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Taste of Armenia

June 28, 2011

Highlights: Free parking & cheap entrance ($2), open venue, and free food demos.

Living in this state has exposed me to many cultures.  I spent the last Saturday of June in Montebello at the Holy Cross Cathedral for their annual Armenian Food Festival learning about the culture and tasting their mouth-watering cuisine.  The foods share similarities to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes such as kebabs, hummus, and baklava, but the preparations and seasonings are different.

The food options consisted of small appetizers (mezze), food plates, and pastries for dessert.  I couldn’t resist ordering the beef and chicken taco fusion.   The amount of feta cheese and jalapenos was intimidating, but after taking the first bite, I was immediately hooked because it was not as spicy as I thought.   

Armo tacos w/ tahini or yogurt sauce & sprinkled with paprika

I noticed everyone picking up orders of what looked like a giant fried donut.  I found out it was Piroshki which is fried dough stuffed with beef or potato.  Piroshki was a favorite at the event, that it completely ran out 2 hours after the festival began when I tried ordering the beef.

Piroshki stuffed with potato

More on the traditional side, I ordered the lamb kebab plate.  The lamb melted in my mouth like a filet mignon would and no gamey taste.

Lamb kebab w/ lavash, rice pilaf, cucumber, & tomatoes

 To fulfill my sweet tooth, I ordered baklava (phyllo dough pasrty with nuts and syrup), Kadayif (buttery custard covered with noodle-like phyllo), my favorite was ponchik (donut filled with custard similar to the texture of melted mozzarella cheese), and tonir bread stuffed with nutella cooked in a dome-shaped grill..

Activities throughout the day included listening to live music, dancing, drinking, shopping, and playing all in one location.  I enjoyed the food demos and tasting the homemade lentil kufteh and hummus.  Live Armenian music is heard throughout the event and children performed folk dances clothed in traditional costumes.  Adults competed in backgammon tournaments and kids enjoyed a carnival like area with games and bounce-houses. We ended the day with a guided tour given by one of the priests to discuss the history of the church.

Lentil kufteh demo

traditional dance

More pictures can be seen in my facebook page.  Experience, other Armenian festivals across the state: Cupertino, Fresno & Orange County in September, San Francisco, North Hills, Oakland, & San Diego in October.  If you know of any other, feel free to share.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Coby permalink
    July 1, 2011 10:34 am

    luv the new design of the website, and nice picture

    • July 1, 2011 4:36 pm

      Thanks Coby, I want to keep it simple and let the photos stand out. John drew the pic.

  2. June 30, 2011 6:50 pm

    Thanks Jin,

    I bought a canon rebel SLR and its so much fun to take pictures with and quality is like 193789.07 better. LOL Armenian food is similar and yes you will love it just as much, differences are that they don’ focus on spices as much.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    June 30, 2011 3:28 pm

    dine..are you using a different camera?..cause the quality of the pictures are so clear and hella nice!
    -jinny

    • Anonymous permalink
      June 30, 2011 3:29 pm

      btw..the food looks DELISH!!!! love Mediterranean food so i bet i would love Armenian food too

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