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Decided on Armenian Takeout for the Party. Suggestions for what to get?

tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 12:42 AM

I posted a query looking for a restaurant for 30-40 on a Sunday afternoon for a birthday. My $$ restrictions being what they are I've decided to have the shindig at home and get lots of hot and cold delicacies from one of the Armenian delis in Watertown.

First, which one should I go to. I've seen two that look like they have similarly wonderful offerings. Can't remember the names. Second, any suggestions for things to get? Lamajeun is a given as is that spicy pomegranate/walnut spread but what else? TIA.

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  1. b
    Blumie RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 12:59 AM

    I cannot answer the what-to-get question, but you should also consider Karoun, in Newtonville, as a possible source. Their food is excellent. If you do a search, you should find a recent review by limster.

    1. galleygirl RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 01:51 AM

      First of all, I think they usually all close, by common accord, on Sundays for part of the summer, so plan ahead!

      Sevan Market for transcendant store-made taramasalata, make sure you get theirs...
      Meatless, Persian-style (or that's how I think of it, a kind of agra-dolce filling that has some tomato and raisin and nuts, I think)...
      Tahini Bread, a dessert, the only baked good I buy there; their baked goods are just not as good as they look..

      For almost evrything else, got to Arax, Your feta, the amazing olive and pickled vegetable bar (make sure you get some walnut stuffed eggplant, and any olives with citrus and hot pepeper in the mix), fried cauliflower if they have it...

      In the cold case on the wall, get EVERYTHING!!!!
      Hummous, baba ghannouj, their amazing garlic dip, ditto for their shallot dip, an eggplant with pomegranite, I think, taboule, a lentil salad, a bunch of amaszing salads, with veggies and grains, premade felafel balls, tahini; really, I haven't had anything I haven't adored. They have little prefried football things filled with meat, seasoned with sweet spices, like star anise and nutmeg, and often, little meat and veggie pies.

      Get tons of bread there; the freshest pita, matnahkash, (wait'll you see it!) and a strange Lebanese (I think) bread that is paper thin, and folded into squares.

      Do your sweet shopping here. Lots of dense, heavy pastries soaked in rose water...Oh gawd...Get some halvah, too..

      Then, go a few blocks away to Eastern Lamejun Bakery (belmont St? I think), and get your lamejun at the source....

      1 Reply
      1. re: galleygirl
        Taralli RE: galleygirl Jul 18, 2006 01:10 PM

        I would also pick up Sevan's veggie stuffed grape leaves done Turkish-Armenian style & absolutely delicious and a little splurge would be the tender, savory Imam Bayildi(The Imam Fainted)stuffed eggplants. The pomegranate lamejuns at Eastern Lamejun are my favorites. Along with the marinated veggies at Arax, pick up an assortment of olives and fresh fruits. I get their Bulgarian feta for its creaminess. You may also want to have some thinnly sliced pastirma(dry, cured, highly seasoned beef http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pastirma) & some soujuk(like beef pepperoni).

      2. limster RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 02:09 AM

        Also consider the sparkling sweets at Tabrizi, a Persian bakery. The baklava's good (and Persian - you can tell by the cardamom). I'd want to head back to try their syrup drenched zoolbia, a Persian funnel cake.

        4 Replies
        1. re: limster
          gourmaniac RE: limster Jul 18, 2006 12:04 PM

          Is Tabrizi the bakery close to Watertown square, near Sushi 21. If so, I agree that it's quite good but I belive that it is syrian and not persian not that there's anything wrong with that. For the OP, Arax is usually the only one of the Mt Auburn strip open on Sundays but usually not until noon and I'm not sure if the summer hours stated above pertains. call and check.

          1. re: gourmaniac
            cheryl_h RE: gourmaniac Jul 18, 2006 01:09 PM

            Arax is closed on Sundays during the summer.

            1. re: gourmaniac
              Taralli RE: gourmaniac Jul 18, 2006 01:15 PM

              Tabrizi is Persian. http://www.tabrizibakery.com/

              1. re: Taralli
                gourmaniac RE: Taralli Jul 18, 2006 05:34 PM

                Oops. My bad. Thanks for the correction. I could have sworn that I asked the guy at the counter once and he said syrian but perhaps my neurons are misfiring.

