Destination…Morocco

Traditional Moroccan food and entertainment enthralled all in attendance

Photo by Rusty Strait/The Valley Chronicle
A belly dancer entertains the dinner crowd at Saturday’s Moroccan-themed dinner event at Destination Coffee Bar & Bistro.

■ Rusty Strait / Senior Reporter

There was no Bing, Bob and Dorothy. I searched for Bogie and Ingrid. Sam, the piano man? Nowhere in sight. Disappointed? Not on your life.
Patricia Yepremian and co-owner Gio Yepremian transformed the northwest corner of Florida Avenue and State Street into Hemet’s very own Moroccan village Saturday night to the delight of a packed house. The weather was perfect and the breeze was reminiscent of a balmy Mediterranean afternoon. For the second destination dinner under the stars, the courtyard was the perfect venue, complete with 6 to 8 person tables, surrounded by orange trees and lush vegetation, courtesy of Valley Beautiful’s volunteer horticulturists.
The cuisine was traditional Moroccan. Patricia swore it was the first time she’d ever tried her hand at such exotic dishes. I don’t know what she called the spread but it was to die for if you happen to be a gourmet diner – and most of the guests were. There were old friends meeting new friends and generally becoming part of the evening as Gio entertained us with “As Time Goes By,” well remembered by anybody who ever came close to “Casablanca,” and “We’ll always have Paris.”
During the second or third course, Gio burst out with her rendition of “The Man Who Got Away,” although watching James Mason walk to his demise into the ocean’s surf had nothing to do with the evening. Somehow we made it fit into our evening persona.
Well-known belly dancer Nikkal’s daughter Chanti, following in the wake of her mother’s belly-jelly performances, gave us an astounding rockin’ n’ rollin’ jiggle of her voluptuous abdominal muscles that brought smiles to the male diners and perhaps some envy to their mates – but all in good fun.
One mishap interrupted the festivities when Chanti’s crown of fire dislocated but Good Samaritan Rob Lindquist rushed into the flame and extinguished it with a magic cape – or so it seemed. He received a well-deserved round of applause.
As the evening wound down, Gio delivered a rousing rendition of Cole Porter’s “Too Darned Hot.”
Among those in attendance besides the Lindquists were Kevin Speir and his mainstay, Maria, Robert and Judi McPherson, Tom and Julie Arnold and, Dave and Jan Row.
Special kudos to the polished staff who distinguished themselves in serving the hungry throng with such finesse and aplomb.
By the way, no one muttered the words that were never spoken by Ingrid Bergman, “Play it again Sam.” Just sayin’.
rustystrait@gmail.com

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