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Nine Days

Jewish minutiae follows.

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. :-)

Comments

You're making me hungry just reading this. It all sounds so delicious.

Of course, it could be that I haven't had breakfast yet....
I'd heard of the observance and even knew a little about it, but I must admit that when I saw you use the phrase, the first echo for me was to an old discussion in (I think) a William Safire Sunday Times language column about the much less solemn phrase "Tisha B'Av Nellie Time." I seem to remember it as being Hollywood mogulspeak, whether real or made-up, and can only find one googlable reference to it, which uses it in the context I vaguely remember it- "and then it's all over."

Are you familiar with the phrase? And does it offend to any extent?
I have never heard of the phrase, so I have no idea if it's considered offensive.
It seems weird to me that as a response to limiting our diet as a sign of mourning that so many restaurants choose to offer elaborate menus of fancy dairy and fish dishes.
I look at it this way. The kosher restaurants need to do what they can to stay in business, and there's nothing actually prohibited in what they're doing. I'm sure there are folks that choose not to eat out during the nine days, as they might consider it too festive for the period. Nomi and I like to encourage the Boston-area kosher restaurants to stay open even during the nine days, so that they'll be here the rest of the year.

People in the NYC metropolitan area have lots of other options.
Oh wow, that all sounds delicious!

I was wondering why the seminary cafeteria listed only vegetarian items on meat day this week...
Tonight we're going to friends' for dinner; I'm sure they'll manage to provide an equally delicious meal.

No pressure!
No pressure? Here you go:

~ nRT/V
Now I'm hungry
Instead of long explanations, I just say "Jewish lent".

Tisha B'Av

Not eating meat is not an issue in our household, as we don't eat meat or poultry anyway. Fish? Love it. Dairy? No problem. Veggies? Bring 'em on.

On the other hand, my birthday is coming up. Guess when? Yep, Monday, Tisha B'Av. Can't even hit my cruising speed (55) in style... :^)

Steven
Oh wow, that all sounds incredibly yummy.

Especially the sauteed eggs and tomatoes. I should remember I like that dish and try making it for myself one of these days.
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