Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Vegan Dining Out @ Aladdin's Cuisine

If you've been reading my blog for a while, then you might remember a post from a couple of months ago when I was traveling in Savannah, GA and dined at an authentic Middle Eastern restaurant and discovered falafel. I had never had falafel before, well good falafel anyway, and as soon as I tasted the real thing I knew I had discovered something that I loved. Well, I figured that you probably had to live in a town that at least resembled a big city in order to have a restaurant that served Middle Eastern food. I never dreamed that there would be such a place here where I work, in Kingsport, TN. But I was wrong. Who knew there was a place here that served falafel?

Aladdin's Cuisine is located right downtown and it is HUGE. 3 stories to be exact. It's right beside an oriental rug gallery. I think the same man owns both businesses. Anyway, the place is huge and the decor is over the top. Talk about some atmosphere. On the weekends they even have belly dancers. Not to talk bad about where I live, but it IS pretty redneck around here. So it's really amazing that there is such a restaurant here. I just can't imagine people who live around here being willing to try Middle Eastern food. But I guess some of them are. And since I discovered that falafel and hummus are usually safe vegan bets, well, they've made a new customer here too.

I started out by ordering the hummus as an appetizer. I am not lying when I say that this was absolutely the BEST hummus I have ever tasted in my life. They list the ingredients on the menu, and it's just the usual; chickpeas, tahini, garlic & lemon juice. But gosh it sure does taste good. My sever said that the cook was Iranian, so I guess that explains it. That guy just KNOWS how to make awesome hummus. Mmmmmmm... it was good. I only ate about half of it though and boxed the other half up to take home for later. How come my homemade hummus doesn't taste like this?

For my main course, I ordered the falafel. I was expecting it to come as a sandwich on some pita bread, but it didn't. Technically, this wasn't part of the lunch menu, so I guess this is really more of a formal dinner type of way to serve falafel. Anyway, this was also DELICIOUS. It came with a tahini sauce, which I had to confirm didn't contain any dairy (I was afraid there might have been yogurt in it). It was vegan though. It was just tahini thinned out with some olive oil & vinegar. YUM!

The entire meal was EXACTLY what I wanted, yummy Middle Eastern food, and it was DELICIOUS. It was expensive for lunch ($10.95 for the falafel and $5.95 for the hummus), but I wasn't ordering from the lunch menu, and I normally wouldn't have ordered both the hummus AND falafel by myself, but I wanted to try both. I had plenty of both dishes left over to pack up and take home for dinner.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the restaurant, both the decor and the food. It's a place that I definitely want to eat at again, and I would like to bring some of my coworkers who aren't familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine here too so they can see how delicious the food is. This is one cool restaurant, and I didn't even know it was here. What a wonderful discovery.

So there you have it, my delicious, and HUGE!, Middle Eastern lunch for Wednesday.

I'll be back tomorrow with the lunchbox. See you then!


christine said...

Ooh, I love new discoveries!

Tracy said...

Wow, what a neat place! I'm so jealous...I wish we had someplace cool like that to eat around here.

Anonymous said...

that looks like a great place!

Melanie said...

i had no idea about this place! we will have to check it out soon.

vegprincess said...

If you ever get the chance, try fried cauliflower. It is the best Middle Eastern side dish I have ever had--I don't particularly like cauliflower, and I'd still take it over french fries any day!

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