Quick Eats: Momed

Restaurant: Momed

Location: 233 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. (310) 270-4444

Date: January 31 & April 16, 2011

Cuisine: Modern Middle Eastern

Rating: Interesting, and tasty modernized Middle Eastern.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

I met a friend here for lunch. I would have to say at it’s core this place is closest to Lebanese, but everything is very modernized for the contemporary Beverly Hills crowd. That being said, it all tasted really fresh and delicious.

The Menu can be found here.

A lot of the mezza/salads are on display. As you can see, they look pretty good.

We ordered a three “salad” plate with left to right.

1. Humammara, roasted red pepper, walnut and pomegranate. Really nice rich flavor here.

2. Spicy eggplant, oven roasted eggplant with tahini and Urfa chili. Not very spicy, but great texture.

3. Tzatziki, cucumber and yogurt dip. A fine example of the type, and I like the type.

Parsnip hummus with oven-roasted wild mushrooms. The parsnips gave this hummus the texture of very light and fluffy mashed potatoes. It was pretty darn awesome though, and nicely warm.

All these dips were really sold by this most excellent warm homemade pita. This was  no “tear open the supermarket bag” pita. Soft, warm, chewy.

They call this a “pide” (traditional flatbread). Basically like a Naan crossed with a calzone or strombolli. This one is stuffed with “Ohanyan spicy soujuk sausage, red onions, piquillo peppers and akawi cheese.” I mention the strombolli because that is what this reminded me of: a really good fresh version of one of those pizza dough, pepperoni, and cheese rolls. The sausage leaked off a good amount of grease, but it was good.

The following was from a different day, April 16, 2011:


Another three salad plate, left to right:

1. Humammara, roasted red pepper, walnut and pomegranate. Really nice rich flavor here.

2. Avocado Hummus, like a cross between hummus and guacamole!

3. Tzatziki, cucumber and yogurt dip. A fine example of the type, and I like the type.


A different flatbread. Hallomi and akawi cheeses finished with Za’atar. Very nice and cheesy, with interesting and exotic flavors. Lighter than the sausage one for sure.


Yogurt-marinated chicken breast kababs with rice pilaf and marinated Persian cucumbers with chili and poppy seeds.

Some Ideas Never Die

I was back at my parents for the ThanksGavin and I noticed the magazine cover to the right sitting in their powder room. This ceramic dog head, it turns out, is an late 18th or early 19th century British object called a Stirrup Cup. These popular objects were used by aristocratic gentlemen and ladies for the purposes of libations (getting drunk) while hunting. They were ordinarily gifts the host offered during the fox-hunt, on the occasion of the final drink, usually containing port or sherry. Now this in itself is normal enough — considering the British — but for me as a History geek I was stuck by its resemblance to the object on the left.

This little fellow, which is known as a Rhyton, is Greek. Probably Apulian from the look of it, meaning made by Greek colonists in the boot-shaped part of Italy, somewhere roughly in the 4th or 5th century BC. 2200 years before.

So what? But I love this stuff. A Rhyton served the exact same function as the Stirrup Cup. You drank from it while hunting. In the case of the Greeks, undoubtedly wine. The lefthand example is typical Athenian-style glazed terracotta.

But the Greeks didn’t invent this form. It’s much older still, of Persian origin. Here are a trio of Persian horns from three different periods of Ancient Iranian history.

The lion in the upper left is Achaemenid, the Empire of Xerxes and Darius, featured as the villains in the movie 300 (boo hiss), and conquered finally by Alexander the Great. This specific vessel (or one like it) actually makes an appearance in my novel The Darkening Dream, as my 900 year-old vampire al-Nasir owns one. He’s partial to gold. And things owned by kings.

The stag is from Parthia, in North East Iran, and probably a bit later. You can see the more dramatically accentuated horn shape here.

This lovely little bovine is Sassanian, the later empire that existed in Persia during the late Roman period and prior to the Islamic conquest. This is the setting for Aladin by the way — more or less.

This form may be extremely ancient in central Asia, possibly going back for millennium and animal shaped drinking vessels have been found from as early as 5000 BC! Horns were probably in use as drinking vessels in the region since Neolithic times or earlier, and terracotta replicas could easily be 10,000 or 15,000 years old.

But how did it end up in Greece?

The Greco Persian War of course — again the subject of 300. Many of these were captured, and the Greeks took a liking to them. So they minted out all sorts of Hellenized versions, usually in terracotta, as this was the typical material for Grecian drinking vessels.

The resemblance is a bit more than coincidental. Athenian pottery in particular was immensely influential in the entire Hellenistic and then Roman world. These vessels remained in use, modeling all sorts of animal flavors from the 5th century BC until the late Roman period (and possible later), circa 3rd century AD.

By the late Roman period the influence of such things such things were undoubtedly well installed in the mindset of many people as part of hunting and feasting traditions. So therefore we find things like this.

These gold examples, in clear imitation of the Greek forms, were found in a hoard in Bulgaria. I’m too lazy to really research it, but I would suspect they are from the Bulgarian kingdoms of late antiquity. They could be earlier, possibly even Hellenistic.

So what happened to the Rhyton during the long dark period of Europe’s middle years. I tried to find out (casually, using only Google). Drinking horns themselves were in great use, particularly among Celtic and Germanic groups. Some retain animalistic features like.

This is not as obviously derived from the same prototype, but certainly could be. Undoubtedly the functional object, the hunting horn vessel never went away. But by the 18th century, particularly in Britain, the Stirrup Cup appears and with it full and intense revival of the ancient form. Is this due to continuos conservation of the form and idea through the entire Middle Ages? Probably not, but more likely reflects a deliberate harkening back to the classical era. All sorts of neoclassical trends were at work during the 18th century. Stylistically the three great trends of this era were: Neo-classicism, Rococo, and Chinoiserie.

This rabbit and fox are clearly the same idea. Like the Greeks before them, the British, with their own thriving new ceramics business, chose the medium of pottery.

Above is an early 19th century example in the Medeval Revival style that is clearly aping the older chicken legged drinking horn, if not the orginal prototype.

The British template made it across the shores to America in the above example, being particularly Southern. I’m sure these were quite popular with the Gone with the Wind set.

And finally, persists even today, in an over-commercialized red-neck variant.