Dining Out Hatam A Family Restaurant in Mission Viejo

“”Where is a good place to go for authentic Persian food?”” How many times have your non-Persian friends asked you that question? Well, a few weeks ago we decided to go and check out a local Persian restaurant in the neighborhood called Hatam. It’s a cozy little place with a friendly environment and great hospitality. “”We serve fresh, homemade food all day every day,”” said owner Babak Kashkouli. Their specialties include, of course, kabob with the famous basmati rice on the side, as well as stews like Ghorme Sabzi, Gheime Bademjan, Abgousht, Fesenjan, Karafs, Koofteh, Tahchin, Bamieh and Kotlet; Ash and specialties like Soltani, Barg, Baghalipolo with Mahiche and more!

” “We use the freshest ingredients on a day to day basis,”” Babak explained. “”My sister Afsaneh Kashkouli manages the restaurant together with our serving manager Ali Shafiee.””

Aside from dining in, Hatam is best known for their catering and to-go services. Even while we were there they received two catering orders! So if you don’t have time to come in for a sit down meal, you can always order to-go!

“Anytime you want to come in during our business hours, we promise you the best quality service and food. We’ll treat you like a member of the royal family! And for OCPC readers, we offer an appetizer or a side dish with any entree!”” said Babak.

DUI Cases by Kourosh Jafari

Nowadays when most people are leading stressful lives, feeling overwhelmed with their responsibilities and daily activities, the value of meditation shines forth.

It’s time to choose meditation as a way of life, to help you understand better who you are, and what your needs are. Perhaps, after careful consideration you would choose a different life then the one you have created for yourself.

We are always searching for peace, we work hard to create the life we think we want to earn more so we can have a better car, a bigger home, better furniture, so we can be comfortable to finally be at peace. But, the more we engage in the worldly materialistic pursuit, the more conditioned we become to its complicated, never ending demands and that’s when we become a stranger to our true essence, which is peace and serenity.

That’s why I have created these simple organic excercises that will bring you closer to yourself. It’s taking a short vecation from the world outside to reach and touch who we really are within. Don’t be surprised if this journey begins to feel all too familiar to you!

Write the word meditation in bold letters on your to-do list. Everyday sit quietly for a few minutes, close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath, stay with your breath for a couple of minutes, now invite yourself to be at peace, allow your muscles to let go of all tensions and your thoughts to slow down.

Now you will begin to find yourself in a more peaceful space. Use this space to find out how you feel, are you truly pleased with your life? Re-evaluate your values and if you choose, make some adjustments.

1. For the start, let’s plan your day in a way that pleases you, in other words add an activity that serves you better. What do you enjoy doing? For instance, if you like nature, take yourself somewhere beautiful by the ocean or perhaps you choose the park or the forest and if you are really short of time go to your own backyard or balcony.

2. Take a deep breath, now for couple of minutes be aware of your breaths as they come and go, then slowly start to feel your own presence; notice yourself, focus your attention on what is going on inside of you.

3. Now, ask yourself: How you feel? Does it feel good to be out here experiencing yourself in nature? If the answer is yes, your brain has just sent the message of peace and serenity to your nervous system.

Here is another beneficial exercise.

1. Every night before you go to sleep sit quietly for a few minutes, take some deeper longer breathes.

2. Bring your awareness on your breath, love and nurture yourself, feel this love for yourself deep in the chore of your being and stay in this vibration for a few minutes.

3. Now, feel the shift in your energy and let it absorb into your cells.

With this simple exercise, you sent the message of love and kindness to your nervous system, as a result your nerves begin to let go a bit and allow you to experience the peace within. At this time truly let go of all thoughts and ideas and connect to yourself on a deep level and while you feel the connection, ask yourself for a peaceful life. You know you deserve it!

Yes, peace and joy is within us and you have always longed for it, stop looking for it outside of you, once you find it merge with it, lose yourself in it, allow your cells to dance in this blessed joyful light and finally radiate this peace and joy to the world around you.

Experiencing Iran

It is 1 P.M. and you just got off the plane. Extremely tired, exhausted and drained are the only feelings going through your head. The hot, dry air, the heavy luggage, the noise and the wait is making every moment tougher. Making your way towards the arrival doors you suddenly see a dozen people with big, happy smiles anxiously waiting to welcome you. Then you realize every minute is passing by so fast and you don’t even feel the pain you had minutes ago; all of a sudden all you see is a bunch of people – or should I say 5-6 cars – following you home, making you feel as special as a newlywed bride!

There is no such thing as “material happiness” in Iran. Relationships are very pure and real. People don’t need to know each other to bind. When you’re in the bakery, grocery store, shopping center, or even getting a ride in a taxi, you always see friendly faces chatting with each other. Conversations start when you are least expecting them; exchanging the latest happenings in the city. Taxi drivers are the best source of news because all day long they get to listen to passengers. Closeness and friendship goes beyond what stands out in a city. All in all, in Iran’s version of ‘New York City’, people still bring about the old ways of warmth and kindness… and enjoy every single second they spend together.
What do young people really do for fun? The nightlife in Tehran isn’t made very public but the inside scoop is that the young community enjoys themselves. Hangouts such as coffee shops, restaurants and juice stops get packed with loads of people on Thursday and Friday nights. People stay out late enjoying their time with friends or family at places such as Abmeeveh Tochaal, with their famous “sheer pesteh”, fast food places like Behrouz, Burger Teen and Feri Kasif, as well as places like Darband and Park Jamshidieh. The next stop would be a hookah/teahouse to lay back and relax with what is left of the night. Where do the others go? The rest are at house parties with the best music and some of the best looking guys and girls you could ever find. You don’t have to make plans for your weekend – they are already planned out for you!

Having a good time and going to some parties can turn out to be nothing but trouble. Some young people have to go through a lot and be alert so that nothing goes wrong. Sometimes parties or hang out places are interrupted not just for having loud music and waking up the neighbors, but because of the whole idea of “partying”. Even while grabbing a cup of coffee with your friend you always have to be on top of everything. What is the bright side? Mostly all of them could manage and are smarter than it seems!

Oh! Who could leave out the unforgettable “Jordan” and “Fereshteh”! These two streets are supposedly known as the happening streets where everybody gets to know each other better. Put on one last touch of make-up and don’t forget to fill-up your car with enough gas to have some fun. Why? People circle the streets until they lose count! You pass by different cars and faces and get to have a little giggle or two with your friends!!

It really is a worthwhile vacation to visit Iran and get a taste of how people really have fun and entertain themselves. Aside from the historical and ancient aspect, which may take weeks to explore, the culture is so deep and authentic that it causes you to blend in very smoothly and comfortably. The pleasure of it will truly last you a lifetime…

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