I never thought much of eggplant. Sure, it’s a nice color for cashmere or cotton. But the vegetable? It’s nearly black, shiny, full of seeds, and a bit mushy and slimy when cooked. Not the most appetizing thing to emerge from a garden, in my experience, until you slice it, roll it in bread crumbs and slather the offending veggie in parmesan and marinara.

But my opinion has changed. Baba ghanouj has always been on my list of things I like-but-don’t-love, until now. After several months in my new neighborhood, I finally made it by the Damascus Grill off Littleton Boulevard. I’ve driven past it many times and noted the constantly full parking lot — always a good sign — but it took a gal pal coming down from Capitol Hill for me to finally try it. She heads down on a regular basis in search of the massively craveable baba ghanouj dip at Damascus. The grilled eggplant is mixed with sesame, garlic, lemon, and chopped walnuts. I think it was the walnuts that did me in; I dipped pita after pita into the delicious stuff, and could barely eat my lunch order (crispy falafels with a cucumber sauce and salad, which I ate soon after I returned home).

I now have a new respect for eggplant. And I have picked up on my friend’s Damascus habit. I’ll have to have my baba fix on a regular basis from now on. Best part? It’s cheap, it’s close to home, and it’s locally-owned. I’ll be eating eggplant a lot more in the future.