Saturday, September 15, 2012 0 comments

Ironically enough after going for a very "dainty" lunch/High Tea at Morocco Chocolat, my day went changed from chic boutiques and shops of Yorkville to the suburban parkgrounds of Burlington. 

No joke, this is serious business
For those who are unaware, Burlington Ribfest prides itself on being the LARGEST rib festival in Canada. Running strong for 17 years, The National post dubs this carnivorous event as the "Superbowl of of Ribfests". For this usually quiet Halton region city, there was no shortage of crowds flocking to Spencer Smith Park to get their hands dirty when trying offerings from 18 "ribber" teams from across North America vying to get crowned for the best ribs title and bragging rights over their competitors. 

This finger licking good event was made possible by the organization of Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore. Over the past 16 years, The Burlington Rotary has made this a tremendously successful community event that welcomes over 100,000 people and has raised over $2.3 million for local, national and international charities! I will definitely eat to that! 

Accompanied with my friends Kasia and Vince, we made our way to the burbs and faced our first challenge of the night: PARKING! After nearly going insane, we went from car to line to get into the actual festival, which was fortunately fast because we were all ravenous! Making our way through rows of vendors selling homemade jewellery, candy apples, temporary tatttoos, we headed straight for the meat and potatoes of where all the ribber teams were located cooking away. Having only been on the park grounds once before, it was easy to find our way over to the rib stations as all we had to do was just follow our noses and look for the billowing clouds of smoke from all the smokers, slowly cooking, hundreds of pounds of pork ribs, chicken and pulled pork. Let me tell ya... for quiet suburb city, this was sensory overload!

After see the scale of the setups these rib teams display, its no wonder that these events can only be held out in suburbs and not in the city, its the only place with open space! As you can see from the pictures, all the competitors showcase the various awards they have won in the array of competitions they have entered. 

Through all the BBQ smoke and herds of hungry people and members of various rib teams screaming, yelling and wielding giant knives like crazy people, we needed to get some ribs of our own. Kasia and I being veterans of TUM (Toronto Underground Market) , we followed the same strategy as if we were at the Evergreen Brickworks for TUM: Divide and Conquer. We opted to not bother with the "filler" of chicken and pulled pork (although I'm sure it was all delicious) we went straight for the RIBS!

The plan was for each of us to pick a Rib stand and order a half rack of their ribs. After a few minutes, what was expected to be 3 half racks turned into 3 full racks! I went to Boss Hogs and I must of said something right because she she gave me a full rack even though I paid for half! Call it bribery, but I call it smart marketing ;). Vince also ran into a friend who was working for the Pork Company supplying the ribs to all the vendors and scored us a full rack of ribs from Silver Bullet for FREE! Vince also grabbed a half rack from Kentucky Smokehouse and Kasia went for a half rack at Sticky Fingers

The tasty offerings are as follows:

1. Silver Bullet: These free ribs were absolutely wonderful.   These meaty ribs had a healthy slathering of sauce that was full bodied ending with a nice little zing at the end.

2. Kentucky Smokehouse: These ones were definitely the ugly duckling of the pack. The initial flavour was nice with a strong Asian undertone with the taste of hoisin sauce coming through almost tasting like something you would get from a Chinese BBQ house in Chinatown. What really through me for a loop was the way they were cooked. Kentucky Smokehouse really took Smokehouse to heart as these ribs were exceedingly overcooked (and I didn't even think that was possible). In fact they were smoked/cooked so long, Kasia took a bite into one and went down to the actual bone marrow, not really an appetizing feeling I'm sure (judging by the look of displeasure on her face). 

3. Boss Hogs: Again, I have to thank the woman who generously gave me an additional half rack for free, these ribs were smoked and finished with just the perfect amount of sauce which was delightful. Rich and perfectly balanced and a nice slightly sweet finish. For an extra dollar, I opted for the BBQ baked beans and coleslaw. Beans were good but it was the coleslaw that was PHENOMENAL. It was your basic traditional mayo based coleslaw, but it was executed perfectly with the right amount of dressing while keeping a nice crunch on the shaved carrots, cabbage and red onion. Sooo good that Kasia ate all of it :P !! 

4. Sticky Fingers: These were also very well cooked ribs. A little on the dry side, but you can definitely taste the tomato base of the sauce and similar to Boss hogs, it also ended with a sweet finish. 

