I recently got a craving for the kind of food I enjoyed at my favorite “hole in the wall” healthy food café in Manhattan. It was inexpensive, nourishing, wholesome food with that tasty, indescribable oomph. I brainstormed where I could possibly find that magic combo here in Durham. However, with all the foodie dream options in town, I was still drawing a blank for the specific style and nutritional value I was seeking. Then it hit me! Remember the “Dame’s Chicken and Waffles” review? I had given Foodie the option of the decadent, dank Dame’s, or Pomegranate Kitchen a new, organic take-out café. You know which one he picked. Anyway, Pomegranate Kitchen was my choice. I got a feeling that it might be just the thing I was in the mood for…
Pomegranate Kitchen, located at New Hope Commons Drive next to Once and Again Antiques, is not so noticeable with it’s tiny sign. So, you have to know where you are going. However, my downfall is directions, and I found it with no problem. Upon entering, my first reaction was, “there is nothing in here” as it was small, stark, and the food items were not visibly displayed. But once welcomed by owners, Mally and Mitra, their positive energy and warmth filled what had appeared to be an “empty” space. And yes, I had one of those moments, “If you cooked it, I’ll eat it.”
Everything at Pomegranate Kitchen is fresh and local- not processed, not frozen, not fried. Yeah! The menu changes daily based upon whatever yummy ingredients Mally picks up from the farmers market.
Tuesday I visited and ordered the brown rice, which was much more than brown rice. It consisted of a mix of black beans, diced pumpkin and butternut squash. The brown rice, yellow in color confused me, and I asked, “are you sure this is brown rice?” Mally replied, “Yes, it’s my secret.”
The following day, I returned for seconds, if that tells you anything… It was just my luck that the most popular item, “Fesenjoon,” pomegranate stew was on the menu. Mally mentioned that customers complain that she doesn’t make it everyday. She recommended the daily rice, which was jasmine rice with saffron in combination with the stew. Meals include two items of choice, a piece of freshly baked bread and a piece of chocolate for $9.50 (tax included). They are generously portioned and can feed two.
With the smell of exotic spices and fresh goodness permeating my car I rushed home with my treats. Since I had some left over from the other day, I planned on sharing it with Foodie for dinner, and served him the “brown” rice. The first words out of the boss’s mouth were “Salt.” “It needs salt.” I brought Foodie salt thinking, “yup, probably too “healthy” for him. Ok, at least I tried…” However, the second words out of his mouth were, “Interesting balance of flavors, nice utilization of beans for protein, and the spices add depth, bringing out the essence of the ingredients.” Ok, not bad. Maybe we are getting somewhere. Next, I served “the King” some pomegranate stew. He was silent for a while, finally speaking only one word, “Mmm.”
Pomegranate Kitchen puts a nice twist on “healthy” by incorporating international flavors with fresh, local, organic produce. I could see Pom Kitchen becoming my “favorite “hole in the wall” healthy food café” in Durham.
5504 Durham Chapel Hill Boulevard
Durham, NC 27707
Meals include freshly baked bread and chocolate piece
$9.50 (tax included)