Before I recap my chow for the day, I want to wish my dad a happy, happy birthday. I hope my two sons grow up to be just as righteous as my dad. Rock on, pops!

Plus, he has such a snappy sense of style – something that I sadly failed to inherit.

Back at the hospital, chaos reigned. I was almost too busy to eat my leftovers: meat from my beefy bone broth with Leon’s Miracle Sauce, cherry tomatoes, roasted eggplant, and broccoli.

As soon as I got home, I tumbled into bed. As much as I wish I could’ve attended Big-O’s blue belt ceremony in the morning, my eyes simply wouldn’t stay open.

While I snoozed the day away, the boys pinballed around Palo Alto with their dad, running errands and pretending the Arizona Cactus Garden on the Stanford campus was a hostile planet populated by aliens with sinus problems.

When I finally emerged from my bedroom in the early evening, we drove to Shalizaar – one of my parents’ favorite Persian joints – to celebrate my dad’s birthday.

As you can see from the photo above, Lil-O is a master procrastinator just like his mommy – he didn’t get around to making a birthday card for his grandpa until he was seated RIGHT NEXT TO THE BIRTHDAY BOY at the restaurant. Slick. 

The six of us started with a big salad with tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, feta, and dried dates (hold the croutons!)…

…and puréed grilled eggplant and garlic (kashk-e-bademjan).

After our appetites had been properly whetted, the meat parade began. Shalizaar is popular ‘round these parts among my meat-loving peoples (a.k.a. Asians) – so much so that Lil-O looked around at the other patrons and asked if we were at a Chinese restaurant.

We dug into a big braised lamb shank…

…and divvied up a couple of platters of combo meat platters.

Our plates were piled with grilled lamb chops and Cornish game hens…

…marinated prawns…

…and koobideh (seasoned ground beef kabobs).

We enjoyed everything with generous dollops of mast-o-khiar – yogurt mixed with dried mint and pepper, and topped with diced cucumber.

It would’ve been a perfect Saturday night…if I hadn’t had to pack up and drive off into the night for another graveyard shift. But hey – the bacon doesn’t pay for itself.

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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