Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Eating With the In-Laws

My husband's parents are vegetarian, which makes them pretty awesome in my book. When they come to town, they generally stay down by my sister-in-law on the peninsula because she's got a kid - their only grandson. They always feign happiness to see us, but we know that he's the reason they really visit. :) Even with all the 2 and a half year old excitement, we always manage to have decent meals when they're around, and this past weekend was no exception.

On Saturday night, all of us hit up an old favorite - a place I would go to far more often if there were one in the city: Fresh Choice. If you have one in your area, grab your others by the arm and head there! It's basically a huge salad bar, a soup station, a pasta station, and a desert bar. Everything that is vegan is labeled clearly and all of it is yummy. In particular, the mushroom barley soup and squash ratatouille were winners this time around. Sorry I didn't take any photos.

Sunday, the grandparents took a break from the kid and came out with just me and my husband. We manage to do this almost every time their around, and I like to use it as a time to try out some new places on the peninsula. I normally don't dine down there, but with the help of Open Table and Happy Cow, I've found some great restaurants, not the least of which is Tannourine.

This Lebanese and Mediterranean place was pretty busy for a Sunday at 6, and I was a little worried to see only two servers. My fear was exacerbated by the fact that a fellow diner was having chest pains, couldn't walk, and the servers had to pause to call 911. With all that going on, I'm surprised we ever got any food, but they took it all in stride, and while things maybe went a little slower than usual, we were in no rush. Watching the EMT's work on the sick woman right outside the restaurant was a little disconcerting, but she ended up being fine and we enjoyed the rest of our meal in relative normalcy.

Speaking of the meal, we started with a huge mezze platter of dolmas, hummus, falafel, tabouleh, and foul madammas (fava beans stewed with tomatoes and spices). All were savory and delicious. Then, everyone except my mother-in-law ordered the fattoush salad as our entree. I was very into this salad. The romaine was flecked with sumac and maybe even a little cayanne, as it was a tad spicy. Certainly one of the most flavorful salads I've had in some time. I highly recommend it. My mom-in-law actually ordered the veggie combo dinner, which was more of the same mezze items, plus baba ganoush. Our entree choices do not at all reflect a lack of vegetarian/vegan options however. We were just all feeling like mezze and salad I guess. Next time, I want to try the veggies and cous-cous....

So, if you're down in San Mateo for any reason, check out Tannourine. It's authentic, yummy, reasonably priced, and even your in-laws will like it!

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