On September 22 and 23, French-Algerian chef Farid Zadi is bringing back his Couscousfest, two years after debuting the North African semolina celebration in Pasadena to a packed crowd. This year, the chef has two days of North African street food paired with craft beer and Algerian aguas frescas planned at his new Koreatown restaurant, Spanish Fly Gastropub, with dishes not normally found on the menu, including snails with spicy Algerian chermoula sauce, slow roasted goat or lambs head that must be pre-ordered to satisfy demand, lamb offal kebabs using liver, tongue, and kidney, and couscous spreads using lamb, beef, chicken, vegetables, and merguez sausage. In addition to a station showcasing brik and two tagine cooking demos, Zadi says he's also planning a group of dishes best described as "North African stoner food." Say what?
In a statement, Zadi says, "Yes, a lot of those hashish stories you've heard about North Africa are true. Ancient Berbers were the original stoners." The chef also admits he feels he played it a little too safe at couscous festivals past, leading to the offerings of offal and such dishes as Algerian fried chicken wings under the name AFC, along with Algerian pizzas, merguez and lamb doner sandwiches, and Puebla's tacos arabes, which find spit-roasted pork wrapped in pita-style tortillas.
The couscous festival will play out as a special menu offered that Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10:00 P.M. or until Spanish Fly's kitchen runs outs of food. Tagine demos will be held on both days at 2:00 and 5:00 P.M. Reservations are recommended at 213-412-2992 or over email. Parking is free for two hours at the Mercury Building and the full menu is below for you to plan accordingly.
Couscousfest at Spanish Fly Gastropub, September 22 and 23 at 3800 Wilshire Blvd. Koreatown.
Couscous Royale: lamb, beef, chicken, vegetables and merguez~ 26 per person
Slow roasted goat or lamb heads~ 26 (pre-ordering required)
Lamb doner and merguez sandwiches ~8
Spicy chermoula snails ~ 6
Lamb offal kebab wraps: tongue, kidneys, or liver~4
AFC (Algerian fried chicken wings) ~12
Algerian pizzas~ 8-12
Dips and fried flat bread chips~5
Algerian aguas frescas~4
Algerian spiced iced teas~4
Hot mint tea~2.5
Turkish cardamom spiced coffee~3