spilling the beans

Cultured Kitchen: New Eatery Features Tastes of Lebanon, Africa

By Moe Mroueh / Photography By Chris Zibutis | April 15, 2015
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Pickle and Turnip owner, Moe Mroueh
Pickle & Turnip owner Moe Mroueh grew up in a Lebanese family in Africa’s Ivory Coast and named his restaurant for a favorite Middle Eastern side dish.

I grew up in West Africa to Lebanese parents. Most of my life I was in the Ivory Coast, but we would go back and forth to Lebanon.

I opened my first restaurant in Michigan City in 2004. Learning how to cook took a lot of practice. My mother came and she helped. Since 2004, we’ve evolved. We still stick to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, but now we do a modern twist.

Our cooks are Lebanese, but we don’t make just Lebanese food. We do other things, too. I change the menu regularly and include items that remind me of West Africa, like avocado salad with lemon and olive oil dressing and spicy plantains.

There’s something to be said for someone coming to your door and enjoying a meal. They can experience your culture a bit. People come with their memory and leave with our memory. It’s rewarding.

Pickle & Turnip chef and owner Moe Mroueh describes some favorite dishes at his restaurant:

Warak Dawaii, stuffed grape leaves

Warak Dawaii

Stuffed grape leaves, hand-rolled with rice, served beef or vegetarian. We serve ours Lebanese style, which means they are lighter in texture than the more familiar Turkish version.

Dates stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in beef bacon.

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

We make these with beef bacon and stuff them with goat cheese. Dates are believed to have originated in and around Iraq. This appetizer also has pomegranate molasses to round out the sweet and savory taste.

Eggs poached in red sauce made with spices including coriander

Shakshuka

A highlight of our brunch menu is a Middle Eastern favorite, shakshuka—a dish of eggs poached in red sauce with spices, including coriander. Shakshuka is believed to have originated in Tunisia.

Served with warm pita, Baba Ganouj is roasted eggplant and tahini blended into a dip.

Baba Ganouj

Roasted eggplant and tahini are blended into a delicious dip we serve with warmed pita. In Arabic, the name means “pampered papa” or “coy daddy.”

Find it

827 Franklin St.
Michigan City, IN
219.871.1223
Article from Edible Michiana at http://ediblemichiana.ediblecommunities.com/eat/cultured-kitchen-new-eatery-features-tastes-lebanon-africa
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