This week, Jonathan Gold visits Nersses Vanak in Glendale, an Iranian restaurant that specializes in dizi, Iranian lamb and chickpea stew. The cold weather-appropriate dish is best enjoyed when the final steps of preparation are done yourself. The Goldster explains that the dish is served in "chubby cast-aluminum pots with stout metal pestles lodged jauntily inside." After dumping the broth into a bowl:
Then turn your attention to the aluminum pot. The round disk at the bottom of the pestle has been beveled into more or less the shape of a top; roll it around the bottom of the pot in an undulating circular motion until the meat, legumes, potatoes and aromatics have been crushed into a coarse paste about the consistency of refried beans.
Spoon some of the mash out onto your plate, sprinkle on a bit of salt and sumac, and eat it as is. Moisten it with a spoonful or two of broth if you like. Tear off a scrap of the hot flatbread, tuck in a bit of it with some herbs and pretend that you are eating an Iranian taco. [LAT]
The Times critic enjoys the comforting stew, and also recommends the ground beef kebab and eggplant dip.