Farm Week: A Taste of Mike Solomonov’s Zahav Restaurant on the Farm

August 2013

“Farm Week” is a collection of daily posts recapping a summer of Farm Dinners…

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

In 2009, the word locavore (one who eats foods grown locally) appeared in the Merrimiam-Webster dictionary for the first time (along with a slew of other new words like frenemy). While this addition is a stride for local foods enthusiasts, this addition also demonstrates how much vocabulary surrounds food.

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Between pronunciations and definitions, the culinary lexicon can be divisive. If you’re like me, your parents still haven’t made the disconnect from the “g” in vegetable to the “g” in vegan. However, a passion for food often supersedes the need for the words or even the language to describe it.

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com
Chef Justin Severino of Cure, Chef Mike Solomonov of Zahav and Butter Hill Farms Farmer Nick Lubecki

Mike Solomonov, owner and chef of Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia, was born in G’nei Yehuda, Israel and raised in Pittsburgh. At the age of 19, he returned to Israel with negligible Hebrew skills and took the only job he could get- working at a bakery. Amidst the traditional breads and pastries, he found his passion, and his culinary career was born. Solomonov channeled the flavors for his restaurant as well as for his guest spot as a chef for Cure’s Farm Dinner series.

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Hummus
chanterelles, pine nuts, za’atar

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Watermelon
Bulgarian feta, black olives

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Tabouleh
corn, blueberries and tomato

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beets
salt roasted with tahini, dill and mint

Okra
spicy tomato and coriander

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Grilled eggplant
farro, tahini and fresh harissa
[so good it was gone before I could even snap a proper picture!]

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Hangar steak shishlik

[not shown probably because I was competing with very eager table mates and overwhelmed with course after delicious course]

Fried haloumi with peaches and corn
Lamb anad beef kabobs with matbucha
Hangar steak shishlik

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

White Chocolate Cake 
orchid powder, peaches, berries and labaneh

Orchid powder! Whether or not it was the presence of a cherished flower in the ingredient list, this dessert quickly secured itself on my mental list of favorites. When I do find myself at Zahav in the future, I may skip straight to the dessert course for the sake or prioritization.

A Taste of Mike Solomonov's Zahav Restaurant on the Farm // www.WithTheGrains.com

Though the list of vocabulary surrounding food grows by the year, Mike Solomonov’s dinner on the farm provided an important lesson in linguistics. When it comes to eating, even if you don’t know what za’atar is, all you really need to parse is the “mmmmm” it elicits when eaten in a hummus.

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