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Inspired Local Food Culture

Labneh, mezze, baklava and more




october 2019

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Loop | Central West End | Streets of St.Charles Loop | Central WestPlaza End | (Streets of) St.Charles Crossroads | South Crossroads | South Plaza ( )

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Inspired Local Food Culture /




Volume 9 / Issue 10 contributors

Vice President of Niche Publishing, Publisher of Feast Magazine

Catherine Neville,



Editor in chief

For advertising inquiries, please contact:

Heather Riske, managing editor 314.475.1298

Rachel Huffman,

Special projects coordinator

assistant editor

Aubrey Byron,

Kasey Carlson, Kansas City Contributing Editor

Jenny Vergara St. Louis Contributing Editor

Mabel Suen fact checker Proofreader

Erica Hunzinger Contributing Writers

Sara Bannoura, Jordan Baranowski, Julia Calleo, Amanda Elliott, Teresa Floyd, Natalie Gallagher, Juliana Goodwin, Hilary Hedges, Cheryl Herbert, Rogan Howitt, Burk Krohe, Liz Miller, Justin Phelps, Jessica Vaughn Martin, Jenn Tosatto, Shannon Weber

Kansas City, Photographer “Being a bona fide fangirl of all things sweet, I was thrilled to photograph Nazareth Sweets’ Middle Eastern desserts. And what a treat it was. As soon as I arrived at the bakery’s Lenexa location, the owner, Fadi, greeted me with a fresh tray of baklava. I’ll admit, I’ve never


been big on baklava, but Fadi’s creations are a game-changer. I consumed everything from

producer: Catherine Neville production partner: Tybee Studios

the traditional honey-soaked triangles to an

Contact Us

with pistachios. All in all, I’d say this was

Feast Media, 8811 Ladue Road, Suite D, Ladue, MO 63124 314.475.1260,

Rose Hansen

shanley cox

Distribution To distribute Feast Magazine at your place of business, please contact Eric Freeman for St. Louis, Jefferson City, Columbia, Rolla and Springfield at and Jason Green for Kansas City at


intricate bird’s nest-shaped baklava topped my sweetest Feast assignment to date.” (One Thousand and One Sweets, p. 74)

Amanda elliott Columbia, Missouri, Recipe Developer

"I absolutely adored developing recipes for a modern take on mezze. These are ideas, inspirations and flavors that we will continue to play with at our restaurant, Beet Box, which made this assignment and sharing these recipes in print

Art Director

all the more relevant and exciting."

Alexandrea Povis,

(Thoroughly Modern Mezze, p. 56)

production designer

chris bauer

Kelly Glueck,

St. Louis, Photographer

Contributing Photographers

Chris Bauer, Zach Bauman, Angela Bond, Julia Calleo, Shanley Cox, Jason Dailey, Judd Demaline, Teresa Floyd, Dean Groover, Mark Nycz, Aaron Ottis, Spencer Pernikoff, Anna Petrow, Drew Piester, Jonathan Pollack, Jennifer Silverberg, Starboard & Port Creative, Mabel Suen, Kim Wade

"Food is something I consume more than photograph.

Contributing illustrator

top of your favorite hummus dipper (chip, carrot, pita,

Kim Cho

celery, etc.)." (Midwest Made, p. 38)

So, being new to the craft of documenting delicious treats, I wanted to keep it simple. With the help of [Feast art director] Alex Povis’ uplifting creative spirit and the ceramic vessels created by my friend Hannah Priest, we were able to visualize and complete a photograph I am very proud of. As far as the hummus goes, I suggest trying them all at once, piled high on

Feast Magazine does not accept unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork. Submissions will not be returned. All contents are copyright © 2010-2019 by Feast Magazine™. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents, without the prior written permission of the publisher, is strictly prohibited. Produced by the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis, LLC.

Natalie Gallagher Kansas City, Writer

"Who knew it’s possible to find the most incredible baklava in a Lenexa strip mall? I loved sitting down in Fadi and Tahani's bakery, Nazareth Sweets, and watching them prepare Turkish coffee and explain the nuances of all their different (and deeply delicious) pastries and creations. I'm telling

on the cover Queen Sweets & Bakery labneh with za'atar and olive oil by Angela Bond table of contents Go Out: Baklava from Nazareth Sweets Baklava & Cafe by Jason Dailey; Stay In: Lamb-stuffed apples by Jennifer Silverberg; Features: Homemade mezze by Kim Wade

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everyone to get out there – or send for a mail order. It's worth it." (One Thousand and One Sweets, p. 74)

Go Out

Stay In

/ 24 /

/ 15 /

DINE & DRINK KC Koshary, That Lebanese Place, ChebarÖ, Falafel Café, Aban's Kitchen, Taste of Persia, Sedara Sweets and Ice Cream

/ 18 / On TREND Fast-casual Middle Eastern eateries / 19 / one on one Ben Hamrah and Amanda Elliott of Beet Box / 20 / SHOP HERE AO&Co. / 22 / one on one Khalid Sirhandi of Papu's Cafe / 24 / HOT BLOCKS 87th Street Parkway / 26 / one on one Akram Saeed, Jenar Mohammed and Media Saeed of Sultan Mediterranean Restaurant / 28 / HOMETOWN HITS Aya Sofia, Olive Branch Cafe, The Mediterranean


/ 40 /

/ 33 / healthy appetite 7-minute eggs with warm yogurt and chile sauce

/ 56 /


thoroughly modern mezze


Welcome to the Club


one thousand and one sweets

/ 34 / how-to Pita bread / 36 / the mix East Meets Midwest Whiskey Sour / 38 / MIDWEST MADE Hummus / 40 / mystery shopper Bahārāt / 42 / sugar Rush Orange blossom-sesame-nut bars / 44 / the dish Queen Sweets & Bakery labneh

