Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Talk Thursday: Hangin' at Afrah

This is a blog post that almost wasn't. I discovered today that if you want your laptop to work when you sit down to dinner at your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, you had better not leave it in your car all day when it's 35 degrees outside. The darn thing gets frozen, or rather, the battery does. I brought the laptop in here and tried to fire it up and it just sat there looking at me like a big dumb plasma screen, which is what I call it sometimes when I'm utterly frustrated. (Other times I threaten to harvest its parts for programmable toaster ovens. That usually does the trick.) Anyway, it occurred to me that if I warmed up the battery, the rest of the laptop might fall into line. So the battery spent some quality time stuffed down my shirt while I tried to write my post on my BlackBerry. Uh, not possible (the BlackBerry part), the browser doesn't recognize where the text is supposed to go. But a sojourn down the shirt seemed to do the trick. (Indeed, it has for many.) The next time I tried the laptop, it fired right up. We'll see how long that lasts, but at the moment we're okay (knock on Formica).

In case you ever wondered where I crank out these little musings on things big, small, gay, literary, religious, weird and bipolar, most of 'em get written right here; a restaurant called Afrah in the heart of Richardson, Texas. It's at the corner of Greenville and Belt Line Road, and it used to be a bakery, and before that it was a Braum's. I'm only bringing that up because they make the best pita bread in the entire known universe (yes, better than Fadi's; it's close, but it's the truth) and some of the spirit of Braum's and the bakery must have stayed around because there's this mildly sweet cinnamony yummyness about the pita bread that just makes you want to eat more of it. (Great place for a compulsive overeater to hang out. Yeah. Well, most nights I hold myself to a piece and a half.)

Afrah is across the street from the police station, about a block away from the Islamic Center, and within shouting distance of two or three colleges. The clientele tends to be youngish, Middle Eastern, and often traditionally dressed. Whole families, speaking Arabic or Farsi (I can't tell the difference, except that one is kind of softer on the vowel sounds) troop in and take over long tables. Arabic businessmen come in and hang out and shoot the breeze with the owner, a nice guy whose name I don't know but he seems to know me. Once in a while you get an older couple or a few police officers. And then there's, uh, me, the white chick with the enormous, uh, tracts of land. I kinda don't fit in.

Well, I guess everybody's used to me, because with the exception of one of the businessmen and some of the kids, nobody stares at me much anymore. Which is good, because I love this place. The pita bread is, as I may have mentioned, out of this world, but they also make the best hummus and baba ganouj in the entire tri-county area, and a chicken shwawarma that's not only fantastic, but will also keep all your enemies away for the next three days (serious garlic and serious yum). I really don't do sugar anymore so the desserts are kind of wasted on me, but they have about five different kinds of baklava, ten different kinds of gelato, two or three different kinds of cake and assorted homemade cookies that I usually end up buying and taking home for Joan.

My favorite thing about Afrah? The free wi-fi. No question. Oh, and they have a buffet on weekdays during lunchtime, and after sunset during Ramadan. But try getting near the place for the post-Ramadan festivities. It's standing room only. For reals. So one month a year I have to go without cinnamony pita bread. Besides, I kind of feel like it's not my party. But I might get up the nerve this year. We shall see.

Okay, I just got my 15-minute-warning on my cell phone for my OA meeting. Is time to wrap up and head out. If you're ever in North Central Dallas, stop by this place and have all the pita bread you can get down. And try the appetizer platter; it's a great introduction to the kinds of food that are available here. Tell them Jen sent you. The white chick with the enormous... yeah.


Cele said...

enormous land tracts I love it. I may use that instead of the matronly bosum comments I ususally make about myself. Of course Psam refers to hers as personal floatation devices.

Jen said...

Hee! I've also been known to call them floater bouys.