Layla’s Persian Food + Meshugganah

image oh she's not waiting imageToday I met my friend Kelly at a teeny tiny hole in the wall place called Layla’s.  And it was perfect. Oh was it perfect?! We took a break from our work days to look through my hundreds of honeymoon photos.  We shared two Persian meals (that each included a soup or a salad at a mere 8 bucks a pop).  I drank French Press coffee that was obviously made fresh and brought to the table in the French press!! And then we had $1 homemade baklava. I could have eaten a hundred at that price. But I resisted. Somehow. The walls were colorful and the furniture was mismatched and it was just so lovely in this dive-y, not even trying to be beautiful kind of way.

And I think we met Layla?  Because there was only one woman who worked there and I’m pretty sure she had to be Layla because I picture a Layla looking just like this. Crazy brown hair, donning an apron with the loudest laugh and so much personality. I think infectious is the word for a personality like hers. Everyone who walked in the door knew her (or you’d think they did from the way she bantered on). Oh did I love her.

She cooked and she waited all the tables (there’s only five) and she took our money and I saw her make my coffee in the kitchen. She’s definitely Layla.

“Don’t worry.  I’m sure your marriage will be more successful than mine,” Layla says, beeming as we talk of our similar three-week road trips and her subsequent recent divorce from the man she took that long winding journey with. A flick of the wrist and an eye roll, “That man that I married. Meshugganah!

I immediately returned to my desk post-lunch and looked up that word (meshugganah!) because if this woman uttered that word with that voice it had to be good.

And how could I have gone so long without every knowing this word? Meshugganah. What a perfectly brilliant expression?!  It means crazy which seems simple but the way she used it with so much emphasis and passion. It meant so much more than crazy. Maybe you all have heard this a billion times before. Maybe you all have Jewish friends. Well I apparently don’t or at least not Jewish friends who say meshugganah like that because it was totally foreign to me.

And thank god, now it’s not. It came at such a spectacular time because my day, my day was totally meshugganah.  Is that a proper use of the word?  I don’t know. I don’t care. I want to carry on like Layla telling stories as I simultaneously cook and serve people lunch.

Oh how I love you Layla.  I’ll be back!

-Leek

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