Sunday night began a period known in Judaism as the nine days. The nine days are actually the last part of a three-week period that starts on 17 Tammuz and ends on 9 Av, otherwise known as Tisha B'Av, a fast day that commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples. The three weeks are generally considered a period of national mourning, and some of the laws of mourning apply.
For example, because this is a solemn period, one of the things we are supposed to do during this time is refrain from eating meat. Nomi and I usually have very little problem with this restriction, as we tend not to eat meat at home. For the most part, except for the occasional shabbat at home or out, we confine our meat eating to the kosher restaurants.
But what do the fleishig restaurants do during the nine days? In general, they offer additions to their regular menus. Nomi and I always look forward to trying out the nine days specials at the fleishig restaurants in Brookline. These restaurants do offer pareve options during the rest of the year, of course, but during the nine days they try to do something extra to encourage people to come anyway.
On Monday night we went to Taam China with norda, and I enjoyed a dish they only make during this time, Sauteed Eggs and Tomatoes. Quite tasty.
Last night, Nomi and I went to Rubin's. I've already praised Rubin's here before for their many specials and other dishes, but during the nine days they tend to go even further, since they know people aren't going to think of them first as a place to dine during this time. As it is, they've actually posted the Rubin's Specials for the Nine Days menu as a PDF, and I encourage you to take a look – especially if you're local and considering your options for meals over the next few days.
Last night, Nomi and I started by sharing both appetizers: the Balsamic Ratatouille with Toasted French Baguettes and the Zucchini Fritters served with Garlic Aioli. I'm not a food critic, so it's difficult for me to find the best words to describe the food, but let me try. Both appetizers were delicious. The ratatouille included a good mix of vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini and tomato, and the balsamic sauce added a tangy taste that did not overwhelm the palate, but instead complemented the medley. The baguettes added a nice crunch to go with the softness of the vegetables. As for the fritters, they were essentially zucchini tempura, and the garlic sauce was creamy and provided just the right hint of flavor.
For our main courses, I enjoyed the Broiled Flounder Stuffed with Salmon-Tarragon Mousse served on a Bed of Chive Mashed Potatoes & Spinach with a Lemon Sauce, while Nomi chose the Seared Mahi-Mahi with Lime-Ginger Glaze, topped with Mango-Pineapple Salsa over Coconut Rice. The flounder was flaky but stayed together well, and the salmon-tarragon mousse melted in my mouth. Nomi allowed me to try her mahi-mahi, and the seared flavor of the fish mixed well with the sauce.
As for dessert...well, Rubin's does offer many dessert options, but we were so sated that we finished with the main dishes.
Tonight we're going to friends' for dinner; I'm sure they'll manage to provide an equally delicious meal. :-)