King’s bastilla has to be one of the craziest things I’ve ever eaten. A specialty at Kasbah, it looked like a flying saucer constructed out of phyllo dough. It was stuffed with a mix of chicken, almonds, cinnamon and eggs, then was dusted with sugar and splashed with rosewater. The flavors took off in so many ways at once I could hardly keep track of them all. I didn’t even know if I liked it, but I kept eating it.
When I started getting fussy about which meats I’d eat in the line of duty, I knew it might limit the pool of restaurants I could choose from. But I also hoped my quest for clean meat would draw places out of the woodwork that I otherwise would have missed. Ariana Halal Market and Café is one such place.
Middle Eastern cuisine is one of my favorites, but I only recently learned about eating halal—the Islamic version of kosher. The word “halal” simply means lawful or allowed. The Islamic laws that govern the preparation of food—especially meat—are nearly identical to the requirements for the best organic products. In accordance with Islamic law, the person taking the animal’s life must invoke the name of God at the time of the slaughter. Animals have to be treated humanely from field to table. Companies that sell halal products are certified. Pork is haram—unlawful.