Thursday, April 10, 2008

Karam Lebanese Cuisine

This is my phone.  The label?  Courtesy of the jerks that I work with.  And this phone of mine?  Rang WAY too much today.  So when I got a little e-mail that said only "What's for lunch?" I promptly replied:  "Anything, as long as it's NOW."  Ironically we ended up at a restaurant I only knew of because of an occasion where my phone DIDN'T ring. 

Last summer I decided I needed an overhaul.  Long story short, I was sick of working for a guy we had deemed the Seagull.  The Seagull would fly in, squawk at us, shit all over our projects and then fly back to his hometown leaving in his wake a big fat mess.   Long story short, I found a new job, cut and colored my hair, got a new wardrobe and went out with anyone who asked.  

The first guy up to bat had potential.  He was from Chicago.  He loved baseball too.  He had a professional job.  He laughed at my jokes.  He needed new hair, but nothing that a good stylist couldn't solve.  And BONUS--he even suggested the place.  There was none of this "Where do you want to go? I don't know, where do you want to go?" bullshit.  

We ... correction, I had a great time and as we were leaving the restaurant, he mentioned a little Lebanese place downtown that he wanted to take me to.  "That sounds great," I said.  To which he replied: "Perfect, I'll call you."  

And that was all he needed to say to make me know I'd have to find the little Lebanese place on my own.   Those words "I'll call you?" Translation:  "I have absolutely NO plans of ever calling you again."

My interest in Lebanese cuisine was piqued.  Enter Karam, a delicious Lebanese place on Stark Street in downtown Portland.  I love Karam.  I don't know what I did before.  How did I ever survive without their puffed pita that is so hot and fresh from the oven that steam pours out of it when you tear off a small piece? How did I live without their Fatte--a mix of chicken, eggplant, garbanzo beans and a fresh yogurt layered together and baked in homemade bread.   The fragrance when it arrived at the table made everyone let out a breath--smoky with just a hint of cinnamon ... um, that is the fatte, not the squad's breath.  

I don't know EXACTLY if this was where "Chicago-a-go-go," as my friends deemed him, had intended to take me.  There is some debate that it could also be Habibi's (spelling?) which I've heard is really good too.  But for now I'm stuck on Karam's ... although, on second thought, there's nothing wrong with playing the field now, is there?

316 SW Stark St.
Portland, OR