Thursday, June 9, 2011
A Vegan's Remorse
The food scene just got even worse in little ole Harlingen. Our favorite (and one of the very few we can eat at) restaurants, Jerusalem Cafe, has been shuttered for failure to pay rent. I'm not kidding when I say the place has some of the best Mediterranean food around, even for the big cities. Omar makes a strong hummus and baba ganuj, but what really brings home his vegetarian plate are his spiced roasted potatoes and zucchini and onions. He makes a great Israeli hot sauce. I also love his cardamon tea and, of course, Turkish coffee. I am indifferent to his falafel. It's not bad; it's just not exceptional. I hope the restaurant has not met its end. My fingers are crossed for Omar. It's really the small food businesses that make exceptional food, the places run by passionate chefs. Another Harlingen place that has been in peril is Taj Restaurant, only one of two Indian restaurants in the Rio Grande Valley. Taj is superb. It has been closed for months for "renovations." We keep calling and asking when they will open again, and it keeps getting pushed back. Man, the Valley has been going backwards. I would just die for a decent Chinese or Thai place around here. Stone Court Cafe, a Thai restaurant in Harlingen, has gone downhill quickly. They used to make a decent vegan pad Thai, but they changed the recipe. I can't taste any tamarind or lime juice or lemon grass. What's pad Thai without those ingredients at tasting levels? I'm hoping things start shaping up. Maybe I need to be more open minded and try more restaurants. Ugh, I see lots of disappointment on the horizon.