Verdict: All the vendors we sampled were indeed delicious and a very tough decision but the 3 of us felt like Silver Bullet and Boss Hogs were on top. Kasia leaned more towards Boss Hogs as she isn't a big fan of spice and Vince is so it left me on the fence of which Ribber reigned supreme. In the end, I would have to say Boss Hogs takes the cake in terms of execution of cooking of the ribs and the depth and flavour of sauce. The beans and coleslaw was just icing on the cake (since no others were purchased to be compared in all fairness) 

If you take a look at the Burlington Ribfest website results, our preferences weren't too far off from the rest of the rib eating crowd as Boss Hogs came in first and Silver Bullet in third for the People's Choice award. You bet that I won't pass up the chance to go to future ribfest events and you should seriously considering attending next years Burlington Ribfest as well. Great food for a great cause, you can't lose!

REVIEW: Morocco Chocolat

Friday, September 7, 2012 0 comments

Moroco Chocolat
99 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Phone: (416) 961-2202

Type of Restaurant: Brunch/Tea/Sweets/Baked Goods/Ice Cream
Attire: Smart Casual/Chic
Prices: $$$ Pricey
Payment Options: Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Debit/EFTPOS
Hours: Too many to list! see HERE
Reservations? Yes
Handicap Accessible? Yes, 1 floor  
Vegetarian Friendly? Yes
Vegan Friendly? Kinda


Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 4.5/5
Originality: 3/5
Atmosphere: 4/5

Well I've been back in T.O. for a while now and thought it would be good to get some reviews in the GTA. To get back in the swing of things of the busy city world, I turned to my friend Fondy and her Foodie Meetup group, Joy of Eating. (Meetup explained in my previous Amaya review) Before you know it, I was RSVP'd to Moroco Chocolat on the Labour Day weekend Sunday for High Tea.

I figured after working over 14 hours the day before in the office (doing nerdy IT stuff), I deserved to treat myself to a lavish and elegant meal and I don't know how much more extravagant you can get than going for High Tea in the very chic and upscale neighborhood of Yorkville. Now if you know me, I'm not the "daintiest" guy in the world but I figured what the heck, why not? 

a shot of the outdoor patio
Shot of the boutique area
Dining Room
I put on my Sunday best and headed west to Yorkville village. After a quick subway commute to Bay, I quickly arrived (and walked passed once) the slightly hidden but inviting entrance of Moroco Chocolat. Upon first glace, Moroco definitely holds a very significant and prime piece of real estate with a large outdoor patio, a modern and stylish confectionery and ice-cream boutique and quite the sizable and chic dining room. 

one of several display cases

I quickly found my way to the other Joy of Eating foodies and the High tea crash course began! Quick little history lesson, High tea (also known as meat tea) is typically an early evening (in our case afternoon) meal which first came about around 1825 where the word high is used to signify that it was taken or eaten later in the day. High tea consists of a hot dish like Mac and Cheese, Quiche or Sheppard's Pie, followed by an assortment of cakes, scones with butter or Devonshire cream (think sweetened butter) and jam, and finger sandwiches such as cucumber cream cheese and smoked salmon. Lastly, you can't have tea without the... you guessed it TEA! Which was my first challenge. 

The tea "rack"
Once settling in at the table, I was presented with what looked like a "spice rack" of herbs which was actually the tea list in mini samples where you could smell each one before making the decision of ordering one for your meal. I ended up choosing sunshine mate, which is an herbal tea native to South America and it had a unique slightly minted, slightly citrus and almost a very faded savory taste. 

I opted for the champagne with my high tea because c'mon... Who doesn't like a nice glass of bubbly?? I needed one (or 5) judging by the weekend I was having with all the overtime work in the office. After the tea decision was made, there was only the hot entrée left to choose and the rest of the meal was on auto pilot. The selection was between a Truffle Mac & Cheese, Grilled Cheese sandwich and the Daily quiche (which I didn't quite catch what it was due to all the conversation chatter going on, but thats ok ;) ). I think almost immediately everyone at the table who was having high tea opted for the Mac and Cheese. I think anything with the word truffle got everyone's attention at this table. 

After a short wait, the high tea half of the table turned into a "dock" for the fleet of Truffle Mac and Cheese we ordered. Judges verdict: the dish was definitely tasty, but I think it fell a little flat in terms of the level of anticipation we had. Don't get me wrong, the execution of the dish was well thought out, there were just some elements that fell short. 