Nine small-plate recipes for sharing a large mezze feast with family and friends

Through supper clubs and catering, Syrian refugee Mawda Altayan has found community and economic stability for herself and her family in St. Louis

Nazareth Sweets brings authentic Middle Eastern pastries and treats to the Kansas City area

/ 45 / one on one Faiz Alderea and Alaa Alderie of Cham Bakery / 46 / quick fix Oven-roasted chicken shawarma with garlicky yogurt sauce / 47 / culinary library Loryn Nalic of Balkan Treat Box / 48 / crash course Kick it with kebabs

In Every Issue / 8 / from the PUBLISHER Turkish delight / 10 / events / 12 / feast tv Best of: Local grain / 82 / back burner / o c to be r 2 019



from the


For the local grain episode of the "best of" season of Feast TV, I pulled some of my favorite grain-based segments from the past few years, including my visit to Martin Rice Co., which is pictured here. For the episode’s recipe, I took inspiration from the Middle East and made a cinnamon-scented pilaf with crunchy almonds, sweet raisins and parsley topped with a drizzle of tahini. Look for the recipe on p. 12. You'll also find this recipe, along with all of our other Feast TV recipes, at


y first taste of the Middle East was when I was 10 years old.

with us for six and a half years and played a very large role in shaping the

My dad, who was in the Air Force, had taken an assignment

magazine during her tenure. All of us here at Feast wish her the best in her new

in Ankara, Turkey, and soon after arrival, we attended a

journey. Our former digital director, Heather Riske, is our new editor in chief.

base picnic where tender, aromatic dÖner kebab was served on top of fluffy,

Her many years of digital and social media experience will inform the way that

charred pita. The simple, very common dish was a revelation to me. The flavors

she steers the content in these pages as well as on our digital platforms in the

and textures were somewhat familiar, yet entirely new, and that first bite

years to come. Heather is deeply committed to covering the local food scene

sent my young self on a journey of discovery while we lived in that beautiful

and is an avid home cook – a well-known beer-lover and pretzel fan. We just

country. From fresh pistachios to iskender kebab doused with tomato sauce

finished planning the editorial calendar for 2020 and I am excited to say that

and browned butter to Turkish breakfasts that paired cured black olives with

we have some seriously delicious content coming your way in the next year

honey and salty Feta, the flavors of Turkey remain with me to this day.

under her direction.

As we sat down to plan this issue, which celebrates flavors spanning the Middle East – from Yemen to Lebanon to, yes, Turkey – we made sure to weave

Until next time,

local sources throughout the entire book, offering you the opportunity to not only play with these flavors at home but also dine out and connect with the folks who so passionately cook traditional Middle Eastern dishes at restaurants across the region each day. And I want to tip my hat to Liz Miller, who oversaw the creation of this issue’s


content. You will notice some changes on our masthead this month. We said

Catherine Neville

goodbye to Liz a little over a month ago as she took a new position. Liz was / oc tober 2 0 1 9


are constantly “on the job,” working for us in incredibly important and surprising ways. They provide habitat for wildlife, cost-saving shade for our homes, and a host of wood products we rely on every day. Pecan and black walnut trees right here in Missouri provide the nuts we use in our favorite recipes. „ Learn how Trees Work for you at


ture Naature

beans with Missouri nuts and feta Serves 2 to 4

2 cups canned or freshly cooked brown, navy or cannellini beans 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet yellow or red pepper 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion 3 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped hickory nuts or pecans Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice to taste

Rinse and drain beans. Toss with the rest of the ingredients.

change the spices, change the country For another variation on this dish, try green or brown lentils with hickory nuts, pecans or black walnuts, or a combination of nuts. Change the longitude of the dish with the seasonings you choose. For a Mexican flair, you could add cumin, cilantro, fresh lime juice, tomato, jalapeno and avocado; serve with tortillas. If you prefer a hint of India, then season the beans with turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, cumin, fresh lemon and minced fresh ginger. Serve with naan. This is equally delicious as a leftover; just heat and serve over a bed of rice.

Find more wild recipes in Cooking Wild in Missouri. Order yours at / o c to be r 2 019


Fr om co ok in g cl as se s to ta st in g ev en ts , pl an th e m on th s ah ea d w it h fe as t


STL | 9/14 -10/14

m0 | 10/26

St. Louis Renaissance Festival

5th Annual Hallowine Party at LaChance Vineyards

Weekends 10am to 6pm; Rotary Park, 2577 W. Meyer Road, Wentzville, Missouri; Tickets are $16.95 in advance, $19.95 at the gate;

The St. Louis Renaissance Festival is open every Saturday and Sunday from Sept. 14 to Columbus Day on Oct. 14. The festival includes aerial acts, glass blowers, mythical menagerie, bird shows, daily combat jousting and craft beer.

STL | 10/5 Wine Walk

What do you get when you mix your favorite holiday with your favorite drink? HalloWINE! Head to LaChance Vineyards, costume in tow, and enjoy the 5th Annual Hallowine Party. Live music from the Merseal Brothers Band will be sure to get you on your feet. Put on your dancing shoes and throw on your best costume. Happy Hallowine!

Sat., Oct. 5, 1 to 4 pm; Ballpark Village, 601 Clark St., St. Louis; Tickets are $30 for general admission or $60 for VIP;

STL | 11/9

Ballpark Village will host the St. Louis Wine Walk presented by 14 Hands. Guests can sip a variety of wine pours at participating venues and enjoy live music from Macks Creek Band, 80’s Band and Rick Mahogany Duo.

