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Our meal at Wondee's last night was as good as ever, but I wondered about all the empty tables. Two tables were occupied when we entered the BYO Thai restaurant in Hackensack and a family arrived as we were preparing to leave. The falling snow and forecasts of more, much more, must have discouraged people from venturing out.
Five of us feasted on steamed pork-and-shrimp dumplings, won ton soup, crunchy duck-and-fruit salad, fried chicken wings with a sweet-sour sauce, Cantonese-style pork with vegetables and a whole, steamed red snapper with hot chilies and garlic. Delicious.
I had had my heart set on dinner at Hummus, a Turkish place in South Paterson, because we had to go to a store there for a long, white robe my son needed for his Christmas pageant today. But as the snow fell, I dashed out alone and drove to Nouri's, a Syrian bakery and grocery store with electronics, musical instruments, clothing, cookbooks and more. I found just what I was looking for -- a simple, white, pullover robe made in Aleppo, Syria (photo), for $15. When I left, I briefly thought about ordering takeout from Hummus, then drove home.
On Thursday, I had a big lunch at Aleppo Restaurant, across the street from Hummus. I ordered pureed lentil soup flavored with cumin and accompanied by half a lemon, fried kibbe, and a spicy dip called muhammara. I like to squeeze lemon onto the ground meat in my kibbe -- also called torpedos -- after biting off the end. I brought home pocket bread and two kibbe, making sandwiches with my homemade hummus and sharing them with my wife.
Aleppo Restaurant, 939 Main St., Paterson; 973-977-2244;
open seven days.
Hummus Restaurant, 942 Main St., Paterson,
Wondee's Fine Thai Food & Noodles, 296 Main St., 201-883-1700;
parking in rear