Tag Archives: lebanese cuisine

Frederick’s Food Bloggers Meet & Dine at AYSE Meze

This past Saturday evening, some of the foodies of Frederick got a chance to meet and enjoy a taste of the new AYSE Meze. It was high time Frederick’s growing community of food bloggers/people who blog about food met and this dinner was hopefully the first of many similar events. It’s always nice to talk about all things blogging with some kindred spirits (and sit at a table where everyone’s cool with waiting the extra few minutes to snap the requisite pictures of the food.)

Becky of Becky Cooks and Tara of Lace and Grace have their recaps up already and the other bloggers who were able to make it to this inaugural meet-up included Liza of (a)Musing Foodie, Shannon of Shannon Morgan Creative  and Karen of 365 Frederick.

Pronounced EYE-sha, AYSE Meze is named after the late mother of one of the owners as well as their focus on meze cuisine (small plates). Their menu features items from Greek, Turkish and Lebanese Cuisine.

Drinks were of course the first order of business, several of us were feeling a red wine so we did the economical thing and ordered a bottle. Others tried some white wine and a pomegranate fizz.

Drinks on the table at AYZE Meze

We were all so busy chatting it took us a bit to order anything besides our beverages, but when we did we figured the dip and cheese sampler platters were a great way for us all to taste a little of everything.

AYZE Meze dip sampler

The spread included all 6 available dips,
Muhammara – red pepper, walnuts, pomegranate molasses
Babaganoush – eggplant, tahini, lemon, garlic
Hummus – chick pea, garlic, tahini, olive oil, lemon
Pasa Ezmesi – feta, yogurt, biber, jalapeno, parsley
Gemlik Zeytin – black olives, pepper paste, feta, garlic
Tzatziki – cucumber, yogurt, garlic, dill, mint

AYZE Meze Cheese Sampler Appetizer

The cheese (peynir) sampler included,
Bulgarian Feta with olive oil, watermelon, jalapeno and mint
Grilled Haloumi with cyprus tomato jam, marcona almonds and sumac
Manouri with calmynra figs, honey, walnuts and sherry vinegar gel
Sigara Borekgi – phyllo wrapped feta and goat cheese with apricot spoon sweet

We were also very intrigued when another dinner party had a waiter light fire to a pan of cheese and clearly had to order some for ourselves.

AYZE Meze Saganaki Cheese

It’s called Saganaki and it’s kasseri cheese flamed with mezteca brandy and lemon … they also yell “Opa!” when igniting the flame.

When it was time to move past appetizers we were offered some very good suggestions by our server. I ultimately decided on the xtemia which is (huge) sea scallops served over sweet potato, fennel and a mint-mustard butter.

AYZE Meze Sea Scallops

There are no entree sized potions available on the menu as everything is offered as small plates (very similar to tapas). Another one I was able to snap a photo of was the kibbeh, beef and lamb bulgar fritters with pine nuts, golden raisins and and labneh (a type of cheese).

AYZE Meze Beef and Lamb Fritters

Dessert was skipped by no one. Among the table everyone ordered either the flowerless chocolate cake (cikolata kestane pastasi), turkish delights (lokum) or the coconut yogurt cake (yogurt tatlisi).

AYZE Meze Flowerless Chocolate Cake Dessert

AYSE Meze Coconut Yogurt Cake Dessert

Overall I was personally very pleased with the food and based on the fact that the restaurant was full when we left, I’d say others are coming to the came conclusion. As with any new restaurant there are some growing pains to work out, but I’m looking forward to returning to sample more.

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