Sat., Nov. 9, 7 to 10pm; VIP early access 6 to 7pm; Tickets are $55 in advance, $45 for members, VIP tickets are $100; St. Louis Science Center, 5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis;

STL | 10/16

The Saint Louis Science Center’s annual Science Uncorked event offers a unique opportunity to sample 80+ wines and spirits from your favorite wineries and distilleries, as well as delicious small plates. Learn more about the science of the wine and spirits making processes with guest speakers and demonstrations. Tickets on sale now.

Schnucks Cooks: Chicken Shawarma with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce Wed., Oct. 16, 6 to 9pm; $45; Schnucks Cooks Cooking School, 12332 Manchester Road, Des Peres, Missouri; 314.909.1704;

In this class, you’ll learn how to make fresh pita bread at home. You’ll also learn how to make a flour substitute using only ground nuts.

STL | 10/23 Urban Chestnut presents Nosferatu Wed., Oct. 23, 6 to 10pm; Urban Chestnut Midtown Brewery & Biergarten, 3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis;

Enjoy this cult classic with live musical accompaniment by the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra, and food and beer specials, including Count Orlok, a Black Pumpkin Wheat Ale, as well as a few other surprises!

STL | 10/26 Storm Area 314 Halloween Party presented by Johnnie Brock’s Dungeon Sat., Oct. 26, 7pm; VIP all-inclusive tickets start at $30; Ballpark Village, 601 Clark Ave., St. Louis;

This party is about to be out of this world! Orbit around five venues, enjoy live music and partake in the epic costume contest with $7,000 cash and other prizes! 10

Sat., Oct. 26, 6 to 10pm, band from 7 to 10pm; LaChance Vineyards, 12237 Peter Moore Lane, De Soto, Missouri; 636.586.2777; / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Science Uncorked

STL | 11/24 Holiday Pop and Shop Sat., Nov. 24, 11am to 3pm; Tickets are $15-35; The Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, 999 N. Second St., St. Louis;

Holiday Pop & Shop is your one-stop event for holiday gifts! Guests will enjoy live music, brunch tastings from area restaurants and shopping from 45+ craft vendors.

KC | 12/14 Wine Oh! Sat., Dec. 14; Two sessions: 1 to 5pm and 6 to 10pm; Tickets are $45-55; KCI Grand Expo Center, Grand Ambassador Ballroom, 11730 N. Ambassador Dr., Kansas City, Missouri;

Save the date for Wine Oh! Two sessions will take place on Sat., Dec. 14 at the KCI Expo Center. Ticket price for session 1 is $45 and $55 for session 2. Both include entry, T-shirt and a collector wine glass.


2019 marks 25 years of Kaldi’s Coffee. All of these years, we have donated to charity kind 2019 marks years Kaldi’sthe Coffee. AllWe of these years, we have 25 donated to charity kind of under the25 radar orof behind scenes. wanted to celebrate years by giving back of in under the radar behind theThat’s scenes. We wanted celebrate 25 years by comes giving back a bigger, moreor public way. where Missourito Baptist Medical Center in. in a bigger, more public way. That’s where Missouri Baptist Medical Center comes in. Whether directly or through a loved one, most people experience the life-altering effects Whether directly or point through a loved one, most people the life-altering effects of a stroke at some in their lives. Missouri Baptistexperience Medical Center works tirelessly to of a stroke some their lives. Missouri Baptist For Medical Center works tirelessly to improve theatlives of point strokeinsurvivors and their families. our 25th Anniversary, in honor improve the lives of stroke survivors and their families. our 25th honor of our longtime partnership, we’re giving a little extra For toward theseAnniversary, efforts. Withinevery ofbag our of longtime partnership, we’re giving a little extra toward these efforts. With every our Anniversary Blend purchased, we will give $1 to support MoBap’s work. bag of our Anniversary Blend purchased, we will give $1 to support MoBap’s work. Visit to learn more about our partnership. Visit to learn more about our partnership. / o c to be r 2 019


episode: grains

revisit some of our favorite spots in the best of season and get a taste of our all-new recipes! Rice with Almonds, Raisins and Tahini serves 8 to 10

recipe by catherine neville

tahini sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced ½ tsp fine sea salt ½ cup tahini 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice cold water Rice with Almonds, Raisins and Tahini 4 Tbsp butter cinnamon stick 1 medium yellow onion, diced 2 cups long grain, basmati or jasmine rice 2 tsp turmeric ¼ cup chopped almonds ¹⁄₈ cup golden raisins ¹⁄₈ cup dates, chopped ½ tsp salt tahini sauce (recipe below), to serve flat-leaf parsley, chopped (for garnish) sumac (for garnish) / preparation - tahini sauce / In a small bowl, stir together garlic, salt, tahini and lemon juice. Note that the tahini will seize up; that’s normal! Add cold water to the bowl, whisking, until the tahini becomes creamy and you’ve reached your desired consistency. / preparation - rice with almonds, raisins and tahini /

In the Bread & Grains episode of our “best of” season, host Cat Neville gets in the kitchen with the team at Ibis Bakery in the Kansas City area to discover how they make their delicate breads and pastries. Then, it’s off to southern Missouri to see how rice is grown at Martin Rice Co. Finally, meet the mother-daughter duo behind Peggy Jean’s Pies in Columbia, Missouri, and take a bite of their handmade pies. The episode wraps up in Cat’s kitchen where she shows you how to make a cinnamon-scented pilaf with crunchy almonds, sweet raisins, parsley and a drizzle of tahini sauce.

