Fried pastries are a delicate matter, both literally and figuratively. people are particular, even passionate, about things like flake, crumb, and chew, and granulated versus powdered sugars. Families, cities, entire nations insist upon their unique patisserie, the best one, the only one, the right way. There’s no sense arguing; just keep chewing. I present to you the humble bombolouni of Sidi Bou Said, in Tunisia: Ragged edges, thick crunch, airy interior, served piping hot between pastry papers, To be eaten with gusto, and gratitude. [3esheq, Zied!] . . PS: If you like what you see here on OuterNotes, please subscribe to receive posts to your inbox! Click “Follow these notes,” top right of the page!
You’ve either got it, or you don’t. This guy’s got it. [Sidi Bou Said boutique, Tunisia. photo credit to Zied] . . . PS: If you like what you see here on Outernotes, please subscribe to receive posts to your inbox! Subscribe easily at the prompt on the right side bar of this page. If you’re a WordPresser, click “Follow these notes,” right side bar!
In Sidi Bou Said, outside Tunis, a restaurant that must resemble heaven, considering the grumpy service and tourist prices views. Next to a gaggle of children blowing bubbles and making faces, I enjoyed a strong, capable, robust mint tea topped with earthy pine nuts and a few aromatic leaves. And a hearty brik, hero of Tunisian street food: whisper-thin pastry dough stuffed with loose, runny egg and fried to perfection. sometimes also stuffed with tuna, or cheese, or potato, and often served with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over and balance the richness of the brik. May you enjoy your snacks – and your weekend! – with smiles, and fried perfection. . . . PS: If you like what you see here on Outernotes, please subscribe to receive posts to your inbox! Click “Follow these notes,” bottom of the page!
An advantage of visiting a place more than once is that you’re no longer hostage to its sensations, or to its beauty. The second, third, tenth times around you might avoid being bowled over by the aromas and flavors, tingly with the aura of the landscape; you’re likely have your wits about you, and that means you can make reasonable decisions about where to go, how to eat, and what to leave with. I found myself in this delightful situation in Tunis. I’d been just enough times to know exactly what I wanted to eat, where I wanted to visit, and I had designs to package loads of good stuff to take home with me.
I’d waited seven years to taste the real deal again, during which time I made many attempts to replicate, imitate, reconstruct. Sometimes I came up longer than short, but it was never quite right. Lablebi, oh miracle dish of Tunisia, comforting stew of myriad spices. Cheap, quick, filling, and perfect for a cold and blustery winter day in the capital city of Tunis. Guided in my culinary endeavors by good friend (and veteran edibles guide) Zied, we aimed to be Champions of Lablebi, consuming full portions of this hearty, filling stew. We started with the requisite bowls of bread, tearing the chunks into smaller pieces, or crumbs, depending on personal preference (the smaller the pieces, the thicker the resulting stew, or so say the Experts). Bowls properly filled with bread crumbs, we handed them over to the Professionals Behind the Counter, who ladled steaming chickpea stew into each. They topped each bowl with mounds of spices: cumin, harissa, and others that should probably remain the secrets of Those Who Know. And then a few adroit tosses; just enough, not too much. And …
Sure, this is about the sweets: the chewy, the crispy, the honey-soaked, the ones you buy from your guy, the one to whom you trust your most saccharine indulgences. But this is also an ode to them: The Sweetsmen.