Oktoberfest doesn't just mean sausage and sauerkraut -- at least not when Farid Zadi busts out his tagine this weekend. On Sept. 22 and 23, the French-Algerian chef and owner of the recently opened Spanish Fly Gastropub in Koreatown brings back his Couscousfest for a third year. Larger in scope than the previous iterations, Zadi will host two days of North African street food, craft beer, "Algerian agua frescas," and North African tagine cooking demos.
Couscous, the Berber semolina dish common in Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, is one of the defining elements of North African cooking according to Zadi, who explains, "there is no special event without couscous." Along with generous servings of the fluffy grain will be some off-menu items for adventurous eaters, such as snails with spicy chermoula sauce, slow roasted goat's head (pre-order required) and grilled offal kebabs using bits like liver, tongue and kidney.
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In addition, Zadi explains that he's also featuring a variety of traditional street food, or what he describes as "North African stoner food." Selections include Algerian fried chicken wings, Algerian pizzas, Merguez sausage sandwiches, tacos arabes (spit roasted pork rolled up in thick tortillas). All of these should pair well with the curated selection of craft brews available, or perhaps some high-grade hashish. According to Zadi, "A lot of those hashish stories you've heard about North Africa are true. Ancient Berbers were the original stoners." Sounds like a good time to us.
Couscous Festival: Special menu offered Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m., or while supplies last. Tagine demos are being held on both days at 2 and 5 p.m., though reservations are recommended to attend. Contact the restaurant at (213) 412-2992 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spanish Fly Gastropub parking is free for two hours at the Mercury Building next door.
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