Add butter to a Dutch oven and heat on medium-high until butter has melted. Add cinnamon stick and allow to sizzle until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add onion to pan and sauté until beginning to caramelize, then add rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Stir in turmeric, almonds, raisins, dates and salt, then cover with 2²⁄₃ cups water. Allow to come to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender, but not overcooked. Serve drizzled with tahini sauce and sprinkled with parsley and sumac.

check your local listings to watch feast tv on these networks:

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KC Koshary Written by Jenny Vergara / photography by anna petrow

A new food truck has hit the streets of Kansas City specializing in koshary, the national dish of Egypt. Chef Soha Elsherif runs KC Koshary, dishing up hearty bowls filled with rice, brown lentils, chickpeas and macaroni pasta tossed together and topped with a cumin-spiced tomato sauce and crunchy fried onions. The food truck serves the dish with garlicky vinegar or a hot sauce called shatta. Other menu items include hawawshi – pita filled with a mix of grilled spiced ground beef, finely diced onions, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro – as well as chicken shawarma and falafel. End your meal with basbousa, a semolina cake drenched in a rose water and orange blossom water simple syrup.

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piquant potatoes cooked with garlic, cilantro and spices


That Lebanese Place Written by Liz Miller / photography by dean groover

Well before That Lebanese Place launched its brick-and-mortar restaurant in Springfield, Missouri, in 2012, it was already a local favorite. Chef-owner Elie Ghanem first gained a following for her Lebanese cooking through a food trailer of the same name; today, customers still come out in droves for menu items such as beef shawarma, kebab skewers and batata harra, a dish of spicy cubed potatoes cooked with garlic, cilantro and spices. Start your meal with the shareable mezze combo, featuring your choice of any four of the following: falafel, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, baba ghanoush, labneh, tabbouleh, fattoush or za’atar. 338 E. Commercial St., Springfield, Missouri,


Chebarö Written by Jenny Vergara / photography by jason Dailey

In 2016, chef Marwan Chebaro partnered with a friend and together they gutted a former Cenex gas station to open the Mediterranean grill Chebarö in Lawrence, Kansas. Today, in addition to buying gas, gum and lottery tickets, customers can order fresh Middle Eastern food, including gyros, shawarma and falafel bowls, at the counter. The salads are also popular; they come topped with any or all of six sauces: toum, a traditional Lebanese garlic sauce; zhoug, a Yemeni jalapeño and cilantro sauce; harissa, a spicy red-chile sauce; tahini made with sesame seeds, garlic and lemon juice; tzatziki, a classic Greek condiment made with thick yogurt and grated cucumber; and amba, an Iraqi pickled mango sauce. The line gets long around lunchtime, and with only a few places to sit, you should plan to arrive early. 1000 W. 23rd St., Lawrence, Kansas, 16 / oc tober 2 0 1 9


Falafel Café Written by Heather Riske / photography by aaron ottis

Authentic Middle Eastern and Greek food isn’t what you typically find in a mall food court, but that’s exactly what Falafel Café serves up inside the Columbia Mall. Haitham Alramahi, a native of Jordan and Greece, worked in the industry for more than a decade before finally opening his own restaurant in October 2016 after years of requests from friends in the Arab community. Falafel Café serves its namesake dish alongside hummus, gyros, chicken shawarma, salads and more in a fast-casual setting. Don’t expect fast food, though – the menu, which features halal meat and tons of vegetarian options, is prepared fresh to order. 2300 Bernadette Drive, Columbia, Missouri,


Aban’s Kitchen Written by Liz Miller / photography by mark nycz

Yemeni and Mediterranean fare are the focus at Aban’s Kitchen in Carbondale, Illinois. Since opening in 2016, the restaurant has served specialties such as chicken shawarma and lamb fahsah, minced lamb boiled with vegetables and soup in a clay pot. A separate menu with vegetarian entrées features items such as home-style Yemeni stew and foule, mashed fava beans sautéed with onion, tomatoes and house seasoning. Be sure to order extra housemade bread, cooked in Aban’s clay oven, for soaking up sauce. 114 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, Illinois,


Taste of Persia Story and photos by Mabel Suen

Taste of Persia debuted in April, adding authentic home-style Iranian and Afghan cuisine as well as a selection of Indian-style dishes to the South Grand Dining District’s range of international offerings. The family-owned business comes from Mohammad Abdolrezagh, a native of Iran, and his wife, Sofia, who hails from Afghanistan. Menu highlights include Afghan-style lamb shank with qabeli or biryani rice and the King Platter with chicken, lamb and beef kebabs. 3189½ S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri,


Sedara Sweets and Ice Cream Story and photos by Mabel Suen

Sedara Sweets and Ice Cream, which gets its name from a traditional style of hat worn by Iraqi men, debuted in Affton, Missouri, in May. The café and bakery features pastries and sweets, scoops of Cedar Crest ice cream, coffee, tea and smoothies. The concept comes from George Simon, who is Lebanese-American, and his wife, Esraa, a native of Baghdad. Choose from 15 types of baklava, including Turkish and Iraqi styles; manakeesh, a traditional savory Arabic breakfast bread; and Americanstyle pastries. Beyond baked goods, Sedara also serves lunch and dinner, including menu items such as a falafel sandwich and a shawarma plate. 8011 MacKenzie Road, Affton, Missouri, / o c to be r 2 019











Fast-Casual Middle Eastern National fast-casual brands have been built on burritos, pizza and burgers. Now, falafel, baba ghanoush and shawarma are getting a moment in the spotlight at local and regional quick-service restaurants as demand increases for Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. -Liz Miller

