MICHELIN, Gault-Millau -- they all miss the boat when they M neglect Washington's holiday bazaars. That's where the public gets an annual forkful of the best of home cooking. You would know what we mean if you had been a regular at, say, St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church (42nd and Fessenden NW) for bazaar week every November. Its bourma (phyllo cigars rolled with walnuts) are the lightest and flakiest to be found; the luleh kebabs (skewered ground beef) zing with cumin; the cheese bourek (phyllo triangles) are buttery and crisp. And we know nowhere else to buy homemade string cheese. We don't like to sound excessive, but then we have just tasted samples of the dill-and-rice-stuffed grape leaves, the tabooli-like bulgur salad brightened with tomato paste, the balls of kufta with admirably thin bulgur shells. We were even relieved to find the baklava dry and the layered eggplant undercooked, for it confirmed that our taste discrimination had not taken a holiday. Yes, this is outstanding home cooking on a large scale. It's for sale to the public Wednesday, Nov. 4, and Thursday, Nov. 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. (for shish kebab dinners); Saturday, Nov. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for losh kebab (Armenian hamburger) sandwiches and 6 to 8 p.m. for shish kebab dinners. Individual dishes cost up to $1.75; the full course dinners are $8 for adults, $4 for children. We must warn you that food sells out early; the string cheese has always been cut short early in the week. And we also advise you to keep a look out for Swedish, Danish, French, Greek and every other kind of international church, school and community center festivities held in the next month as the holiday bazaar season shows its fall colors. In the meantime, here is St. Mary's Church's recipe for luleh kebab.
LULEH KEBAB (Makes 8) 2 slices day-old bread, crumbled 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1 cup tomato sauce 1 1/2 pounds ground lean chuck Chopped onions and parsley for garnish (optional)
Beat the bread, salt, pepper, allspice, cumin, paprika and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce to a paste. Add meat and mix well. Form into logs 4 inches long, 1 inch wide. Place on greased pan and broil at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and add the remaining 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Continue cooking in oven (not broiler) for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
Serve with rice, pita bread or in a roll. You may garnish with chopped onions and parsley.
New Yorkers have the uncanny ability to make a fad out of anything. At the moment, it is sea beans, which admittedly sound better as mouton cale'. In France, where the beans are grown in soil swept by the sea, they are ordinarily eaten by sheep. But Le Cirque restaurant in Manhattan finds that people are happy to graze on them as well, at least once they are saute'ed.
What do Halston, the Metropolitan Museum and David Rockfeller have in common? Parties by Glorious Foods, which is what Washington is going to have in common with New York by next spring. This supremely fashionable caterer -- so fashionable that it has no need for signature dishes that might identify "another Glorious Foods party" -- has decided that "Washington seems to be a more alive city than it used to be," as proprietor Sean Driscoll put it recently. So Washington will be the site of its first branch, opening officially next spring but doing parties for "special situations" here and there in the meantime. Driscoll emphasizes that his food is simple (translate expensive), and that he is trying to uplift the image of catering from stainless steel imitating silver to black and white lacquer, brass, antique baskets and whatever leaps from routine to originality in presentation. Well, Ridgewell?
Beer cans being passe' and baseball cards old-hat, the just-being-discovered collector's items are Junior League cookbooks. And the place to start collecting is at Washington's Junior League Christmas Shoppe, which will be selling books from 22 different cities in its Christmas Shoppe, Nov. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Mayflower Hotel. Admission to the shop is $3, with the money to be donated to local charities. This will also be the first moment this season to buy your Christmas plum pudding and gingerbread and candy cane houses. For more information, call 759-9605.
Yes, there is life beyond tacos. Diana Kennedy is returning to D.C. from her culinary research in Mexico to prove it at Williams-Sonoma, where she will be giving cooking classes on Nov. 4, 5, 6 and 7, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. On the 7th, it's an all-mole' class; before that, lessons will include salsa de chile cascabel, sopas chilaquilles, guavas rellenos con concada to name a few. Classes are $35 each, and advance registration is necessary. Call 244-4800.
If there is one organization we hope never goes on strike, it is this one that recently came to our attention: The Association for Dressings & Sauces. Life could indeed be dull without its constituency.
One fad that we are waiting to fizzle is making "pineapple" from zucchini, shredded and sweetened to taste like the crushed fruit. From the pineapple people comes retaliation in the form of ratatouille made "sweet 'n' sassy" with pineapple juice. Now that the zucchini inundation is past, we can pause to reflect on the whole idea. One shudders to think of the implications all this has for pina coladas.