The noodles were cooked well, and the breaded topping added a nice texture contrast, it just felt like it lacked  the oozy, cheesy factor that Mac and Cheese has. One of my fellow diners actually commented saying that it because we all ordered Mac and Cheese, the kitchen was not prepared to prep 6 orders of it all at once and it felt like the cheese sauce of the mac and cheese was stretched across all the portions. It was good, just not amazing and with simple dishes like mac and cheese, its important to knock it out of the park and Moroco's variation just didn't give me that WOW factor. 

Up next, we were greeted with a 3 tier tower of treats and crumpets with an assortment of spreads. These platters of "eye candy" from the bottom up are as follows: smoked salmon, cucumber and egg salad finger sandwiches, an array of crumpets (plain, cranberry,  and chocolate) accompanied by a Devonshire cream, lemon curd and jam preserve spread. Lastly on the top level of this edible mountain showcased a plethora of what Moroco is really known for, Sweets! 

Bottom Tier
Starting with the bottom savory tier, the presentation was absolutely the selling point, it looked perfect how the no crust finger sandwiches were laid out and wonderfully presented. However, the actual flavour fell flat for me again. Take it with a grain of salt, there isn't much you can do to jazz up a cucumber sandwich but the bread was dry and it had the texture of a sandwich that had been sitting out on the kitchen counter getting to the early stages of going stale if you will (perhaps over prep?) 

Middle Tier
The middle tier was an improvement. The crumpets were fresh had an appealing spring to them when you took a bite. Plain with Devonshire cream was by far my favourite. This was a classic example of how well simplicity works with  the proper execution. The lemon curd was alright and again the chocolate crumpet was also a bit of a disappointment. While remaining moist and baked seemingly perfectly, the crumped lacked of all things.. A CHOCOLATE taste, which kind of surprised me since Moroco prides them selves on their chocolate.  

Top Tier
Lastly the top tier, the sweets course. After 2 mediocre levels of this tower, I was expecting big things with this plate of desserts. Unfortunately, again, this platter came with mixed reviews. The strawberries were good, giving Moroco's chocolate a chance to prove itself, homemade cherry marshmallows looked great but were just OK and the Chocolate cookie sandwich with dark chocolate ganache filling was surprisingly another let down. Being a fan of dark chocolate, I felt the cocoa content of the whole cookie including the filling was too high and therefore leaving a very dry, acidic and borderline bitter taste in my mouth. I like dark chocolate but this was overboard for me and I needed some sweetness in my life. 

The Macaron's did exactly that. Expertly flavoured pistachio and coffee Macaron which had a very firm yet tender meringue which melted in your mouth. Absolutely exquisite! Lastly was 2 squares of unadulterated chocolate. First was a dark chocolate which had the extra sweetness I was looking for and the second was a white chocolate basil square. This one threw my palette for a loop. 2 very strong flavourings that I would never think to put together really left me dumbfounded! I would honestly have to try it again to give an honest opinion of it because I am still trying to put the combination together in my head! Nonetheless, cudos for trying something different.   

Will definitely be back to try this!
The silver lining to this story is that the brunch side of table thoroughly enjoyed their meals and though I didn't get to try any of their food, it certainly looked appetizing to say the least! More notably, the red velvet strawberry crêpes looked unquestionably stunning!

My final thoughts of Moroco Chocolat again leave me with mixed reviews. Even when consulting with the table, the brunch diners had a very good meal while the high tea side all agreed that certain elements of the high tea were hit and miss. One diner even mentioned that she has come here on 2 other separate occasions and this is the first time she hasn't been completely satisfied. All points aside, I believe that there is more than meets the eye with Moroco. They have an undoubtedly beautiful venue and location complemented with a lovely, helpful and knowledgeable wait staff. I just feel like the high tea meal did not step up to the plate in terms of value. However, I will definitely be returning to Moroco see what they have to offer for brunch or lunch/dinner and so should you! 

MoRoCo on Urbanspoon

Walkerville Brewery Tasting Night

Saturday, September 1, 2012 0 comments

I felt like a winner from the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory contest. I was lucky enough to be one of the fortunate few, chosen from the 1100 people who subscribed to the Walkerville Brewery newsletter to participate in the taste. Seeing as we were allowed one guest with our admission. I decided to bring along my "cousin" Mikey G.

The night started with a talk by Marty Gervais on the book he wrote called "The Rum Runners". The book brings to light the significance of Windsor and Essex County-- especially in terms of how important this area was during the times of prohibition.

For the tasting portion of the night, we were given 3 samples of 2 different types of beer. 

The first was a pilsner and my personal favourite. It was light, refreshing with just a slight bitterness at the end. My only suggestion for improvement was a little bit more carbonation as it felt just a little flat for my personal taste.