▼ ST. LOUIS Garlicky chicken shawarma and crispy falafel are just two of the dishes that have helped Medina Mediterranean Grill expand to two locations in four years. Owner Ibrahim Ead spent his childhood living in both Palestine and St. Louis, and his menu reflects a blend of those cultures. The Juicy Jerusalem sandwich, for example, combines beef or chicken with roasted red peppers, sweet marinated onions, Provolone and a pesto-tahini sauce on French bread. It was important to Ead to offer quality food in a hurry, making the fast-casual concept an obvious choice. “Time is valuable,” says Ead. “A lot of people come on their lunch break, eat and have to go back to work.” multiple locations, Next year, Jason Sparks will debut Sumax, a fast-casual Middle Eastern concept, inside

▪ KANSAS CITY Concepts inside Parlor Food Hall in Kansas City range from pizza to Korean comfort food. At Karbón, chef Rachel Rinas blends Middle Eastern and Mexican flavors in dishes such as avocado hummus topped with housemade za’atar served with warm spiced pita bread, as well as musakhan carnitas with confit pork shoulder in a blend of sumac and bahārāt topped with raw onion and cilantro. “Through traveling, meeting people and tasting things in Arab and Mexican cuisines, I’ve become intimately familiar with the fact that they all have such a huge history – the food cultures go back so far,” says Rinas. “Eastern Mediterranean [cuisine] as a whole has so many ingredients, and it’s interesting how well they all tie in: From Greece and Cyprus to Syria and Egypt, there are so many dishes that these countries share. And it’s the same in Mexico – it’s a huge country, but there are all these things that tie together.” 1707 Locust St., Kansas City, Missouri, photo by angela bond

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the forthcoming City Foundry food hall in St. Louis. As the owner of Layla, a burger and shawarma joint with two locations in the St. Louis area, he plans to serve menu favorites from his flagship restaurant at the new quick-service spot. “Sumax is going to be mostly plant-based,” says Sparks. “You’ll have your pick of wraps, bowls or salads, lots of hummus, different grains – mostly quinoa and brown rice – and we’ll also serve our sumac chicken.” Layla’s popular falafel fries will also appear on the menu, and soon, hopefully, in grocery stores around town. 3700 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, Missouri,

These aren’t the only fast-casual spots serving tasty Middle Eastern cuisine locally: Visit to learn about the fare at Garbanzo.

ONE on




with Ben Hamrah and Amanda Elliott / chef-owners, Beet Box must-try menu items at

Turn to p. 33 to find Ellio tt's recipe for 7-minut e eggs with warm yo gurt and chile sa uce.

Beet Box

Written by Jessica Vaughn Martin photography by aaron ottis

breakfast bread and coffee

A freshly baked selection of breads and

Ben Hamrah and Amanda Elliott of Peachtree Catering love a fresh beat – and fresh beets. They’ve combined their fondness for hip-hop tracks and seasonal produce to create Beet Box. Formerly their boxed meal service, it’s now a fast-casual eatery that’s focused on Middle Eastern-inspired fare. The 28-seat restaurant, decorated with local artwork and an abundance of greenery, offers a small menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner – but the real stars are the specials.

pastries, including babka and rugelach, pair well with any of the coffee drinks made with Shortwave Coffee and served at the counter.


Whether it’s chicken from Brush & Trouble Farm in Boone County or pork from Sullivan Farms in Fayette, there will always be some kind of shawarma spinning at Beet Box. It’s served on housemade flatbread and topped with seasonal produce and herbed labneh.

What inspired the Beet Box concept and menu? Beet Box came about because we’re in catering, and we do a lot of boxed meals. We were looking at them and noticed that they were all the same – we wanted to do something different. We’ve really gotten into sourcing food from local vendors and that method of procuring ingredients; it’s something that we’re really passionate about. Therefore, our menu is seasonally driven and very limited – we let the ingredients structure what we do. –Ben Hamrah

Why did you choose to focus on Middle Eastern food at Beet Box? My family’s Persian, so I grew up with that style of food, and it’s something I’ve always loved. I think the presentation of it is so cool, but also accessible. It’s not something you need to acquire a taste for, which is something that drew us together from the beginning. –B.H. It was during a trip to Lebanon in 2010 when I realized how applicable the cuisine is to farm-focused food. –Amanda Elliott

Any fun collaborations planned with your new neighbor, Logboat Brewing Co.? One of the things we thought about from the beginning, since we don’t have a lot of seating, is how to get people in and out and share the love with Logboat. That’s what inspired the picnic idea: Customers can come in and pay a deposit for a blanket and some tiffin boxes. We’ll load them up [with food] and send them over to Logboat, where they can kind of camp in the yard and have a good time. –B.H.

seasonal special

Maybe it’s pho, ramen or matzo ball soup in a hearty chicken stock – or a salad with fresh greens and ripe tomatoes during the summer months. This is where Hamrah and Elliott have the most fun: creating

602 Fay St., Columbia, Missouri,

something unexpected, every day. / o c to be r 2 019












AO&Co. Story and photography by Mabel Suen

The Botanical Heights neighborhood of St. Louis has a new specialty market and tea shop. AO&Co. debuted in June from Ben Poremba, the chef behind Bengelina Hospitality Group, which operates Elaia, Olio, Nixta, The Benevolent King and La Pâtisserie Chouquette. “It’s many things all at once: It’s a specialty food store, a gift store, a wine and cheese shop and a tea shop with a really nice coffee machine,” Poremba says. The concept gets its name from Poremba's children, Aviv and Omri, and Cossette, the daughter of his business partners, Erik Karanik and Alexis Cosse. It offers everything from private-label olive oil, retail wine and cigars to artisan gift items, fresh flowers and prepared foods such as Olio’s famous egg salad. 1641 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, Missouri,

Turn to p. 38 to learn abou t the renowned hu mmus at AO&Co.

top 3 Market es M u s t- H a v Store manager Ryan Quitmeyer shares three best-selling items from AO&Co.’s shelves. 20 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

The Benevolent King’s Baba Ghanoush

israeli Bruschetta Tomatoes

Olio’s Private-Label Olive Oil

“These flame-charred cherry

mix of eggplant, tahini, cream, lemon

“It’s small-batch harvested, very

tomatoes come marinated in garlic,

and garlic. It pairs best with vegetable

mild and comes from a family

vinegar and olive oil with serrano

crudités and toasted bread.”

farm just outside of Rome.”

peppers, herbs and spices.”

