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April 2014

My Lucky Tummy

My Lucky Tummy

Early Thursday I hurried into work, my mind on the ten things to be done by noon, and stopped short at the bulletin board between the elevator and the men’s room. “My Lucky Tummy” proclaimed a poster hanging there, letters scrawled across the fat belly of a spring robin. “1,000s of refugees & immigrants call Syracuse home. Many come from places where fast, easy food doesn’t rule. Food takes time. Food takes tradition & care. WE WANT THAT FOOD.”

I frowned at my lemon loaf and grande Americano. I, too, wanted that food.

Advance tickets for this international cuisine were $20. The menu was a secret until the doors opened to the first wave of diners at the Alibrandi Center. All we knew is that Burma, Cuba, Somalia, Thailand, and Iraqi dishes would be featured and each dish would contain no more than 5 ingredients. Most importantly, most of those ingredients would come from local, family owned markets (a fact that grew exponentially significant as we consumed dishes made from, among other things, camel meat).

The lady at the door shared protocol: grab a plate and join the throng. My Lucky Tummy is not a sit-down affair. Mingling is the point, particularly with the cooks. The Chef from Burma watched closely my reaction as I shoveled into a pile of noodles, and broke into a wide grin when I approximated ‘Hmmm! Delicious!’ straight through my mouthful. And so it was at each table, food-as-common-denominator, a tie that shrinks the world.

What we ate:

  • Thin Baw Thi Athoke from Burma, made from green papaya, prawn, peanut, and chili
  • Quimbombo from Cuba, made from okra, beef, plantain, tomato, and cumin
  • Sambusa from Solalia, made from camel, potato, and piri piri
  • Kao Pad Gai Gra Pow from Thailand, made from holy basil fried rice, chicken, and egg
  • Kunefe from Iraq, made from broken noodles, pistachio, and sweet cheese

Somalia     PeekaBoo

Camel

Griffin     Cross

The cash bar featured Griffin Hill Farm Brewery beer, a Saison brew out of Onondaga made not from water but from maple sap. Cheeky. The Husband, himself a home brewer, declared it delicious.

And what of these family-run food markets that cater to our local refugee and New American communities, supplying the ingredients that make My Lucky Tummy’s international cuisine possible? These are the inconspicuous heroes, proving there is still much to discover on the Northside of Syracuse.

A new collection of international dishes will be presented when My Lucky Tummy pops up again at a TBD place and time. In keeping with the tradition of surprises, only tantalizing tidbits will be gleaned about future events. Wherever it is, see you there.

Connect with My Lucky Tummy on Facebook and on the web.

BirdieBag

Thailand

GriffinHill

Transparency

lambbanner

Yesterday was lambing day at Meadowood Farm, an annual invitation to the community-at-large to shower love upon  this spring’s strapping newborns. Aside from baby chicks – my unyielding bias towards them is widely known – baby lambs are quite possibly earth’s cutest invention. Continue Reading