Armenian dreams

Illustration By Mark Stivers

Do you like lamb? If so, you’ll want to make room on your crowded weekend calendar (which could include other food festivals; see Corner Table) for this year’s Armenian Food Festival. Put on by St. James Armenian Apostolic Church, the 60th annual festival takes place Saturday at the Hellenic Center, located at 614 Alhambra Boulevard. Among the traditional Armenian delights are shish kebab, lamb shanks, kufta and—my favorite when I attended last year—lahmajoon, a savory flatbread that’s a little like a lamb-topped, cheeseless pizza. The sweet-toothed among us can snack on homemade baklava. Last year I fell in love with a kind of finger-shaped, cream-colored shortbread-like cookie, with a uniquely tender texture. I loved them so much, in fact, that I bought an Armenian cookbook; the secret, it turns out, is clarified butter. I haven’t made them myself yet, so this year I might just go back and buy them.