“A signature appetizer that’s a savory

J E F F S C H OT L A N D | S c h o t la nd Pho to grap hy, L LC


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ONE on


with Khalid Sirhandi / chef-owner, Papu’s Cafe What’s your background in food? I come from a family that is very particular about certain flavor combinations and values good food. So growing up, I learned to recognize flavor profiles at a young age. My father taught my mother to cook, and they both passed those skills down to me. In college – where I actually studied art history – I often cooked for friends and classmates and was repeatedly told I needed to open my own restaurant.

Written by Jordan Baranowski photography by zach bauman

Don’t let its location inside a gas station fool you – Papu’s Cafe serves up some of the best Middle Eastern food in Kansas City. Chef-owner Khalid Sirhandi bought the gas station on 75th Street in the Waldo neighborhood in 2000 and opened the restaurant in 2010. The menu is divided into appetizers (think falafel, dolma and baba ghanoush), salads (tabbouleh, gyro), sandwiches (chicken shawarma, veggie pita) and platters (gyro, falafel and shawarma on rice). A student of cuisines the world over, Sirhandi makes all of the spice blends and herb mixtures in-house and takes great pride in his food’s freshness and flavor.

What makes Papu’s food special? The main thing we strive to achieve is the absolute best flavors possible. I’ve never tried to have the most authentic recipes, the hottest recipes or anything like that. I just want my customers to love the food they get here. We make all our own spice blends and herb mixtures, and we believe that freshness and healthy options are essential. We’re constantly refining our recipes and experimenting with flavor combinations – I would rather have a smaller menu with a few perfected dishes than a broad menu of decent food. What has it been like to run a restaurant out of an operational gas station? It’s challenging to get your name out there through word of mouth alone and to get people to take you seriously in a location like this. However, that’s also one of my favorite parts: When people come back, I know it’s because our food is so good. I love to bring people joy in this way; my food is my art. 604 W. 75th St., Kansas City, Missouri,





Describe your style of cooking. I travel a lot to different regions and countries, and I love to learn about the best dishes and spice combinations in each. Even though Papu’s makes Middle Eastern food, I consider it fusion cuisine; many different things inspire the menu.


Papu’s gyro meat is extremely tender and delicious; get a taste of it with the lunch

Made with halal

22 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

chicken marinated

special, which plates the

in a special

gyro over rice with a cooling

house sauce, the

A distinctive housemade spice blend packs

yogurt-herb dressing and

shawarma sandwich

Papu’s falafel with flavor. The vegetarian-

a side salad of cucumber,

is one of Sirhandi’s

friendly protein is offered in two sizes: large

tomato and onion, plus a

favorite menu items.

for an entrée or small as a side dish.

fountain drink for just $6.

l i a t k Coc n e r

r Mathis Co Ky l e cial

w i t he s t p o r t s o of w

BlueBerry BramBle

B. Foster 1 ½ ½ ½

oz Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka oz Big o Ginger Liqueur oz J. rieger Caffé Amaro oz Giffard Banane Du Brésil (Banana Liqueur) 3 oz Cereal-infused Almond Milk (*recipe below) | preparation | Build first four ingredients in ice filled glass. top with Cereal infused Almond Milk. 4Cereal infused Almond Milk infuse half gallon almond milk with 2 cups dry Cinnamon toast Crunch Cereal. Let steep for 10 minutes and strain. Keep in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

1½ oz 1220 origin Gin 1 oz Blueberry Chamomile Syrup (*recipe below) ½ oz lemon Goslings Ginger Beer | preparation | Shake ingredients with ice for 20 seconds. Strain on top of fresh ice, and top with Goslings Ginger Beer. 4Blueberry Chamomile Syrup 8 oz blueberry puree 8 oz lemon juice 8 oz Sugar in the raw 1 cup dried chamomile flowers 4Combine lemon juice and sugar; bring to a simmer. remove from heat and add chamomile. Let steep for 15 minutes and strain mixture. once cool, add strained chamomile syrup to blueberry puree. Label and keep in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.




FIvE COURSE dInnER | LOCaLLy SOURCEd FOOd | WInE paIRInGS | MUSIC | 28708 S. State Hwy 7 S, Garden City, MO 64747 Just 30-40 miles South of Kansas City | 6 miles east of I-49 on ROUTE 7 S

/ o c to be r 2 019















photography by jason dailey

th 87 Street


Lenexa, Kansas

Between Quivira Road and Monrovia Street in Lenexa, Kansas, right on 87th Street Parkway, sits a strip mall with no name. Although it’s easy to miss from the road, that would be a shame, as it is home to four independently-owned Middle Eastern food destinations. Each business contributes to the whole, offering a range of experiences from sit-down dining to a bakery and café to a market stocking Middle Eastern cooking staples and specialties.-Jenny Vergara

