My husband swears he saw former Journey frontman Steve Perry here in Milwaukee last weekend.
At any rate, Scott was pretty excited about the potential sighting and tried to explain his still-lingering passion for Journey tunes to me in much the same way I seem to remember Dave Eggers attempting to describe it for his little brother in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Given that we have dramatically different taste in music, I think I responded in much the same way Eggers’ little brother did. (That is to say, with somewhat minimal enthusiasm.)
Scott seemed a little disappointed by my inability to grasp the greatness of it all, but what can I say. I came of age during the era of Grunge and besides, I was just having a strange day.
People kept wishing me Happy Mother’s Day. I know the individuals meant well, but frankly, it felt a little weird because I don’t have any children. Not yet anyway.
Someday I hope we do have kids. And I hope they grow up to be extremely happy as well fabulously wealthy so they can afford to house their much-loved mamma in a villa somewhere on the Mediterranean coast.
If for some reason that plan doesn’t pan out, maybe they can at least take me to Yaffa for lunch or dinner. Yaffa is a hot spot right near the Pabst Theater that offers Mediterranean-inspired fare so tasty you’ll temporarily feel transported to warmer shores.
Last Saturday we braved the seemingly unceasing spring rains to meet our friends Mike and Olga there for dinner.
In warmer weather, the best seats are on the patio, overlooking the river. But for a cool, rainy evening, the cushy front room with a fireplace, low slung seats and dark mahogany tables illuminated by the warm glow of amber-colored Moroccan lamps was positively perfect.
We settled in, ordered some drinks, and between swigs of his Bombay Sapphire Martini and melodramatically- delivered Robert Goulet-inspired one-liners, Mike assured us that Yaffa’s hummus was some of the best he’d ever eaten.
I personally could’ve eaten about eight more of those fabulously flavored things, but since a whitewater rafting trip (i.e. swimsuit time) looms close at hand, I decided I better forego them and try the Zaalouk.
The Zaalouk is a zesty combination of grilled eggplant, tomatoes, preserved lemons and peppers served with crusty pita bread. You might think we stopped there, but since the Robert Goulet one-liners had taken on a life all their own by then, and the rain had no sign of letting up, we ordered a few entrees.
I couldn’t resist the Chicken Tagine, a large portion of Moroccan-braised chicken with apricots, tomatoes, saffron, and other spices served atop couscous, and accompanied by an array of veggies and chickpeas, sprinkled with toasted almonds, raisins, and cilantro.
Scott stuck with the traditional Mousakka, a lasagna-like dish that was filled with Mediterranean spiced ground beef, and layers of roasted eggplant, then topped with a creamy Béchamel Sauce.
Naturally, I sampled his, and found it to be every bit as delicious as mine.
On the other side of the table, Olga ordered the lamb chop, nicely grilled and served with some potatoes, while Mike opted for the plate of mussels sautéed in a smoky paprika broth then topped with a pinch of cilantro and served with some Israeli couscous.
They kindly offered me samples of their dishes too, (I do this all for you, you know!) and can report that they tasted most excellent as well.
Later, as the rain started to let up, and the clock started to creep much closer to the start time for a movie we wanted to catch, dessert arrived in the form of small chocolate cakes with layers so rich and warm that the bites absolutely melted in my mouth.
I actually had to polish my piece off pretty quickly so we could make the movie, Thank You for Smoking, a remarkably funny film, whose witty take on the political underpinnings of tobacco industry promotion, combined with the effects of Yaffa’s delish Mediterranean-inspired dinner to make me feel pretty good about life again.
Even if I did have to listen to back-to-back Journey songs on the ride home.