Dining with the Druze
Mutkal Halabi serenaded us with an oud as we ate a scrumptious oven-baked lamb dish made with almonds, walnuts, and rice. A side dish of hummus beans and potatoes complemented the main course. We were in Halabi’s restaurant—the only diners in fact—and we were enjoying every minute of our culinary adventure in the Israeli Druze town of Daliat al-Carmel.
The meal had started with a spread of sour labane cheese, zaatar salad, homegrown olives from the year’s “good crop”, creamy tehina, hummus with pine nuts, stuffed vine leaves, and Druze pita, which is flatter and thinner than pita bread available elsewhere in the country. The name of Halabi’s restaurant—Misadat HaKeves—was quite fitting; it translates as The Sheep Restaurant.