- Lisa Antinore
Happy belated Purim to all of my Jewish chowhound friends!!!!
I was feeling a bit Hamantaschened-out yesterday. There were trays and trays of the stuff on the counters in the general office of the school in which I teach and I had about 47 of them!!!! I felt like doing something fun for the holiday (even though I'm not Jewish, I take every opportunity to celebrate other people's holidays-at very least it's a great excuse for a temporary break from my diet ) so I decided to walk around Main Street near Jewel Avenue.
In a little place called "Queens Pita" (on Main St. and about 69th Rd.) I purchased a half dozen little stuffed crescent moons of dough. Kind of like Jewish calzone.... Some were filled with chickpea and onion, others mushroon and tomato, or olive and potato. They were delicious and oh-so SPICY!!!! I love things that are picante and nothing is ever hot enough, but these really hit the mark!!! Does anyone know the name of these things??? It was written in Hebrew and the lovely young lady told me, but all the hamantaschen-sugar had gone straight to my head and I forgot....
The pastries sound like sambousak to me. These are
specialities of Iraqi Jews, and are particularly
associated with Purim. They are suitable for giving as
gifts, which is traditional on the holiday. That they
sound like (and may taste like) samosas is no accident
-- there is a long-established Bagdadi Jewish trading
community in Calcutta. (May also be one in Bombay.)
If not sambusak, the pastries may have been called
burekas or boyos, Sephardic Turkish pastries which have
become very popular in Israel.
Speaking of getting tired of Hamentaschen, I am
reminded of some commentary at one of the annual Latke
- Hamentaschen debates at my alma mater, University of
Chicago. A Friedman-esque economist (I forget which
one, there were many) applied the law of diminishing
returns to the consumption of hamentaschen -- the
satisfaction that you get from eating them diminishes
(rapidly) with each additional one that you eat.
Somehow, I have never found that this law applies as
much to latkes.
re: Lisa Antinore
We were at Naomi Levy's Kosher Pizza on Main St. (we
love their middle eastern salads and fool w/ humus, our
kids like the pizza; the felafel was disappointing
this time around though -- too bready and not enough
zing), and low and behold, Queens Pita was a few stores
down in the same strip mall.
WOW! We brought home some sambusak (turnovers), which
were wonderful, and the breads were even better. We
had the mini-pita, which had much more character than
most store bought pita, as well as what the woman
behind the counter called Iraqi style pita. It is a
very large, thin, floppy round of bread, slightly
scorched -- GREAT!! Thanks for the tip, Lisa.