The second sample was a Premium Lager. This one was Mikey's favourite. It was still a really refreshing, easy drink, with a fruity undertone. We were also brought out an unfiltered, non carbonated version of the Premium Lager which will be the one going to market. 

The beers will initially be available as kegs to local restaurants and pubs as well as very cool looking 64 oz growlers. I guess I better start making some room in my fridge ;)

MFS Part 5: Food Trucks + Poutine!

Monday, August 27, 2012 1 comments

After some consideration, I've decided to cut my series short ending with a Canadian favourite: Poutine; for last. The Grumman '78 review I was going to do was rather short and I thought I would end it with a bang with an iconic cuisine such as poutine. 

Gourmet Osheaga eats!

There is however, an excellent review of the Montreal food truck scene showcasing Grumman '78 from the Food Network show, Eat St. that can be found here. Je suis désolé Grumman '78!! I will be looking forward to coming back and trying your main restaurant location, dining on yummy unique tacos and pop out of plastic bags!

Anyways, back to business, my 5th and final part of the Montreal Food Series, we'll be going into the wonderful world of poutine! Now I believe this Quebecois originating concoction needs no explaination to my fellow Canucks but to any of our American and International readers, poutine is made up of 3 components: French Fries, gravy and cheese curds! (not just any regular cheese, its gotta be cheese curds! The fresher the better; see here)

Hits the spot after a night of drinking!
The emergence of poutine were claimed in the late 1950's from serveral rural Quebec communities (sounds like an on-going trend in all their specialty foods doesn't it? :P) One predominant claim is that of Fernand Lachance from Warwick, Quebec which insists that poutine was birthed in Warwick in 1957. Regardless, this starch heavy cuisine is known across Canada and even adopted by several Northern American states and given countless recipe variations from different gravies, sauces, cheeses and adding a plethora of different vegetables and/or meats.

But enough of the history lesson lets get to the meat and potatoes...well in this case the cheese and potatoes??? HA!.... sigh... Bad jokes aside, I managed to try my hand at what Quebec had to offer with 2 different poutine's: first at a food truck at Osheaga (my apologies for not remembering the name for a proper shout out) and the second at the 24 hour La Banquise, a fine establishment serving no less than 28 different varieties of poutine!

Round 1, food truck poutine. This was during the first day of the Osheaga Music festival and after seeing 6 bands between 4 different stages in an estimated 80,000 person crowd with the blaring heat of the sun beating down on Parc Jean-Drapeau, it was an understatement to say I was famished. 

Evelyn, Kasia and I walked over from the main stage that where Florence and the Machine were performing over to the smaller green stage where MGMT was setting up.  The stage crew was still setting up and we thought it would be a good opportunity to grab some food. The girls opted for hotdogs while I had my eye on trying my first poutine in its birth province. After 15-20 minutes in the wait queue I was handed a steaming hot plate of sauced fries and cheese curds in a defining aluminum takeout container. First impressions were kinda meh.. The fries were not freshly handcut and under cooked and the gravy tasted too fabricated but the cheese curds were indeed very fresh which was its only redeeming quality. Not to be too harsh on the food truck serving the poutine, there was an incredibly long line and I didn't really care since the amount of "herbs" being smoked gave me a severe case of the munchies heh heh... ;)  

After a poor first showing, I knew Quebec had a better poutine to offer. Enter La Banquise. Originally opening as a family run ice cream shop, poutine first appeared on the menu at the start of the 1980's originally only offering traditional and Italian (Bolognese sauce instead of gravy). Today, La Banquise takes poutine to the next level such as La Elvis (ground beef, green peppers & mushrooms) and La Mexicaine (hot peppers, tomatoes & black olives). The extensive poutine menu can be found here.  

Seeking some poutine redemption, I took a shot in the dark and went for something a little avant-garde and went for something called La B.O.M. (Bacon, Onion and Merguez, or Chorizo, sausage) Let me tell you, the name of this poutine is perfectly suited. Take a look for yourself:

and this is a small....
Believe me when I say it was as good as it looks. This is the kind of poutine I was looking for. Aside from the bells and whistles of the bacon, onion and merguez sausage, the fries were crispy yet warm and soft on the inside (often done by double frying the French fries), the gravy was simply yet perfectly seasoned with an extreme amount of flavour and depth and I could not forget about the iconic Quebec cheese curds which were unbelievably fresh and still possessed the squeaky texture while being slightly melted from the heat of the gravy and fries. La Banquise being able to nail all these characteristics of a good poutine is an ability that few establishments can accomplish and it is very commendable. Do not pass up the chance to make it to this very thriving poutine palace, you have no excuse not to!! They are open 24 hours a day! 

