Thursday, July 9, 2009

Paterson's Main Street

Karen Washington is a garden designer who has helped me transform my yard. This summer I have been enjoying the pleasures of the new design. I have been sitting in the yard to write while listening to the birds and watching the castor bean grow (it's a Jack-in-the-Beanstalk plant and grows right in front of your eyes). I wanted to thank her for this wonderful transformation in my space so I proposed dinner in Paterson. I found two Turkish restaurants online and I printed out the directions, in one case from Google and in the other from Yahoo. We started off following the directions, and just couldn't find the connections we were supposed to make. That's when it became apparent I hadn't printed out either the names or the phone numbers. I remembered one name -- sort of -- and we called for directions. We couldn't find those connections either, but at this point we decided to follow the signs which got us to Paterson. In Paterson we stopped a young woman coming out of a laundromat and asked how to get to Main Street. "Main Street?" she said, with what I thought was worry in her voice. "You go here and turn before the school, and go all the way down the hill and by the Falls and then to the bottom of the Falls by Burger King and then you make a left, and go to Main Street." At the part where she advised turning "before the school" my heart sank. But Karen got a big smile. "OK!" she said, thanking the woman. We headed off and sure enough, Karen knew exactly how to decipher "before the school," "by the Falls" and "left at Burger King." In no time at all we were on Main Street, heading towards we weren't exactly sure what. Suddenly, I saw a sign for "Alaturk" Turkish restaurant. I had seen this reviewed on the internet. We parked across the street, as advised in the window, and went in. I was a little intimidated, but a smiling young woman came forward and made us feel very welcome. We explained we didn't really know much about Turkish food. She immediately took an interest in introducing us to her cuisine and a feast of yummy dishes started to arrive from the kitchen, all fresh, delicately spiced and wonderfully fun to eat. The most spectacular was Turkish pizza, with a very thin crust and about two feet long, covered with chopped meat. She placed this on the latest edition of the Turkish news. We loved it. She explained that her family had just taken over the restaurant two weeks before. Her husband was the chef and he came out to say hello and we were delighted to tell him how much we enjoyed the food. They have great hopes for the restaurant which has a lovely space for a garden. When I explained that Karen was a garden designer, they asked for her card and took her back to see their yard. She immediately had visions of trees and arbors. I started thinking about grapes and how my own yard, transformed by her alchemy, is now such a wonderful place to pass the hours. When it was time to go, we asked for directions, got on the highway immediately and were home in less time than it takes to tell. I promised Karen that next time she goes on an outing with me, I'll take a map, the name of the restaurant, and the telephone number. She laughed.

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