Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – XCVII. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – Entertainment (23 of 30)

El Hatti

El Hatti was a famous restaurant specializing in grilled (on charcoal) meats. It was an elegant place with mirrors and chandeliers. If you were visiting Cairo, you made sure to stop there; as for Cairenes, they ate there as often as their pocketbook allowed.

Of all his grilled specialties, my favorite was the Kofta Kebab (minced meat with onions, parsley, and a variety of spices). Once you tasted it, you never forgot it.

In addition to the fruits of his grill, El Hatti was known for his tarachi. Tarachi is the plural of torchi, which means pickled vegetables. The moment you sat down, a variety of tarachi were placed on the table; some of the items that I remember: Turnips, dill pickles, olives, eggplant, and pickled lemons. His salads were second to none; he performed magic feats with the vegetables and a large array of tahabish (dressings). The favorite was without discussion a tomato and parsley salad. I’ve tried to duplicate this salad, alas, to no avail.

The service was superb and you were never rushed. Because this was an elegant restaurant, the accent was on indoor eating; he had a patio if you wished to eat outside, but few people used it unless it was for a beer and tarachi.

In relative terms, his prices were reasonable; you were never charged for the aforementioned tarachi unless you ordered more; they were on the house.

In the mid-’40s, El Hatti introduced something new. it was a flat and round piece of dough on which cheese and a variety of vegetables and meats were placed; the whole thing was then baked in a special oven imported from Italy. It was called Pizza! El Hatti was rolling the dices here. And he lost his bet! Pizza – at least in those days – never took off in Egypt.

Since it was born in Italy, many Egyptians predicted that there it will stay! No other nations would take to it. But, of course, even then, it had already conquered the palates of millions of people across the globe.

El Hatti still exists behind the Cicurel department store on 26 July street, virtually next door to the Horris hotel.


Tseppas was a famous pastry shop where you could sit down for coffee and pastries. Alternatively, you just picked the desired pastry, an ice-cold glass of water, and, after you’ve paid, you sat at a long table and devoured it. The chances were good that you would repeat that process at least once more. Supposedly, if you were in a rush it gave you a quick burst of energy; but let’s be honest, you indulged your sweet tooth and provided yourself with a “logical” explanation.

When I had the money, and was downtown, I indulged myself. Calories were not an issue, since, for most of my younger years, I was very thin.

Tseppas still exist, but the Tseppases have left the country a long time ago. I doubt that the pastries are of the same high quality. Producing such pastries is no longer viable; using the ingredients that were used back then would make such a treat prohibitively expensive.

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