One of my goals when I started this blog was to sample and showcase restaurants in Washington, D.C. that provide cross-cultural experiences through their meals. I’ve been lucky enough to have a few of these adventures so far, but, I haven’t focused on it as much as I’ve wanted to.
All of that changed when Siar and I recently escaped to Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon at Agora DC.
Ismail, the owner, welcomed us and asked what kind of food we were in the mood for. As usual, we really wanted to get a taste of the different cuisines special to Agora.
What if we bring you different dishes to try – from appetizers, to main courses, and then dessert?
Well, that was just what we wanted. There was never a lull between courses as our waitress explained the ingredients and culture behind each dish:
What I loved about Agora was the culture they shared with us from the moment we sat down; both in terms of the flavors, as well as treating us like family.
Chef Ghassan Jarrouj incorporates different aspects of Turkish, Greek, and Lebanese cuisine into every dish. Turkey, Greece, and Lebanon all have their own versions of kabobs. They all have salads, sweet desserts, and wine. But when you mix the different flavors together, as Chef Jarrouj does, you are introduced to them all.
Ismail’s colleague met with us after our meal, and told us about a common tradition in Turkey: coffee ground readings.
We were lucky to have another employee at Agora read our coffee grounds, and learned one of the biggest secrets: flip your cup over towards you for your personal fortune, and outwards for that of the universe around you. She went on to explain how many people in Turkey know an aunt or cousin who can read Turkish coffee grounds; it’s very common.
I won’t go into our readings (isn’t there a rule about sharing your fortunes, like your wish before blowing out birthday candles?), but, I will say that we were both pretty shocked. The key, she said, is not to take it too seriously. Just have fun with it!
And that’s what we did at Agora, and what has rekindled my inspiration to keep exploring and sharing cross-cultural experiences with you all. Stay tuned for updates on how you can get involved here in the District, both online and in-person, very soon!
Travelaine partnered with Agora DC for this meal. As usual, all opinions, no matter how the posts came about, are honest.