Two kids, especially to very small kids, are generally a pain in the hookah to get out of the house and off to a nice dinner. But, the little boogers didn’t stop us last night from having a family date night. Tony and I have had date night for… I guess our whole marriage. It makes sense, really. We decided to marry because we LIKED dating each other, so why stop dating once we were hitched? Date night! DATE NIGHT!!! (Say it with me like you are announcing a monster truck rally!) DATE-ate-ate….. NIGHT-ight-ight….!!!!!!
I tell Tony early this week I want to have a Family date night, taking the girls and Grandma and Bambi to go to FANOO’s Persian Tea Room. He’s never been and has no idea what the place is all about and doesn’t actually care to go across the top-end of the perimeter at rush hour on a Friday night EVER (think 7-th layer of hell with a bleeding hangnail + lemon juice). Atlanta traffic has caused more familial strife than Vegas showgirls, I’m sure.
ANY way, I get everyone in the car, and off we go. It’s only about 12 miles over there, but it takes close to an hour in the nightmarish traffic. But, MAN ALIVE, was it worth it.
Fanoo’s is a little place in a strip mall in Sandy Springs, Georgia. I’ve often thought that the best foods in the world (at the best prices, too) can be found in strip malls. Not that it means anything, but right next door to Fanoo’s is a Ballroom Dance Center (I like to peek in and see the dancers going at it, so talented!) The narrow entryway (to Fanoo’s, that is) looks like a little alley, which opens into a courtyard, complete with bubbling fountain and an area that looks like a balcony terrace. One can choose a traditional table and chair seating, or the raised bankettes, where one dines shoe-less on Persian carpets and soft cushions before a short table. We opted for the bankettes, planning on penning Eleanor into the back of the giant U made of the cushions and table. She was frightened at first; after all, the music and lighting were weird, and Dad wanted to take her shoes, and and there was this different smell and “I want to stick my fingers in all the lit candles” and “WHaaaaa!!!! I’m two years OLD!” (Just the usual kind of I’m hungry tantrum….)
While the other ladies settled in, Tony walked Eleanor to the bathroom to wash up, and we got to the business of ordering some appetizers: Roasted eggplant and cream, yogurt with garlic, Persian cucumber salad and hummus. All of the first course dishes at Fanoo’s are delicious and not a one is over $3. Some day I’m just going to have ALL the appetizers brought to the table and just have that for dinner. Elly finally go into the swing when the hummus came. She liked spooning it onto Bambi’s plate, and dip-dip-dipping her flat-bread into it. There is always a plate of feta, radish, mint, other herbs and pickle that come to the table as a starter, too. Eleanor refused to touch the pickle, further leading me to believe that the morning barf was pickle induced. Mom and Tony also ordered some excellent hot tea (served in a traditional Persian style, in little glass cups with lump sugar).
Then we ordered some dinner. Lots of kabobs and Cornish hen and the like were had, and the meat is wonderful (I had some perfect lamb!), but the sides of rice are the specialty of the house as far as I can tell. We had no less than 4 types of rice between us; Tony had plain, Bambi had the sour cherry, I had the lentil with my lamb, and Mom got the orange.
The sour cherry tastes like you are eating a bouquet of roses. It’s not sweet, but it’s aromatic. The lentil was recommended by the waiter. I was going to get the orange, which is my favorite, but he said the sweet wouldn’t go with the lamb as well as the savory rice. So I let him be my guide. He was right! It was nice. The orange, however, sigh, is to. die. for. It’s sweetened with orange peel, apricots (I think) and other dried fruits and almonds. Frankly, I could just eat a plate of that and be happy! It would really be good to take the leftovers and simmer it in mild for the world’s best rice pudding. But, I digress…
We ate, collectively, with reckless abandon. We passed around all the dishes and tasted what everyone else had. Elly ate and played with the water glasses. (Note to self: don’t let the toddler have a footed water glass. Large wetness factor.) The child eventually had a high time running around the bankette and playing with the cushions, and Elly liked having all of us, essentially, at eye level to her. She, at one point, was fixing Bambi’s hair with a hummus spoon. (Bambi just said,”Hair washes…” and let Elly keep going!). The toddler and her daddy got in much wrestling, too. Elly even managed to wiggle under the very low table to come see Mommy and share the
For dessert, there was baklava. Not usually on the menu, the mother of the waiter’s friend had made some, and he brought it in to sell. It was very good, and we all shared a piece.
It was such a wonderful outing, better than any we have had in a LONG time. Why did this work out so well? Perhaps it’s because Tony took a nap the whole way there, which he needed. And the lights were low, the food was good, the price was fair, the restaurant loves kids, Saralyn slept the whole time, our shoes were off, our guards were down, the powdered magical unicorn horn spiking the hummus kicked in and Bob’s your uncle.
I guess I shouldn’t question when the stars align, cause it just doesn’t happen enough. I just had a really, REALLY good date night with my family.