Happy Passover to all of my Jewish followers! Since taking the 23andMe DNA test and discovering that I’m 3% Ashkenazi Jewish, I’ve wanted to learn more. Since I’ve been on a spiritual journey for a while, I’m always interested.
A few weeks ago, Hungry Pigeon sent around an e-mail that they would offer a Seder dinner sampler on 19 April. Last year, the Hungry Pigeon brought in a rabbi to lead dinner, but I had other things going on last year and I unfortunately couldn’t go. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring it back this year and wanted to try just the dinner. I have never been to a Seder and since I already eat Kosher, I thought why not. I try to do something new each day.
On Thursday I called and Caleb, the nice manager, answered the phone and sat with me on the phone to make sure all of the dishes were gluten-free. Except for the Matzo, they could serve it GF and I would be safe. He added before he hung up, “I’ll be there tomorrow night. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask for me.”
I felt reassured. Before dinner, I decided to get my undercut freshened and a trim. I wanted to look my best for Passover (and Easter brunch on Sunday) and opted to have my hair styled into a bun. I did wear jeans, but I selected a pretty blouse. I was ready for Passover!
Last night, I arrived early at the Hungry Pigeon and sat at the bar. Brian was my waiter and he was super helpful too. It wasn’t really busy and we chatted for a little bit. He put in my order and a few minutes later, he came back and told me that the Tabuli had farrow in it. Farrow isn’t GF and he asked if that would be an issue. I shook my head that it was and he said, “I’ll let the kitchen know to leave it off.” On the menu, it did say they wouldn’t make many changes, but GF is a whole different monster. I’m beyond thankful that they were accommodating to my dietary needs (Ashkenazi Jewish people also have a history of gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease, as I found out in my research when I got my DNA back.. same with Irish [in my DNA, which I knew], and those with Northern and Eastern European roots [also in my DNA]).
The first three dishes, Beitzah, Charoset, Hazeret, were interesting and my first time eating. Beitzah is a hard boiled egg, which the hard boiled egg symbolizes mourning of the destruction of the Temple in Egypt. The Hungry Pigeon served chopped liver with the egg and I haven’t had liver since I was a child, when Nan made it for Daniel. I didn’t remember the taste, but I really liked the beef liver that Hungry Pigeon served. It was different, but tasty. I can’t stomach eggs and the egg was the only thing I didn’t eat.
Hazeret was grilled Romaine and mine came without the Tabouli. The grilled Romaine was delicious. Charoset was lamb cheese – yum, much tastier than goat – with nuts, apples, and raisins dipped in honey. That was delicious too and paired perfectly with the lamb cheese. Charoset symbolizes the brick and mortar that Hebrew slaves used to build the storehouses of Pyramids in Egypt.
I ate slowly and said a little prayer to myself. I noticed the table next to mine had a prayer book and the family was reciting from it. At the end of my meal, I went over and wished them a Happy Passover.
Anyway, round two. Zeroa, Marror, and Karpas. The brisket was melted in my mouth and was very tender. It was just right. The potatoes and horseradish added a nice touch. The bitters and seawater was the perfect cleanse to the meal. Each dish has a meaning as well:
Zorah is special as it is the only element of meat on the Seder Plate. Roasted chicken neck or shankbone; symbolizing the Paschal Lamb (Passover sacrifice), which was a lamb that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. Since the destruction of the Temple, the z’roa serves as a visual reminder of the Pesach sacrifice; it is not eaten or handled during the Seder.
Karpas – A vegetable other than bitter herbs representing hope and renewal, which is dipped into salt water at the beginning of the Seder. Parsley or another green vegetable. Some substitute parsley to slice of green onion (representing the bitterness of slavery in Egypt) or potato (representing the bitterness of the ghetto in Germany and in other European countries), both commonly used. The dipping of a simple vegetable into salt water and the resulting dripping of water off of said vegetables visually represents tears and is a symbolic reminder of the pain felt by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. This leads immediately to the recital of the famous question, Ma Nishtana—”Why is this night different from all other nights?” It also symbolizes the springtime, because Jews celebrate Passover in the spring. Bitter herbs symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery that the Hebrews endured in Egypt.
My meal ended with a flourless apple walnut cake. Yum and it was so light and fluffy. I also ordered a latte made with oak milk and my first Seder went well. The Hungry Pigeon made it memorable and I can’t wait to go next year. I think next year I will also go to a Synagogue to experience the whole thing. It will be fun.
I also ended the evening with a selfie with Brian, my waiter. The Hungry Pigeon staff is great about that. The one I got a selfie with the last time came in at six. He walked over to me, we were chatting and I told him about the Happiness Box Project. He also introduced himself, Malik, and that was a great addition to the evening too.
Tomorrow I really have to sit down and write a thank you card to the Hungry Pigeon. They always accommodate me and they made my holiday celebration special.
Happy Passover, Easter, and Rivdan to my all of my followers!