Shabbos Dinner at Flexie’s

It was over 24 hours ago, and I’m still kvelling about the meal.

Ariella and I were blessed with an invitation to Friday night dinner at Flexie’s, and as expected, it was a feast worth writing home about. I guess the Big Guy Upstairs wants me to be happy after all.

After kiddush and motzi, we began with the appetizer course. First came around the challah and some eggplant-red pepper tapenade, and some chumus. Next followed three kinds of sushi (salmon and avocado, cucumber, and plain avocado) with wasabe and pickled ginger. We had not one, but two green salads. The first had slices of strawberries and mangoes; I didn’t even have a chance to try the second. Next came fried tofu, bean sprouts, and cucumbers with peanut sauce. Delicious. And just writing about the warm curried salmon with garbanzo beans is making my mouth water again.

The next course was a spicy tofu-noodle soup. Flexie said she thought it was too spicy, but it was just right for me.

Then came the meat course. I’m trying to recall just how many different kinds there were:

  • roast chicken
  • spiced Singapore brisket
  • potato puffs with something non-vegetarian inside
  • curried chicken and potatoes
  • beef ribs (my favorite)
  • chicken egg rolls

When you eat a meal at Flexie’s, you think you’ve died and gone to heaven. No, Toto, this isn’t Kansas. It’s Los Angeles!

All throughout dinner we spoke about Israel, Los Angeles, and Singapore. Who’s the guy that’s running against Sharon that’s going to lose the election? Have you seen the ugly houses they’ve been building in Beverly Hills? Will Ari and Akiva get a great job working security for some Hollywod celebrity or executive?

durian, the king of fruits Eliass and Stuart had us clutching our sides with laughter as they spoke about the durian fruit, a delicacy in Asia. The fruit itself is creamy and delicious, but it’s got some nasty attributes. First of all, the fruit is apparently the size of a soccer ball with spikes all over it, so it’s extremely difficult to open. In addition, although it tastes out of this world, it’s got a rather unplesant odor. Stuart was telling us how they’ve got signs on the subway in Singapore that say “No durian allowed” because it’s so fetid. We wondered if there were durian and non-durian hotel rooms or rental cars.

We didn’t actually get a chance to try any durian at the meal, but Eliass said he’d try to get some in Chinatown and invite us back. I can hardly wait!

With our bellies full, Dr. Herzberg passed out some text for us to study and led us in a shiur about Miriyam the Prophetess. The week’s Torah portion was Beshalach, when the Israelites are leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea. The discussion focused on the phrase “Miriyam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took the drum in her hand, and all the women followed her with drums and dancing.” (Exodus 15:20) As usual, the shiur was superb. Dr. Herzberg has a way of making the text come alive.

He was about to lead us in a zemer or two and bentching when Flexie reminded him that he had forgotten something important: dessert. New plates were passed around, and we were treated to fruit salad, a large selection of fresh fruit (yes, there were two kinds of fruit), cake and cookies.

Finally, we finished up with some bentching and some zemirot. Everything was right in the universe. These are the things that make Shabbos so much more special than just Friday night and Saturday. It’s a time for sharing wonderful meals, participating in great conversation, and some learning with your family and friends. Nourishment for the body and soul.

Exactly what I needed.