Quick Bites: Shakespeare (and supper) in the park

What's in a name? That which we call a meal

By any other name would smell as good.

Words Players Theatre is currently presenting its fourth annual "Shakespeare in the Park" performance of the Bard's "Twelfth Night" now through June 30. They're also teaming up with Thyme Restaurant for "Seating and Supping for Nobility" on select dates during the show's run, which is held at Mayo Park now through June 27, and on the northeast side of Silver Lake Park June 29-30.

You can choose your level of nobility (and price) by setting the date: On June 23 (meal tickets may not be available for this date) and June 30, come for a "Midday Repast" luncheon fare, including Calypso salad, smoked turkey legs with sweet potato mash, and an apple dumpling sundae with vanilla bean. Play and meal at 1:30 p.m.; $30 per person.

Or, dine like royalty for dinner on June 26 and 29 for "The Duke's Table," a meal in four courses. The menu is in Olde English with translations, so for the first course you can enjoy a "sallet of all kinde with hearbes," or a green salad with herbs. This is followed with roasted quail with bay leaf, then apple cider syllabub, and the finale is strawberry ice with dark chocolate flan. The first, second and final courses are paired with wine selections, including a chardonnay, pinot noir and proseco. Play and meal begin at 6:30 p.m. each night; $60 per person.


Make your reservations ahead of time, though — you need to reserve at least three days in advance for meal tickets. ("Groundling" seats on wooden benches (no food included) are also available at each performance for a freewill donation.) For more information on reservations and showtimes, visit or call 507-216-6431.

Rochester expands its ethnic repertoire

A longtime Rochester business owner launched into the service side of the food industry this week when Elfatih Yousif opened Ali Baba, Rochester's first Arabic cuisine restaurant.

Yousif is owner of Broadway International Groceries, and opened the restaurant at 101 North Broadway, right next to his store. This must be a strategic move, considering Yousif is sourcing some of his traditional Arabic ingredients from his grocery store shelves and cases.

The Ali Baba menu features falafel, kabobs, lamb and chicken gyros, tabouleh and tahini salads, roasted goat, roasted lamb and tilapia.

Under the "this is genius" category, Ali Baba's kids' menu features staples like hot dogs, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, and cheeseburgers (as well as a gyro). This way, parents can check out a perhaps new-to-them ethnic cuisine without worrying whether their kids will eat anything. Brilliant.

Ali Baba is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. I'll check it out for a First Bite column in the coming weeks. In the meantime, give it a try and let me know what you think at .

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