Saturday, December 22, 2007

Date Night 8 - Lebanese Food!

Date Night #8 - December 22nd, 2007
Temperature: High 23 °F / -5 °C, Low 21 °F / -6 °C
Location: Palladium Mall, Prague

Erin's parents are in town for a Christmas visit. What does that mean (apart from new playmates for the kids to wrestle with?) - more Date Nights for Erin and I, of course! Tonight, we headed downtown to the shiny new Palladium Mall off of Republic Square (Náměstí Republiky). It's so new that Google Earth still shows it as a construction zone! The mall is currently the largest in the Czech Republic - with nearly 200 stores, close to 30 restaurants and cafes, and the foundations of a 12th century palace featured on the ground floor! As tempting as the five floors of glistening shopping opportunities were, our goal tonight was one particular corner on the top floor. Being an upscale shopping center, the Palladium doesn't have a food court. Rather, the top floor of the mall is the "Gourmet Floor" with restaurants which are kind of half-way between "real" restaurant and mall fare. And there - beneath flowing white cotton streamers, and ornate lamps, we find what we've been looking three months to find here in Prague... good hummus!

The El Emir restaurant is one of the newest entries to the Prague dining scene, and let's just say it's the best Lebanese food we've ever tasted in the Czech Republic. Of course, it's also the only Lebanese food we've ever had here! Needless to say, being in Europe, our meal was a tad more spendy than a night out at the Automatic Restaurant in Muscat. But when hummus hit the table and we dipped in with fresh khubz (arabic bread), we knew we'd come to the right place! Believe it or not, it was some of the best chickpea these hummus snobs had ever tasted! We quickly progressed through the cold mezza - tabouleh salad, stuffed grape leaves, and more; to the hot mezza; to the mixed grill, topping it all off with thick turkish coffee. So - here we were, Americans speaking Arabic to a Tunisian waiter in a Lebanese Restaurant in the Czech Republic. Fantastic!

Oh - by the way... if you happen to be looking for yarn or other "notions", Erin has discovered her new favorite store in Prague. Filium, on the ground floor of the mall, sells all types of yarn - and best yet - you can actually browse through it yourself - rather than having to ask the not-so-friendly counter clerk in your best Czech to pull down a skein from the shelf.

Hummus and yarn - in one night! I'd call this date night a success!

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