          2. l
            langley RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 02:26 AM

            Definitely get some labne. Also Armenian string cheese is great - the brand Arax has is great. Either soak it in water and then shred it by hand or cut it up into tiny pieces and toss with olive oil and red pepper flakes. You can also buy it marinated with peppers and oil.

            Metch (also called Eetch) is really good -- serve with slices up lemons and pita bread.

            I like the yalanchi at both Eastern Lamehjun and Arax.

            For dessert, kurabia is my favorite cookie -- it's a butter cookie often with a pistachio in the center. I prefer Eastern Lahmejun's.

            2 Replies
            1. re: langley
              tomaneng RE: langley Jul 18, 2006 03:36 AM

              What is Metch/Eetch?

              1. re: tomaneng
                galleygirl RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 03:45 AM

                Okay, metch, or eetch, is a couscous based salad, more solid than taboule, and yalanchi is stuffed grape leaves...

            2. galleygirl RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 03:14 AM

              Please, what is yalanchi?

              1 Reply
              1. re: galleygirl
                pamalamb RE: galleygirl Jul 18, 2006 07:56 PM

                Yalanchi is grape leaves stuffed with rice. Dolma is similar, but mixes ground lamb with the rice. Yalanchi is best served cold, with a little lemon juice; dolma is good hot.

              2. t
                teezeetoo RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 03:26 PM

                Arax is wonderful. Hummus, baba ganoosh, tzatsiki, the kale and vegetables, everything pretty much in the cold case, plus the olives, flat bread, feta cheese. I'm a fan of the pickled garlic! Often have great fresh figs which, with almond cookies or baklava, make a great desert. Also have had great persian melons there. Shop on Saturday. There isn't a better price to quality value than Watertown's excellent Armenian/Middle Eastern stores.

                1. l
                  langley RE: tomaneng Jul 18, 2006 10:39 PM

                  I make metch/eetch with bulgher -- that's how it is as Eastern Lahmejun, but perhaps it's with couscous at other spots. It's mixed with crushed tomatos, parsley, onions, and sliced up whole tomatos.

                  Sorry for not explaining!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: langley
                    galleygirl RE: langley Jul 18, 2006 11:00 PM

                    Sorry, I meant bulghur, that's how I've seen it at Arax, as well.

                  2. t
                    tomaneng RE: tomaneng Jul 19, 2006 05:09 AM

                    Thank you so much everyone! I'm going to do a tasting next week based on all of your suggestions. Out of curiousity, are the stuffed eggplant dished people are mentioning usually eaten hot or cold?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tomaneng
                      Infomaniac RE: tomaneng Jul 19, 2006 12:18 PM

                      we eat them either way (hot or cold).

                    2. t
                      tomaneng RE: tomaneng Jul 20, 2006 03:40 AM

                      A colleague told me about another place today, Massis Bakery. I'm curious that noone on the board mentioned it. Should I be wary?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tomaneng
                        galleygirl RE: tomaneng Jul 20, 2006 01:27 PM

                        It's okay; I've had lamejun from there, esp. veggie ones that were good, but that's about all...I only check there if the other two (which I favor) don't have something...

                      2. g
                        gourmaniac RE: tomaneng Jul 20, 2006 12:00 PM

                        I've ordered lamejun from Massis before and they were fine. it's a little closer to Sevan and Arax than Eastern Lamejun but not much different.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gourmaniac
                          Infomaniac RE: gourmaniac Jul 20, 2006 12:30 PM

                          I like the Lamejun from Massis best.

                        2. pamalamb RE: tomaneng Jul 20, 2006 03:18 PM

                          My absolute favorite thing from any of these places is Eastern Lamejun's spinach and cheese turnovers. They come 6 to a bag, in the small refrigerated case next to the register. They're a lot like bereg, but the dough is heartier (not flaky). They're also great as a sandwich for lunch.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: pamalamb
                            Infomaniac RE: pamalamb Jul 20, 2006 07:40 PM

                            Those sound like Spinach Fatayer...Lebanese I think.

                            1. re: Infomaniac
                              pamalamb RE: Infomaniac Jul 20, 2006 09:12 PM

                              They're similar, but they don't have the same distinctive shape as fatayer. These actually look like Cornish pasties.

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