A family that plays together stays together, and so does one that works together.
Mohamed Nemer remembers how, from the age of seven, his daughter Samara would plead for him to one day open a restaurant.
Keeping his promise, Mohamed opened a restaurant with his family five years ago [@2013] and named it Samaras.
Amid the array of canvas photos inside the Wollongong eatery is one of a woman making bread and another of a man picking peaches from a garden in the mountains of south-eastern Lebanon.
The Middle Eastern passion for food has been embraced by Mohamed and his children Omar, Macey, Alyca and Samara…
So eight years then.
Last time Chris T and I were at Samaras was in August: With the Japanese bikers in the halal restaurant…. Odd, but not quite so strange, that there was a pair of Japanese bikers of mature and beneficent appearance yesterday as this weekend Wollongong is hosting a sizable gathering of Harley Davidsons.
It started in the morning, a low rumble that could have been distant thunder. A 747 perhaps.
But workers across the Wollongong CBD soon realised it wasn’t going away.
It was an entire cavalry of Harley-Davidson owners arriving on their polished steeds for this weekend’s Harley Days festival.
By Friday afternoon there were thousands of bikes at Stuart Park as festivities got underway for Australia’s biggest Harley-Davidson gathering.
Ian Didlick had ridden from Beenleigh in Queensland for the event. He tried to explain a Harley’s unique appeal.
“It’s probably the roughest, most expensive, most ill-handling piece of machinery I’ve ever had – but it’s a Harley-Davidson,” he said…
The southern part of the region will roar again on Sunday when the riders go on their Thunder Run, which starts at Flagstaff Hill at 10am on Sunday and travels through Dapto to Albion Park then back via Windang to Wollongong.
Back at Samaras: we resolved on two items we had had before: grandma’s olives and the meat-lover’s platter. You may read about grandma’s olives on Munching against the fear of “the other”…
Yes, “Grandmother’s Olives!” The lovely young woman serving us assured us they were indeed from her very own grandmother, that in fact she had herself helped harvest them at one time. They proved to be delicious, not over salty. There was an enlarged photo on the restaurant wall of said grandmother in her olive grove…
I look back on Grandmother’s Olives now with even more wonder. Is not our world enlarged, even by a meal such as we had yesterday – and halal the lot of it too. “Reclaiming” Australia = Impoverishing Australia, in my opinion. (See also Reclaiming Australia Persian-style in Wollongong.)
And the platter FOR ONE! You’d have to have some appetite!
What we tried for the first time was an entree called Za’ahtar.
Also Romanised as Za’atar: see Wikipedia.
There is evidence that a za’atar plant was known and used in Ancient Egypt, though its ancient name has yet to be determined with certainty. Remains of Thymbra spicata, one species used in modern za’atar preparations, were found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, and according to Dioscorides, this particular species was known to the Ancient Egyptians as saem.
Pliny the Elder mentions an herb maron as an ingredient of the Regale Unguentum(“Royal Perfume”) used by the Parthian kings in the 1st century CE.
In Jewish tradition, Saadiah (d. 942), Ibn Ezra (d. circa 1164), Maimonides (1135–1204) and Obadiah ben Abraham (1465–1515) identified the ezov mentioned in the Hebrew Bible with the Arabic word “za’atar”…
In the Levant, there is a belief that za’atar makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za’atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam or before school. This, however, is also believed to be a myth fabricated during the Lebanese civil war to encourage eating of za’atar, as provisions were low at the time and za’atar was in abundance. Maimonides …, a medieval rabbi and physician who lived in Spain, Morocco, and Egypt, prescribed za’atar for its health advancing properties.
The things you can experience without leaving Wollongong!