My favorite Lebanese restaurant that also holds the title of my favorite restaurant with two locations on one block is called Open Sesame, A.K.A., Open Says Me, in Long Beach, California.
I could write several pages on every menu item because just the thought of it makes my my mouth water and my heart sink in longing, but today I am celebrating their white coffee.
White Coffee is not coffee at all, but hot orange blossom water with fresh mint. The first time I had it, it seemed weird to order a hot minty beverage with my garlic potatoes, lentil soup and Kibbi, but I was hooked. I can’t go to Open Sesame without ordering this lovely libation.
Why is it so special? The scent of the orange blossom water with mint wafting from the hot cup instantly transports one to a happy place. Yours may be a spa in Athens or the sock department at Target, but mine is a beautiful garden of aromatic flowers, a white fluffy down bed and five cabana boys standing by to fulfill my every wish.
Today, I want you to heat some water, plop a little bunch of fresh mint in the cup or teapot with a few drops of orange blossom/flower water and, ahhhhhhhh, enjoy.
Note: Orange blossom water should be made with orange blossoms, not orange peel oil. The flower imparts a totally different aroma and flavor. I add a touch of agave nectar to really bring out the floral notes. The one in the photo is my favorite, but I read that Monsieur Monteux has chosen to retire and stopped making it. Selfish if you ask me. Retailers have replaced it with Noirot Culinary Orange Blossom Water.