Friday, March 14, 2008

Raffi's Place, Persian-Armenian for abundance.

The Place to be for Persian-Armenian.

I say Koobideh, you say Luleh!

The mahi mahi was tempting and my neighbor was in a sharing mood, yum.

I've tried this one at home, haven't you? Raffi's is better,though.

Oh alright, its in the basil family.That's not what my Armenian friend told me!!

Dining on Raffi's comfortable patio setting was the perfect way to kick off the change to daylight savings time.Fifteen of us took advantage of the fair weather,and ample amounts of Persian-Armenian cuisine last night in Glendale.Glendale is the Armenian restaurant center in southern California IMHO. All my favorites are here:Caroussel the Lebanese-Armenian experience(best chikufta) , Phoenicia for fine Lebanese-Armenian, Elena's for simple and tasty Greek-Armenian,and Raffi's Place for Persian-Armenian.Mandaloun was an outstanding destination until it was driven into the ground by its impetuous manager, trying to change the menu and turn it into a jazz club!There are other great Armenian restaurants in other communities, but Glendale has the most quality locations.

It was all about the kebobs last night.We had Koobideh, barg, shish,baghalli polo(lamb),rack of lamb, and mahi mahi on our end of the table.I ordered the barg which was seasoned to perfection along with the Persian influenced basmati rice and the grilled whole tomato and Anaheim pepper.With Raffi's portions you needn't order any appetizers, but there are so good.I shared a yogurt and Moussir with my immediate neighbors, a mezze of yogurt and shallots.All the kebabs were excellent, tender, and bursting with spice and tradition. The filet mignon was my favorite taste of the bunch.Thanks for all the sharing,ladies!

The Persian influence was evident in the different mezze(yogurt and Moussir,lobie,tourshi,and garlic tourshi), the Persian style rice, the seasoning on the kebobs, and the terminology.Koobideh instead of Luleh.

Kotayk, my favorite Armenian beer was on the menu so, the night was resplendent.Great friends, heaps of scrumptuous Persian-Armenian fare,Kotayks served in a chilled pilsner glass, and the charm of patio dining made my evening at Raffi's fantastic.I was nice to have company, 15 of us in all, as Armenian dinners are made for friends and family.Merci!!

Raffi's Place

211 E. BroadwayGlendale,CA

(818) 240-7411

Daily 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Beer and wine.

Curry Bowl, Sri Lankan on a dime.

Bring on the heat!

My favorite of the evening, jackfruit.

Curry Bowl's spread.

Mouth watering lentils.

Chicken curry and devilled beef from Colombo.

Tarzana is home to Paul Thomas Anderson sets and a vibrant Persian restaurant scene,matter of fact, I'm surprised by the dizzying amount of diverse restaurants along the Tarzana stretch of Ventura Bl. in general.Texas Barbeque,wine and tapas bars,sushi,etc.I had a sore neck on the drive home looking at all these places and making mental notes for future visits to the cultural mecca that is Tarzana.I wonder if Dirk Diggler bought any Persian rugs from a local shop for his bachelor pad after he made it big.

The Curry Bowl is located in one of the ubiquitous strip malls that dot Ventura Bl. for miles and miles;a defining feature of many west valley cities.But, the Curry Bowl is a destination unto itself for quality,uniqueness, and affordability.Their dinner buffet is $8.99.

This simple and petite Sri Lankan restaurant located right next to a 7-11 really delivers.The owner and chef is friendly and helpful.His Sri Lankan menu has food from different parts of Sri Lanka and reflect the Indian, Dutch, Portuguese, and British influences.The buffet featured around 10 different items plus some spicy condiments if you wanted some more heat.To be honest, this food wasn't that hot even with the added condiments.I have a feeling that the cuisine has been toned down for the masses.I wanted to suffer the pains of Sri Lankan heat, but never even came close.

The rice noodles, or pilau, were outstanding.Many in our group loved this item and came back for more.All dishes were enjoyable.The only minus was that because it was a Tuesday we didn't have the egg hoppers, which are available on weekends.The dish made with jackfruit called polos was a favorite of mine, and a rare treat.We also tried the chicken curry,green beans,and devilled beef. Sri Lankan roti was brought to our table to accompany this fine food, along with some beer from the liquor store across the boulevard.Yes, it's BYOB.

Even toned down, Curry Bowl makes flavorful and complex dishes that satisfy from the lentils to the to the curries to the delicious wattalappan for dessert.There was a Dutch inspired dish as well as one that reflected Portugal's colonial imprint.It's also a hangout for the local Sri Lankan community which enhancess the experience.And you can sample a variety of authentic Sri Lankan for $8.99;$6.99 for lunch.This is the spot for an affordable culinary adventure.

Curry Bowl19662 Ventura Blvd.Tarzana,CA818-609-7683 Hours: Tue.-Thu., 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Mon., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.