We were in a quandary that evening. The question before us sustained itself rather longer than we had imagined. Given the beautiful, sporadic sunshine that Michigan sees, it felt breezy and pleasant. We thought we should go to the trampoline at Troy, at the arcade that houses many other kids games and indoor fun activities for a bad weather weekend. We thought it was also meant for adults and that we could jump our way to glory into the pit full of foam balls! But, we stepped inside and realized it was not for adults. So much for the excitement of jumping! Sadly, overturning our backs and heading towards the door, he was already on his phone searching for places to go and kept whining about how difficult it is to decide because apparently one must know where to go before going there. I don’t know what people would do without phones and apps otherwise. I kept insisting why we could not just explore those premises itself and see where else we could go.
After putting too much thought than was necessary, we circumvented the parking lot and on our way to the exit when we noticed this place at the corner with big bold letters saying, ‘2booli’. It sounded strange and as soon as my mental reflex began jumping to the thought that it could be a tattoo parlor, I read below, ‘a Mediterranean fine dining’. We exchanged an excited look and immediately pulled over into their parking. Walking over to the door, we were remembering all the shawarmas, all the hummus, all the Lebanese grilled food that we had eaten previously and enthusiastically wanted to see if this place could revive those flavors in our mouth.
It sure was a fine dining to the letter, for entering a grandiose door, stepping onto the graceful carpet with delicate Arabic designs complimented the Mediterranean theme very well. On our right was the host, humbly dressed and waiting to see who’s next. We requested a table for two and followed his cue. The booth that he escorted us to was a distant part of the alley that chained almost seven other booths together on either side. Some were large for families and had ample space. The tables were well chosen for their quality of oaks, I suppose. Each one had a tapering light suspended over the table that gave the impression of being enlightened under the sun. The walls bore art work peculiar to depict Mediterranean culture in vivid colors and such hues that interested the eyes of many, for I noticed a few people in appreciation of them. They had a large but not similar occupancy at the farther parallel end from where we were sitting. The bar stylishly, imperiously, stood in between. It was not enclosed, as it generally is, at most restaurants. There was a wall mounted, glass separated, well-lit with a royal appearance, well-stocked cabinet of the most expensive to the most general bottles of liquor that catered every class. There was a curved section of the counter a few feet away from this so that one could pass and easily move around while bartending with tricks.
While we did not have to wait for too long, we did not want to drink anything that evening, but we were offered a basket of pita bread and a dressing of extra virgin olive oil. The menu was extensive in choices, although it did not display traditional cuisine from the Mediterranean but it sufficed the local taste and was adequately smart at including those flavors which they knew would relish their customers’ palettes. We ordered the spicy hummus to go with the pita bread and a chicken shawarma for him with a plate of falafel for me.
The flavors of the falafel had the dominance of cilantro and pepper embedded in the refined stuffing of the falafel. The top was a perfect crisp of bread crumbs which released a fresh buttery flavor on the first bite. His shawarma was a large portion served with fries. It had fresh chicken off the grilled skewers, supported with pickled onions and jalapeños, covered in dripping garlic aioli. The bite gave a tingling, spicy yet the sweet-pungent taste of the garlic all at once. The best part about the hummus was its pasty rich texture, drizzled with red chili, cilantro and sided with radish, onion and tomatoes. It tasted perfect – Slightly sour, a little fiery, sweetness and rawness of onions and the tangy taste of tomatoes.
It was a blissful meal and an impulsive yet successful plan for that evening. Having filled our appetite with blessings from lands overseas, we decided to skip dinner and let the flavors stay with us for the night.