September 12, 2011

Weekend in Vegas

It's been 19 months since I last called Las Vegas "home," and it's been a while since I've visited my parents in North Las Vegas. So last weekend, I took a road trip with my son to see them for the weekend. My mother, in all her Vegan Enthusiasm declared that she was taking me to my favorite place for dinner: Paymon's Mediterranean Cafe!

Check out the fresher looking website and menu pages

Let me just say one thing: I have never, in my life, tasted hummus like the creamy goodness they have at Paymon's. I could spend a lifetime trying to perfect my own recipe to imitate theirs, and still never quite achieve it! Because it is so hard for anyone's hummus to compare (store bought, restaurants, homemade) it makes me wonder if the Keebler Elves aren't in the kitchen sprinkling faery dust in the mix.

Baba Ganoush & Mojito!
My first order of business after sitting down was ordering a drink! Not sure that a Cuban Mojito is really the wisest thing to order while eating Greek Food, but boy was it tasty and well deserved after a 5-hour driving day. The mojito was definitely not the best one I've ever tasted, but it was deliciously sweet with just the right balance of mint. I will give it to them, though, that was probably the nicest mint I've had in a mojito in a long time (ever order one to see wilted or browning mint at the bottom of your drink? Yeah...).

My mother, who is Italian, has eggplant running through her veins, so it took very little convincing to get her to order a dish of baba ganoush for an appetizer. It is just as bitter and delicious as I remember it! "Bitter" being used in an affectionate way toward this often misunderstood berry. Without that characteristic tang of eggplant, baba ganoush can be too boring. There's a horrible baba ganoush sold at Whole Foods that uses mayonnaise: it is disgusting and an insult to the real thing. Go to Paymon's if you really want to know what this stuff is supposed to taste like!

Falamus Wrap w/Spicy Athens Fries
On to the entrees! Shockingly, everyone at the table ordered a vegetarian plate! I didn't even notice this until all the meals had been served and my father was happily chomping on his vegetable kabobs! I ordered my usual Falamus Wrap. My only complaint ever about this thing is that it could use twice as much hummus. I never use the dipping sauce they put on the side: used to be tahini, but on this particular night it looked like some sort of spicy mayo or yogurt based sauce. I wasn't going to take any chances. The falafel was cooked to perfection on this night - crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I am still dreaming about my wrap... I wonder if they would ship to LA?

Eggplant Pita

My mother ordered the Eggplant Pita, filed with roasted red peppers and feta cheese. My father indulged in the roasted Vegetable Kabob! Although, I was a little shocked that he didn't touch his hummus (could it be that he actually doesn't like hummus? Is that possible??) he did finish every other bite on his plate! Good for me, though, he packed up the hummus and extra pita to take home, so I had a nice high protein breakfast the next morning before hopping in the car for my return trip to LA!

Vegetable Kabobs
My son also ate a vegetarian meal! Although, this isn't out of the ordinary, he really isn't a meat eater anyway. My mother has tried, as have other family members, to convince him to eat meats, but he always resists. I try to explain to everyone that kids eat what they see their parents modeling for them. Has he ever seen me, as his primary caretaker, eating meat? Nope. So although I don't find this unusual, he is starting to feel the social pressure of meat, and is holding his own gracefully. I always love his answer when someone says, "Why don't you eat meat? It's good for you!" His answer: "Who says I have to?"

I make it a point of visiting Paymon's every time I'm in Vegas, but that tends to make it more difficult for me to visit other places that everyone keeps telling me to try! So here's where you come in, Vegas Reader! Please, in the comments, tell me where I should go the next time I visit my parents in Las Vegas. I need variety, obviously, but I also need some inspiration.

Paymon's has 2 locations:
Maryland Parkway
Paymon's Mediterranean Cafe & Hookah Lounge
4147 So. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone: (702) 731-6030   Option #1
W. Sahara Ave
Paymon's Mediterranean Cafe & Hookah Lounge
8380 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89117
Phone: (702) 804-0293

(Maybe I can convince them to open a store here in Sherman Oaks??)