Instagram Post 6/13/2018
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An Iraqi (🇮🇶 – not often do I get to use that flag!) meal at Al-Mazaq Restaurant and Bakery at 46 East Railway Ave in Paterson, NJ turned out to be a novel experience. Al-Mazaq (المذاق) is the Arabic word for taste and I assuredly tasted some flavors I hadn’t come across before. A family operated business, our food was appropriately homespun and humble, elevated by the charming assistance of sisters Riyam and Hiyam.
 From the breakfast side of the menu, we ordered the Bagila Platter, seasoned broad beans (bagila) with eggs served over a foundation of Iraqi bread, languishing there to soak up every bit of flavor. But what was that vaguely familiar but elusive dusty seasoning?
 The mystery close up. Many questions and a lot of research later yielded the answer: البطنج – butnij, or crushed, dried river mint, a first for me.
 Next up were gaymar, a homemade fresh cheese supplemented with clotted cream and “black honey”,  and its accompanying kahi, squares of syrupy bread; dishes that when consumed together were elegant in their simplicity but ambrosial in their lusciousness. I found a similar cheese in a nearby market and intent upon reproducing this delicacy at home, tried numerous permutations of honey, pomegranate molasses, and date molasses along with clotted cream and heavy cream. Alas, I never even got close.
h/t Dave Cook, @eatingintranslation and by extension, Peter Cucè, @baoandbutterblog