1. Zaman Café and Hookah Lounge Make no mistake, Zaman Café and Hookah Lounge is a hookah destination first and a restaurant second – but you shouldn’t let a little smoke keep you from sampling its delicious snacks. The menu is compact and offers traditional favorites such as falafel, hummus and baba ghanoush, plus beef and chicken shawarma wraps and gyros. In addition to these staples, Zaman serves some fun fusion fare: Think falafel tacos topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and tahini sauce served in soft flour tortillas. Don’t miss the 12-inch pizza with gyro meat, chicken or beef, cheese and your choice of bell pepper, onion and black olives. 12235 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas,

Terry Hyer

4. Holy Land Cafe

3. Nazareth Sweets Baklava & Cafe

Plan to spend some time roaming the aisles at Pak Halal International Foods: Everything you need to help you plan the perfect at-home Mediterranean or Middle Eastern meal can be found inside this spotless international grocery store. Plus, the in-house bakery makes fresh pita bread using white and whole wheat flour six days a week. Visit the halal butcher’s counter in the back of the store to shop the fine selection of locally sourced goat, lamb, beef and chicken that’s broken down on-site daily.

One part coffeehouse and one part dazzling dessert counter, Nazareth Sweets is ideal for caffeinated pick-me-ups or morning sweet treats. The café serves both regular and Turkish coffee alongside an impressive array of Middle Eastern delights, including the house specialty: baklava. Other must-try treats include the round ma’amoul cookies filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts and the kanafeh, a shredded phyllo and cheese pie soaked in rose water and orange blossom water syrup and topped with chopped pistachios.

Located at the end of the strip mall, Holy Land Cafe is largely obstructed from view by an extremely busy Taco Bell. Despite this, the restaurant has thrived in the same location for almost 20 years, serving generous lunch platters piled high with items such as chicken or beef shawarma and gyro meat served with hummus, rice, a Greek salad and pita bread for only $7. For dinner, start with a cup of the famous lentil soup before moving on to the moussaka, a layered dish with potatoes, eggplant and ground beef cooked in tomato sauce and topped with creamy béchamel sauce.

12259 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas,

12247 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas,

12275 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas,

24 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

partner and COO Zarda Bar-B-Q

Holy Land Cafe “My wife, Rhonda, and I are foodies at heart, and Holy Land Cafe is an oasis of incredible culture and flavors. On a Saturday afternoon, we like to order the mixed grilled vegetables as an appetizer, add a couple of our favorite entrées, such as the shrimp and garlic or stuffed chicken breast, along with a big Greek salad. We take all of it home and serve it family-style.”

photo by Brian Puyear

2. Pak Halal International Foods


mon-fri: 10:30am - 8:00pm sat: 11:30am - 7:00pm 11982 Dorsett Rd. | 314.942.2300 |

thanks for selecting lachance Vineyards as the best winery in the stl region. we offer lunch wednesday through sunday and dinners thursday, friday and saturday

30 minutes from the south county area

12237 Peter Moore Lane • DeSoto, Mo 63020



Downtown Springfield’s New

Rooftop Lounge & Conservatory

We’ve lifted our Spirits L et us lift Yours Open to the Public

Wednesday and sunday – 11am – 6pm Thursday and saTurday – 11am – 8pm Friday – 11am – 10pm

/ o c to be r 2 019



ONE on


with Akram Saeed and Jenar Mohammed, owners, & Media Saeed, general manager, Sultan Mediterranean Restaurant best-sellers at sultan

The most popular menu item at Sultan is a special take on parda pilau, which roughly translates to “rice behind the curtain.” Fittingly, Sultan Pilau is a phyllo dough pocket stuffed with basmati rice, lamb, carrots, raisins, pistachios and almonds, accompanied by a salad and a yogurt-cucumber sauce.

Written by Burk Krohe / photography by j. pollack photography

In the mid-1980s, Akram Saeed, Jenar Mohammed and their daughter, Media Saeed, emigrated from the Kurdistan region of Iraq to Guam before settling in St. Louis. In January of this year, the family opened Sultan Mediterranean Restaurant in The Grove neighborhood in St. Louis. The menu at Sultan is rooted in the Kurdish dishes of Jenar’s youth, such as pilau, the ubiquitous basmati rice dish made with lentils, onions and almonds and served with kebabs, and sheeshbarak, a version of the dumplings found throughout the region stuffed with beef and cooked in a delicately seasoned yogurt sauce. Why did you want to open Sultan? My mom always liked cooking. She has a passion for it, and opening her own restaurant was just something she wanted to do. So [my parents] went ahead and gave it a try, and it’s been pretty successful. –Media Saeed What’s been the most rewarding part? The most rewarding part is owning a business and having the whole family work there together, plus seeing customers and all sorts of families getting together – that’s the best part. –Akram Saeed and Jenar Mohammed

26 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

beef, onion and parsley, cooked in a yogurt sauce and served with an olive oil-lemon juice dressing.

We have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s how good it is. –A.S. and J.M. Sultan’s menu incorporates food cultures across the Middle East. How did you learn to make those dishes? Our menu features mainly Kurdish dishes, which [Jenar] learned how to make from her mother and grandmother. But for other dishes, we wanted to cater to our customers’ needs, so [Jenar] looked up YouTube videos and put her own twist on the [recipes] she found. –M.S. 4200 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, Missouri, 314.390.2020

How would you define Kurdish cuisine for those who are unfamiliar? Everything that we eat has to include either rice, bread or meat. And then there’s the traditional lentil soup:

Sheeshbarak are steamed dumplings stuffed with

Editor’s Note: Our conversation with Akram Saeed and Jenar Mohammed was translated by their daughter, Media.

