Thursday, January 31, 2008

Getting your Mideast feast on...cheaply

It all started when I was faced with a tiny tub of $4 hummous and a $5 box of pita chips at the Atwater's Farmers market. The hummous and other dips from the guys that sell at farmers' markets is pretty good stuff, but the prices seemed way too high. In a fit of pique, I drove over to Whole Food for Life market (3070 Los Feliz Blvd.), which seemed like the closest Middle Eastern market. They had the requisite pita bread for 70 cents or so a bag, and I also picked up a bag of maneishe bread and a tub of rich, oily, delicious eggplant salad. The next week, I wanted the full-on shopping-in-a-hectic-Yerevan-market experience, so Matt and I stopped in at Super King (2716 San Fernando Road). For $20, I got a pint of creamy hummus, a pound of marinated chicken breast kabob chunks, some 50 cent pita bread, and so many vegetables I haven't had time to cook them all. It's nice to see people actually buying vegetables at a supermarket, since at Ralph's they usually seem to concentrate on the potato chip and soda aisles.
But my family ate up all the pita bread, and I still had hummus left for lunch. A trip to Sasoun Bakery (5114 Santa Monica Blvd.) was in order. If you don't patronize Sasoun (there's one in Glendale too), you're missing out on one of L.A.'s best and most flavorful bargains. I got a wonderfully tangy spinach borek and two fresh maneishe breads, covered in sumac and thyme and sesame seeds -- much better than the pre-packaged variety -- all for about $4. A Middle Eastern tour of L.A. has got to be the best way to perk up some boring brown bag lunches. Next stop: the Russian delis of West Hollywood.


DLoyd76 said...

Don't forget Elat Market on Pico! Best Hummus in LA IMHO.

Miles said...

Well, let's focus on the east side (angry comments may follow on what constitutes the east side). I can't wait to try SuperKing or Sasoun. Now, if only one middle eastern place would land on Glendale in Atwater Village, my life would be complete.

Anonymous said...

If you hit SuperKing at the right time during the day, they pull borek/lamajune out of the oven in the in-store bakery and announce the special, ala K-Mart in the 70's "Attention, SuperKing shoppers!. . . "

d-kat said...

Super King is awesome - among other things, I stock up on veggies for my bunnies there. But don't ever go there on a Saturday or Sunday, the parking is an effing mess.

So - what is maneishe bread? I don't eat meat, and I don't want to get a mouthful of bread stuffed with chicken or pork or something like that. (A lot of old country folks don't consider chicken meat, so they will tell you something is made with no meat when it has chicken.)

I googled it, but couldn't find it.


Pat Saperstein said...

Hi Esther,
Maneishe bread is definitely vegetarian, and you should check it out for sure. It's a flat bread covered in thyme, sumac, and sesame seed (probably with a little olive oil to hold it together) and it has a wonderful tangy flavor. It's good as a snack by itself or wonderful dipped into hummus or anything else.

d-kat said...

Thanks, Pat! I can't wait to try it out. I'll hit your hummus places, too. There's an impression on my palate of the perfect hummus, and I haven't found it yet.