiced lamb with couscous is edible before I sextuple the recipe.

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