Well, it was a long haul, but this wraps up my Montreal Food Series. I hope you all enjoyed reading my culinary adventures in the City of Saints. Until next time: Eat well and prosper! 

MFS Part 4: Schwartz's Delicatessen

Thursday, August 23, 2012 1 comments

Schwartz's Delicatessen
3895 St-Laurent
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 842-4813
   Sit-down Menu | Take-out Menu

The Schwartz's dine in menu with very little changing
the last 80 years!
ATTIRE: Casual
$6 Sandwich/ $1-$3 Sides
PAYMENT OPTIONS: Cash in the main restaurant/Debit/Credit in the takeout building 

HOURS: Sunday-Thursday: 8:00AM-12:30AM
              Friday: 8:00AM-1:30AM
              Saturday: 8:00AM - 2:30AM 

RESERVATIONS? No, first come first serve
GLUTEN FREE? possible but thats alot of meat with no bread :P


Quality of Food: 5/5
Service: 4/5
Originality: 5/5 (They are the original aren't they??)
Atmosphere: 4/5

Hey guys, its been a while since I've posted an update and this MFS series is itching to be finished! In part 4 of my Montreal series, I'm taking you back, waaay back (like bagel history back) to one of Montreal's most iconic foods: Montreal-Style smoked meat!

If you were to ask any knowledgeable foodie or Montreal (perhaps even Quebecois) resident about where to get the best smoked meat in town, you will most likely get Schwartz's Delicatessen in response. For a crash course on smoked meat, this is a method of cooking red meat or fish that has been practiced for ages for the main purpose of preserving these protein rich foods which would otherwise spoil very quickly. This is enabled by 2 factors: dehydration and absorbed smoke. Today, smoking meat is practically considered an art and delicacy very prominent in the southern states of the US. 

original recipe since for over 80 years!
Shwartz's Montreal smoked meat more specifically debuted to the world in 1928 by Mr. Reuben (hrm... another sandwich reference??) Schwartz, a Jewish immigrant from Romania. Similarly to my bagel story, there is some controversy about who brought this smoked meat cooking style to Montreal first, but Schwartz is the most famous remaining operational smoked meat restaurant in the City of Saints. In fact, its so popular, it has a musical and even a film portraying the deli's story. 

The sign may have changed, but this is the original
building since it was founded in 1928
After a long day of sightseeing, we sauntered over to the St.Laurent hotspot (which is also the original location of Schwartz's when it opened all the way back in 1928) and and were welcomed with the warm orange glow of the charcuterie sign and a lengthy waiting line :/ . There were no hostesses or waiting lists, only men donned in white shirts and aprons occasionally opening the door and asking eager deli goers how many was in their party. Yes, it is first come first serve, but it appeared that Schwartz's uses the "tetris" system, squeezing in customers as efficiently as they can, meaning that if there's a party of 2 behind your party of 4 and a spot opens up for 2, you're still waiting outside as they head in for some tasty meat :P. 

Fortunately, this system seems to work quite well and we quickly moved forward through the lengthy line (which continued to grow behind us) and we make our way into a very crowded diner. Wedging my way inbetween people in line picking up takeout orders, I look around the vintage decor of the dining room outfitted with white tile walls covered in an array of newspaper clippings and framed autograph pictures of several famous people. I didn't really get a good look but individuals such as Celine Dion, Jerry Lewis, Halle Berry and The Rolling Stones (and many more) have sat in the very restaurant I was sitting in. Sure its not the fanciest place in the world, but the old-fashioned diner setup gives it a real nostalgic feel when you enter Schwartz's and honestly, I couldn't see a better way of enjoying the mountain's of Montreal Smoked Meat we were about to order.

We were greeted by a frank but friendly server who was lightning fast with getting our table set and taking our drink order. Since the place only has limited seating, our party of 4 shared a table with another couple which made things a little awkward but I was used to it as many places in Toronto adhere to the same seating system. Before I could even read through the menu, our orders were taken. I opted for the Smoked meat sandwich with fries and a homemade kosher pickle. Kasia and Kristel opted for the lean, less fatty cut of the Montreal style brisket as I wanted the full experience of the regular, fatty goodness! 

