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Yak is Yummy

I just returned from a trip where I stopped at two Moroccan restaurants. But, if I'm going to talk about those, I should first back-track to the Tibetan one from last month. 

Llasa Cafe, Northampton, MA

I'd heard good things about this, and it was indeed very good. I had "yaksha phing" (yak with bean threads and black mushrooms" and a "ting-mo" (a steamed roll) with "bocha" (the buttered salted tea). The yak was very much like very lean beef. The bean threads were like very fine rice noodles. With the mushrooms, it made a very nice combination.

The roll was odd-looking, as if the outside of a dim sum bean-paste bun had been flattened out and folded in layers something like an extra-large extra-complicated fan-tan roll. I know they said "steamed" on the menu, but when it first came out it just looked like they'd forgotten to bake it. The taste? Like the outside of that bean-paste bun.

This was the first time I'd had the buttered tea and that too was odd, but not at all exotic. By that, I mean that all the flavors were very simple and recognizable ones, and the taste very easy to describe. Imagine sucking on a buttered saltine cracker that's been dipped into regular milky tea, and you have it, and I'll be happy to have it again, too. But the taste does stay in your mouth for hours afterward. 

The restaurant is small, and in a block of stores near the center of town.  There's on-street parking, or head down the alley to a couple of municipal parking lots in back.   The decor is minimal but ethnically sincere (there's a small shrine behind the counter).  Think casual Cambridge neighborhood place, including the ability to eavesdrop on college students talking about politics, friends, and their horrible course load.