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Feb 24, 2018
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Drink This Weekend Edition: Drink The Dirty Persian at Cafe Natasha now, and for another 30 years

June 28th 03:06pm, 2013


When Natasha Bahrami tapped my shoulder recently to tell me I just had to try The Dirty Persian at her Cafe Natasha’s, I arrived at the restaurant’s doorstep at 3200 S. Grand Blvd., in record time. The draw? First, hearing the martini contained a spicy, 8-year-old brine her father had made for pickling Persian vegetables. Second, when I asked Bahrami which base spirit the restaurant used as the default for this classic cocktail, she replied, “I am a gin girl all the way, and The Dirty Persian is definitely better as a gin martini.” Sweet music to this gin aficionado’s ears.

The Dirty Persian is one of the most fabulous martinis that I’ve had the pleasure of drinking in quite some time. You’d think this cocktail would kill you from being too strong on a hot summer day. Not so. It’s nice and wet from a fair amount of Dolin dry vermouth. It’s super-cold – shaken so hard that condensation on the glass sticks around for a long, long time. But it’s the pickle brine that gives it such unique flavor. And if you get hungry, try it with the kookoo platter; the martini will accentuate the freshness of the herbs in this Persian quiche in ways you didn’t think possible.

Since the aged brine is such a precious treasure, Natasha’s only offers The Dirty Persian on its summer cocktail list. Order it this weekend before the restaurant closes July 1 to July 9 to prepare for its 30th anniversary party, slated for Aug. 15. (You have a chance  to win an invite to the party by liking its Facebook page.) When Cafe Natasha’s reopens, you’ll see a long-time, family-owned favorite with a whole new look. The front dining area will be transformed into a casual bar area, and the back dining room into a formal dining room. A new bar, lighter and brighter colors on the walls, carpeting replaced by a tile floor and new lighting are all part of the plan for achieving what Bahrami described as “a modern feel with Persian accents.” We’ll drink to that.

By Ligaya Figueras

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