A few minutes passed and we were given our kosher pickles and man these things definitely packed a pucker punch! I could immediately predict that the sourness of these kosher pickled cukes would go magnificently with my sandwich and I was oh so right. This mountain of warm beef goodness was dropped in front of me and all I could say was wow. Moments like this perfectly display how less is more. Fresh rye bread, yellow mustard and warm, flavourful, masterfully seasoned Montreal style meat and BAM, heaven on a plate. 

Like in my previous posts, I've added a cross section just to give you a close up on how serious this sandwich is:

at least a 2:1 meat to bread ratio

I really can't describe how amazing this sandwich tasted. I wasn't really hungry after a long hot day of walking around, but as soon as I took the first bite out of this monster sammie, I couldn't put it down. Bite after bite, I'm glad I ordered the regular as opposed to the lean, which was a little dry for my liking but still tasty nonetheless. I could immediately taste the Montreal steak spice (another specialty that has become popular in North America) and you can almost taste the tradition that the staff at Schwartz put into their product. They pride themselves on using no preservatives like many other deli meats and I could definitely tell the difference. 

Needless to say, this meal was quite satisfying, so much so, we stopped by on our way out after getting bagels to pick up several pounds of Montreal Style goodness to take back to Ontario. Even saw a gentleman in front of us picking up 3 huge jars of homemade pickles I was raving about. So... That being said, I feel like I don't need to persuade you to come here, if you are carnivore (or an omnivore I guess.. ) DO NOT pass up coming to Schwartz's if you are ever in town and if you aren't and want to try it anyways, you can order ONLINE! Bon Appétit ! 

Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Zaatar & Zeit

Sunday, August 19, 2012 1 comments

Zaatar & Zeit
1129 Wyandotte St. E
Windsor, Ontario, Canada 
Phone: +1(519) 256 5600
Website: n/a

Type of Restaurant: Lebanese Bakery Pizzaria
Attire: Casual
Prices: E- $3 M- $7
              $ CHEAP
Payment Options:
Visa, Mastercard, Debit/Eftpos

Hours: "Open Late"
Reservations? Walk-ins welcomed
Handicap Accessible? Yes 
Vegetarian Friendly? Yes
Vegan Friendly? Maybe.



                       Quality of Food: 3/5

                        Service: 1/5
                        Originality: 2/5
                        Atmosphere: 1/5

Having taken the Crosstown 2 Windsor Transit bus down Wyandotte many times over the last year to check out The Twisted Apron, this bakery and pizzeria would always catch my eye. 

Zaatar is a mix of fragrant herbs like oregano, marjoram, with roasted sesame seeds (see recipe below). My first time trying Zaatar was in Australia at this cool little place in Northcote called Gypsy Hideout. They used it as a seasoning on their Toast with Avo. It was delicious, and I have falling in love with it ever since. 

Walking in to this place, I was a little thrown off. It was sooooo hot inside. All that heat was coming from the wood burning oven which is put on display for all to see. The other thing that threw me off is despite it being past lunch hour on a Sunday, all the chair were still stacked and no chairs were out of the patio. I guess this was a good sign they wanted me to take my pizza pie to go.

I decided to order a Zaatar pie, and a veggie pie. Upon placing my order, I felt like my order was an inconvenience but perhaps it was just a language barrier. While the worker (and presumably owner) had his back turned to look up what I wanted on the menu, I honestly felt like leaving without my order and calling it a day. Regardless, I decided to stick around. The pies were made on the spot for me, and thrown into the wood burning oven. Once ready, they were pulled out, folded, and each put into their own brown paper lunch bag to take away (definitely a sign I wasn't invited to stick around).

I decided to take my pizzas to a local bus stop bench to give them a try. The zaatar pie was tasty, with just the right lemony zing characteristic of zaatar. The veggie pizza on other hand was just your standard wood oven veggie.

Overall, my long await to try this place turned into a big disappointment. With such a large patio, you would think they would utilize this as a dining area to draw more people in to give them a try. Can't say I would give this another try, but if you are in the area and want a quick, cheap pizza on the run give it a go.

Zaatar Recipe

2 teaspoons of oregano
2 teaspoons basil

2 tablespoons of whole thyme (I prefer lemon thyme)
2 teaspoons marjoram
1/2 cup of unhulled, toasted sesame seeds
1.5 teaspoons of salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon of dried ground lemon peel or zest of two lemons finely minced

Grind all ingredients into a coarse mixture and you have our very own zaatar mix you can use in a dip with yoghurt, on bbq meat, avocado, or make your very own pizza with the addition of some olive oil. Enjoy. :)

Storage: I tend to store zaatar in small glass containers, and it keeps well in the spice cupboard.