While the title doesn’t make much sense, what does make sense is going to eat at Mezza, especially if you were an enterprising Columbian who snagged a deal for half off food and drinks ($10 for $20 worth of food) there via ColumbiaPerks.com!
Prior to tonight, I had been to Mezza before on another Wednesday and knew that they had an amazing deal for half off of all hot appetizers for happy hour. Last time I made a meal for husband (he got a doggie bag from home) and myself out of four appetizers. This time, I went a similar route, but tried something from the cold menu as well, as did my fabulous dining companions.
We started off with fancy cocktails, which sadly enough were not on sale. This is E’s some sort of fruit mojito. It was incredibly good, sweet from the fruit, and not overpoweringly minty which is always a plus in my book. Just the right amount of cool spearmint hitting your parched mouth.She had enough self control to sip hers like a lady, while I took my cucumber martini down so fast that oh, guess what, no picture of it! It too was a cool kick of alcoholic goodness. It’s as though you’re drinking a freshly squeezed cucumber.
We ordered so many plates of food between the three of us that it came out in stages. These are my stuffed grape leaves from the cold app menu. They come with wedges of lemon and pickled turnip in between them for a colorful presentation. These were excellent, and my measure of excellent grape leaves are “Are these things slimy?” The answer here today is a resounding no. They are not slimy, and pleasantly packed with the traditional ingredients, which to my relief, didn’t include a ton, if any, raw tomato chunks.
This is E’s Phonecian Fries to the left, hummus to the right. The Phonecian fries are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and covered with cheese (feta?) crumbles. Very delicious, though messy so have that napkin ready. The hummus was so creamy. My standard for hummus is its consistency, which Mezza hits right on the head. Dining companion J said that the secret to a creamy hummus is to dry out the cooked or canned chickpeas for about a day and then continue with the hummus making process. The dried out beans then crumble into a fine powder, which mixed with the other wet ingredients come together to make hummus this good! Experiments will go on this weekend.
Halloum. Oh halloum. Ohhh. This is fried slabs of a special Middle Eastern type of cheese called halloum (pronounced hal-ooooom, I believe). This was the only thing I ordered this time that I had ordered the last time I was there. This cheese is nice and springy when you bite into it, and the brown sauce that is drizzled ever so slightly over it gives it a great tang. The frying process gives it a delicious smoky, fried scent. This is a dish not to miss, trust me.
Not pictured because I sometimes suck at photography are the cilantro potatoes I also had, which were cut into itty bitty cubes and had the consistency of little bite sized home fries. I gobbled them up. It’s a toss up as to whether I’d recommend the cilantro potatoes or the fries as your potato of choice at Mezza. Just try them both on different occasions. After dinner, we retired to the patio to engage in the strange new experience of smoking a hookah. J and I chose a watermelon flavored tobacco for our hookah. The initial set up and tobacco packing is $12, which you can easily split with 2-5 people, making it not totally expensive as it may first seem.
To hookah, you put the hose in your mouth and suck air in until the water in the bottom of the hookah (near my elbow in the photo below) bubbles. You then take your mouth off the hose and exhale, letting the smoke out. Our waitress recommended not holding it in (like you apparently do when doing illicit smoke related activities, which we don’t do because we are smart) but to breathe it out and enjoy the tobacco flavoring that will linger in your mouth and in the air around you. The watermelon was like huffing a tube of watermelon flavored lip balm. They can even mix tobacco flavors for you, like mixing slushy flavors at Sonic! I will definitely return with a pack of friends for good conversations on the back patio over a hookah in evenings to come.
Our waitress even gave us the pretty pink and floweredy hookah! Isn’t that so nice of her? She also answered all of our question about how to do it, and kept checking on the charcoal on top and making sure it was all going smoothly.
See those basil plants in the background? They needed watering and to have the flowers pinched off, so while J and I were blowing smoke, she took herself on over to do some pruning in the meantime. She is so thoughtful, and I am sure those basil plants are glad that we decided to hit the hookah that evening. We didn’t end up finishing this between the two of us, so I definitely will suggest having at least three, if not four people to hit this contraption when you visit Mezza Lebanese Hookah Bar & Lounge. They are located at 701 Gervais Street, in the former California Chicken Grill. I’ve never had trouble finding a parking spot there after work on a weekday, which is when I recommend visiting for their awesome happy hour deals. Also check out their Facebook page, because sometimes the general manager sneaks great drink or appetizer deals if you are friends with him on there and mention it when you arrive!