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Monday, May 23, 2011


"How do you know that name of that?"

The proprietor of Aroma Classique asked me when I requested a rugelach. Billed as a "European Bakery", it is actually quite a full service restaurant, offering salads, soups and full meals. I just smiled demurely, and asked if they had knishes as well - which they didn't at the time. The notable thing about Aroma Classique is that it's a kosher establishment, set up by Israeli owners, right in the thick of Houston's business oriented Greenway area. Just a couple of doors down is the Lebanese Skewers restaurant, and we could have a microcosm of the Middle East here.

Kosher cuisine may seem at odds with the pork and meat heavy stereotype of Texas dining, and perhaps that is where Aroma Classique is trying to strike a novelty value. Among the multiple rules of kosher dining is the strict separation of meat from milk (fish doesn't count as meat - but not all fish are kosher). Restaurants, therefore, come as milk or meat establishments under kosher law. Some vegetarian restaurants can easily be classified as kosher once a rabbi is supervising it.

So, what is rugelach? It's a small pastry, usually made from a very rich dough, wrapped up around a filling before being baked. The rugelach recipes I've seen incorporated cream cheese into the dough itself before being wrapped around dried fruit, nuts, or other items. Aroma Classique's rugelach are wrapped around a chocolate filling, jelly roll style, although I found the pastry itself strangely dry. Looking over the menu, the mystery was solved: the rugelach were parve. That means that they are free of both milk AND meat, so you can eat them in company of either. But without cream or butter, it lacked the luxurious richness I've come to expect from a rugelach.

Maybe it'll taste better in the company of coffee from Greenway Coffee.

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