Sunday, November 07, 2004

Secret Menu!

Psst, secret menu, pass it on! Have you ever suspected that a restaurant had a secret menu? Or maybe just a menu that was in another language? Growing up my family frequented a Chinese restaurant where the waiter or manager would order for us, because the "real" menu was not in English. The food was terrific. Somehow eating off the secret menu was more exciting than eating off the regular menu, partly because you never knew what you were going to get.

Since those early Chinese meals I have learned it's smart to chat with the waiter about things not on the menu when I eat out. One example is to ask about certain seasonal vegetables, they don't always make it onto Chinese menus but if you ask for them you may be rewarded. Once at an Italian restaurant I chatted up the chef and we mused about the cuisine only found in the town of Lucca. At the end of the meal a dessert arrived that not only wasn't ordered, but wasn't on the menu.

Recently Pim of Chez Pim mentioned a secret couscous spot, actually a couple of them. It seems an Algerian cab driver had a line on where to get authentic couscous in the Tenderloin. But as you can imagine, it's not on the menu.

The Tenderloin is filled with interesting ethnic cuisine. While the menu might feature pizza, on Friday nights, Green Pizza in the heart of the Tenderloin also offers a spicy authentic Tunisian couscous. During the holy month of Ramadan, Hakim's mother is cooking for the local mosque where it is a tradition to feed all that are hungry. But she is also cooking at Green Pizza and you may find lamb, roast chicken, a chopped roasted pepper salad, homemade harissa (a spicy red pepper condiment) or even my favorite, Tunisian style borek, a crisp pastry filled with a soft boiled egg, tuna, harissa and chopped herbs. All those items are, well, you know by now...

Note: Ramadan, the Muslim holiday where people fast during from dawn until dusk ends in about a week, so if you want to try some of Hakim's mother's homemade fare, do stop by soon. Otherwise head over on a Friday night for couscous. At very least, stop by Pim's blog for a full detailed accounting of our not-on-the-menu meal.

Green Pizza CLOSED do check out Tajine in the neighborhood instead
219 Jones St @ Turk
(no sign, but the address is clearly marked)
Don't forget couscous only on Fridays and not on the menu!