Serendipity & Lemon Tahini Sauce


One of the many jobs I held in college was that of a hostess and waitress at a tiny cafe in downtown Cary, North Carolina named “Serendipity Deli”. It was a unique spot that honestly would’ve fit well in a town like Berkley, California. My fellow employees, of which there were only 6, were an interesting mix. The waitresses were all hippies, including one really sweet woman in her 60’s (we’ll call her Cheryl), who, in my memory, was always eating raw cucumbers behind the counter and talking about her fondness for animals. The other two hippie waitresses were young and fun. Eventually, my sister Jessie worked there too, which made the co-worker situation even more fantastic. We’d get to the cafe on Saturdays, turn up the music, and float around the place in our graphic t-shirts and flowy skirts. Two Moroccan men ran the kitchen, where they’d make anything from gazpacho to banana cream pie. I recall the relationship between the waitresses and the kitchen staff oscillated between being very friendly and very tenuous. I guess every workplace needs a little drama? The mix of personalities was colorful and I liked it.

Aside from the people, my favorite thing about Serendipity was their lemon tahini dressing. The veggie “garden” pita sandwich with lemon tahini dressing was a cafe favorite- and for a good reason. The depth of spring triggers fond memories of the days when I worked with good people and was carefree enough to be thrilled about earning a few extra bucks from pouring wine and taking sandwich orders at the local, offbeat cafe. It also sparks cravings for light, healthy foods that will fuel more time outside. I figured I’d try my hand at replicating the lemon tahini dressing, which I’ve rarely seen on a menu since.

Pour this over salads, sandwiches, or even dip chicken kebabs in it. Don’t let the pricetag of tahini discourage you – for $6/jar it’ll last you a long time, and you can use it to make your own hummus, too!

Lemon Tahini Dressing

3 servings

4 Tbsp tahini

2 tsp olive oil

2 tsp water

1 lemon, juiced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

  1. Mix ingredients together-  add water for a thinner consistency
  2. Spread on sandwiches or pour over salads
  3. Store in fridge
p.s. I realize this is an abrupt return. I’ve spent many months getting my bearing as a mother of an infant. I temporarily lost my passion for writing– or at least became very self-conscious about it. I knew it wouldn’t be good if it was forced. In the last week, my head has been filling up with things to share and recipes to attempt, and a voice in my head keeps saying “write, write, write”.

2 thoughts on “Serendipity & Lemon Tahini Sauce

  1. How random… I had a craving for making The Garden Pita, so I googled “lemon tahini” and for shucks added Serendipity, and this post turned up. I used to work at Serendipity in the early 90s as the sandwich maker, and later as a waiter. Can’t wait to try this recipe as see if it’s as good as I remember!

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