Behold the following scene, a day after Christmas, in Laguna Niguel: a muscular white male arguing with a Latina cook over a muffed order of Persian food. The tiff occurred at GRILL HUT, a clean, well-lit room consisting of a counter, a kitchen, a couple of tables, a Snapple case and a soda fountain.
I didn't pay much attention to the fight at first, busy as I was using triangles of toasted pita bread to scoop through a canister of mast-o-khiar, a yogurt-cucumber-mint dip that freshens every pore of your being. I saved a bit of the mast-o-khiar to pour over a steaming dome of basmati rice that arrived within minutes. The rice accompanied one of the greatest steak kebabs of my life—glistening, medium-rare chunks I ripped apart with effortless nibbles. The Latino cooks in the kitchen judiciously punctuated the meat with grilled onions, bell peppers and tomatoes; each lent different notes of vegetable charm. Perhaps it was the Latino cooks, but the kebab was spicier than usual for Persian food, with each steak and veggie mass dusted with sumac. Not a problem: droplets of sweat on the cheeks are good for your countenance.