Friday, July 10, 2009

barry’s arabian adventure.

it was middle eastern mayhem the other weekend after i followed the silk road (97 avenue) to 134 avenue and discovered an arabian paradise. well, paradiso anyway. and sunbake, elsafadi, and hajar’s halal butcher. what am i talking about? little lebanon of course – an area of 134 avenue between 107 street and 113 street full of fantastic grocery stores, bakeries and butchers that promise to have something for everyone.

my bud and i started off at sunbake pita bakery where we loaded up on fresh pita, hummus, and ekawi cheese pie; big thumbs up to the pita and cheese pie, but the hummus was a little heavy on the tahini for our tastes.

next we headed west to elsafadi bros super market. here we discovered the wonders (or so we thought) of canned appetizers. you would think that we would know better, but we didn’t. stuffed dolmades and aubergines enticed us with their fancy packaging and promise of tastiness inside. LIES! it made us sad, but did not distract from the hundreds of other fascinating and tasty things to buy at elsafadi, including reasonably priced produce, and fun middle eastern treats – many of which aren’t canned.

paradiso called my name from the same strip mall as elsafadi. i went a little overboard on buying various baklavas and doughy treats (okay – a lot!) but it was so much fun! and everything tasted great, but be careful: some of the treats make sugar seem bitter, so handle with care.

finally it was around the corner to hajar’s halal meats for a big bag of chicken pieces cut and marinated in a delicious. $13.00 for this bag – and the chicken tasted great, particularly with some tzatiki.

this is not a cheap expedition, particularly if you’re like me and start getting carried away the moment you see new food options. pace yourself, and know that these fantastic places aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so relax and enjoy!


  1. Hey... just bought the big bag of marinated chicken :) Did you bbq it (from looking at your pic that's what I thought) ... the butcher suggested doing it in the oven, but I have a craving for bbq. What do you think?


  2. hey! not sure if i'm too late r, but why do it in the oven if you can bbq?

  3. I put my chicken on skewers and then on the BBQ. I served it with tzaziki, hummous, pita bread, greek salad, and rice pilaf.
    It was the best meal ever!
    One bag of chicken easily fed 6 people!

  4. You must have tried a poor brand of canned dolmades - you must try the Cedar brand. They are delicious with a squeeze of lemon juice.

    As for the stuffed eggplants - always avoid cans. Pickled in a jar is always the way to go! Yum!