Brian and I ventured east to Northampton today. My friend Jen was selling her cards at an arts and crafts fair that I attended with her last year and I really wanted to go back. Brian decided to join me for a day of shopping and eating out.
I had plans to choose a spot for lunch before heading to Northampton, but was saved the trouble when a post about Amanouz Café appeared on Serious Eats. Perfect timing. The Moroccan and Mediterranean restaurant was within walking distance of the show and sounded right up our alley. After visiting with Jen and getting some Christmas shopping done, we headed over to the café.
Amanouz Café was smaller in size than I expected, but the menu was bigger. I’d written down the recommended entrees from the Serious Eats post, but suddenly felt indecisive. We arrived shortly after noon, but the vast majority of the patrons were eating or ordering omelets. Nevertheless, I wanted lunch food.
I settled on the Amanouz Royal Feast (Humos, Falafel, Tabbouleh salad, Musaka and Pita bread). Brian ordered the Chicken Kebab sandwich (Charbroiled marinated chicken, broiled tomatoes, parsley, onions, lettuce, and tahini sauce in thin lavash).
I also ordered a small pot of Moroccan green tea with fresh mint leaves and Brian had his first Turkish coffee. The tea was sweetened with honey and was incredibly delicious. I’m definitely going to try and replicate it, though I have doubts that I’ll be successful. Our food took a little time to arrive, but given the fact that every table in the cafe was full, that’s to be expected.
The Royal Feast was fabulous. I haven’t had a lot of tabbouleh in my life, but this was definitely the best. It was fresh, full of parsley and onions. Miles above what I’ve attempted to make (no surprise there). I enjoyed every item on the plate, though I barely managed to finish even with Brian’s help. Brian, on the other hand, made fast work of his chicken kabob sandwich. The chicken was topped with cold vegetables and tahini sauce, which was a great contrast to the hot chicken. I left the restaurant blissfully full.
Amanouz Café is definitely on the list of places I’d like to return to on a future trip to the Pioneer Valley. I’m really intrigued by the popularity of their breakfast menu, as well as the collection of pastries that were displayed on the front counter. I’d also like more tea.