On this edition of World Food: LA, we ventured to Southern California’s premier Armenian restaurant, Carousel in Hollywood, to take my first deep dive into Armenian cuisine. Kenadz!
I don’t know much about Armenia, other than the fact that Los Angeles is home to the largest population of Armenians outside of Armenia, so the food must be good. You know how much I love food I can’t pronounce and oh boy this one was a doozy. Armenian food is great, and after my first time trying it, it reminded me most of Persian food with a little more Mediterranean flare.
To start, we got a dip called Muhammara. It came with an assortment of pita, and vegetables to dip it in and boy, did we need it. The dip was great, but what made it so interesting was that it had like three different flavor profiles in one. It was kind of spicy, but then out of nowhere, this sweet undertone of pomegranate came in afterward to cut the spice. All encompassed by this deliciously salty, nutty taste. Highly recommend it, it was great.
And then, to double down on our appetizer, we sprung for an order of Kibbeh, which were these little spheres of ground beef and wheat, stuffed with more beef, onion and pine nuts. It honestly tasted like a deep fried hamburger. So delicious.
For my entree, I went with the Beef Lula Kebab with Yogurt, paired with a nice Armenian Lager called Kotayk. This beef was so incredibly flavorful, and the bed of cracked pita it rested on gave it the perfect crunch. The yogurt sauce was just light enough to wonderfully complement the seasoning of the beef.
The side of bulgur wheat paired well with the yogurt sauce and despite how “heavy” this dish looked, it really wasn’t at all. I could’ve eaten another one of these and not batted an eye. So delicious.
And what’s a meal without dessert? The absolute highlight of dessert was the Foret Glace. It’s essentially warm baklava then topped with cold vanilla ice cream, caramel and pistachios. I mean, just look at this beauty.
Another dessert was Ossamanlieh, a straw-like crispy dough stuffed with this sweet, cream filling. Kind of hard to share, but that cream in the middle was outstanding.
Finally, we finished with these bite sized, cheese rolls called Halawed Jebne. It was a nice, tart way to finish the meal.
If you’re looking to get your Armenian on, look no further than Carousel in Hollywood (or Glendale), you’ll be glad you did.