A sampler plate at Al Basha in Beaumont. Courtesy photo by Darragh Doiron
Mom at the hookah loungeLemony yogurt, lamb, roasted peppers, and a falafal “muffin” is a sample of the flavors that danced through our heads at Al Basha in Beaumont. We had a Mediterranean feast, sharing and dipping our bread into a colorful mixtures. I couldn’t resist a Facebook posting tagged Mom’s first course at the hookah lounge, the second function of this establishment. We did peek in the window of that area until someone encouraged us to walk in and tour the spacious lounge with cushy couches as seating. It would get busy later, they promised. We went for the food."Later" we were at home watching “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” about an Indian family who opens a restaurant across the path from a swanky French establishment. We actually planned to be savoring the spices of one culture as we enjoyed the movie about two other culinary traditions. We loved it all.McCormickI cannot contain my excitement over the hot news from McCormick Gourmet shakers. In fact, it makes me sneeze. I pulled out samples of jalapeno pepper powder, then got more excited with basically crushed, red chipotle pepper grounds, then yelped over a sriracha powder. My daughter’s going to fight me over that one. I’ve been liberally dusting these blends over eggs and everything else every morning and can’t get enough.They’ve also got new grinders with smoked, lemon zest, sweet onion and chipotle sea salt blends. Love it times four.Burger auce mix-ins they offer include Montreal Steak, Brown Sugar Bourbon, Sweet Mesquite & Carmelized Onion and Roasted Garlic & Sauteed Onion.This spring McCormic has released 21 new products inspired by flavor trends on the rise. You’ll want to play with these.BaconI’ve got bacon heating very slowly in a covered skillet and plan to rescue the fat for future projects. I’m hoping to spiral partially cooked bacon onto partially cooked sweet potato planks and hope they’ll cleave together for crunchy goodness. Some of that McCormick flavor mentioned above will finish off the flavor explosion.