Best Baklava - 2007
The dreamy, decadent Nightingale's Nest served at Ararat is not, strictly speaking, a baklava from a purely geometric standpoint, it's more reminiscent of a m'hanncha but any filo-honey-walnut concoction this irresistible can call itself anything it damn well pleases. Ararat's rendition transcends the prosaic with feathery, buttery pastry, thick chunks of slow-roasted walnuts, a sprinkling of crunchy pistachio dust, and a plenitude of honey scented with the earthy sweetness of lavender. The Nightingale's Nest is presented encircled in sweetened whipped cream, with spokes of dried apricot radiating from its sinuous dimensions. Unlike many of its brethren, the Nest is neither dry nor soggy but rich and smooth, like a sun-kissed, Mediterranean-lapped bread pudding with zest and crunch; one supple bite and you're lying on the beach at Corfu while goats frolic to the music of panpipes.