Stuffed grape leaves, or dolma, are common in many cultures; Sultan’s version is packed with eggplant, zucchini, tomato and onion.



in good taste in good taste LOVE FOR LENTILS LOVE FOR LENTILS


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Unlikeat beans, lentils do School of Medicine the recommended dailyones amount of fiber. — just one cup of lentils contains almost of Medicine. green are easy to PHOTO PROVIDED BY not need to be soaked prior to cooking and colon cancer and can help lower SITEMAN CANCER CENTER lentils play to particularly Subtly spicy green find and easy cook 20 grams of protein, which is important For starters, lentils are affordable, — just toss them into simmering water. cholesterol, too!” such as spinach, well with fall vegetables, with. They become Dr. Yin Cao usually about $1 per pound. Some to skin, bone and muscle health. And with carrots and peppers. soft when boiled, so Assistant professor also keep varieties, like black and Puy, can be a little almost 16 grams of fiber, lentils they’re a natural fit for soups and curries, YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS of surgery at Washington University where just a half a cup fulfills one-third of more expensive. Unlike beans, lentils do you feeling full, can help prevent diabetes PUY School of Medicine the recommended daily amount of fiber. PHOTO PROVIDED BY not need to be soaked prior to cooking and colon cancer and can help lower SITEMAN CANCER CENTER Subtly spicy green lentils play particularly Named for the town Sloppy Joes: — just toss them into simmering water. cholesterol, too!” well with fall vegetables, such as spinach, in France where 3 finely chopped carrots 1 tsp cumin carrots and peppers. they’ve been grown 1 medium onion, chopped 1 tsp paprika for centuries — Le YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp soy sauce Puy-en-Velay, if PUY you’re fancy — this gray-green lentil is 1 ½ cups brown or red lentils 1 tsp fresh lemon juice distinctive for its peppery thick Named forflavor, the town Sloppy Joes: 2 Tbsp tomato paste Pinch of salt and pepper skin and firm texture. These tend to be the in France where 3 finely chopped carrots tsp cumin 1 Tbsp maple syrup 2 cups vegetable1 broth most expensive of all lentils, though they’ve beenand grown 1 tsp paprika 1 Tbsp mustard 1 medium onion, chopped 4 hamburger buns they take the longest to boil at— 40Le to 45 for centuries 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tsp soy sauce minutes, preparation is simple:ifLet them 1 tsp chile powder Puy-en-Velay, shine in a side salad, splashed with redyou’re fancy — this gray-green lentil is 1 ½ cups brown or red lentils 1 tsp fresh lemon juice olive oil, then top with wine vinegar anddistinctive for its peppery flavor, thick 2 Tbsp tomato paste Pinch of salt and pepper Slaw: goat cheese. skin and firm texture. These tend to be the 1 Tbsp maple syrup 2 ½ cups shredded cabbage ½ Tbsp honey 2 cups vegetable broth most expensive of all lentils, and though 1 Tbsp mustard hamburger buns ¼ cup mayonnaise or vegan alternative 1 tsp apple cider4vinegar they take the longest to boil at 40 to 45 RED PHOTO PROVIDED BY SITEMAN CANCER CENTER minutes, preparation is simple: Let them 1 tsp chile powder shine in a side salad, splashed with redDepending on the | preparation | Place all ingredients for the sloppy joes into a slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook for 3 ½ hours on high. Stir wine vinegar and olive oil, then top with variety, red lentils’ Slaw: goat cheese. color might actually every hour or so,2and add water if needed. Combine all slaw ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until sloppy joes are ready. ½ cups shredded cabbage ½ Tbsp honey be closer to gold. Their Serve sloppy joe¼ mixture on a hamburger bunalternative and top with slaw. 1 tsp apple cider vinegar cup mayonnaise or vegan sweet, nutty flavor RED to traditional PHOTO PROVIDED BY SITEMAN has CANCER CENTER made them essential NUTRITION INFORMATION: Indian dishes likeDepending dal, where on they break the 373 CALORIES, 11G FAT, 362MG SODIUM, 51G down when boiled and have soft bite. | preparation | Place all ingredients for the sloppy joes into a slow cooker and mix well. Cover and cook for 3 ½ hours on high. Stir variety, redalentils’ Along with adding heftmight to soups, they also color actually CARBOHYDRATES, 11Gevery FIBER, 15G PROTEIN hour or so, and add water if needed. Combine all slaw ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until sloppy joes are ready. bring iron, folatebe and potassium. closer to gold. Their Serve sloppy joe mixture on a hamburger bun and top with slaw. PHOTOS PROVIDED BY nutty ISTOCK IMAGES sweet, flavor has made them essential to traditional NUTRITION INFORMATION: 27 they break / o c to be r dal, 2 019where Indian dishes like 373 CALORIES, 11G FAT, 362MG SODIUM, 51G down when boiled and have a soft bite. Along with adding heft to soups, they also CARBOHYDRATES, 11G FIBER, 15G PROTEIN bring iron, folate and potassium.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes










These three local spots have won the hearts of local diners. ▼ COLUMBIA, MO.

Olive Branch Cafe written by Heather Riske / photo by aaron ottis


Diners in Columbia, Missouri, have long known Olive Branch Cafe to be one of the most reliable spots in town for falafel and hummus. The café offers several loaded varieties topped with everything from grilled chicken and gyro meat to a family recipe for kofta. Hungry for more? Opt for larger dishes such as shish tawook, kofta kebabs or a classic gyro stuffed into a pita pocket. The halal-certified restaurant also has a grocery inside stocked with all the pantry items you need to make your own feast. 21 N. Providence Road, Columbia, Missouri, ▼ BOLIVAR, MO.

The Mediterranean Written by Juliana Goodwin / photo courtesy of the mediterranean


spinach. Börek appears on the hot mezze menu

Aya Sofia

alongside grilled shrimp kebabs, kizartma –

written by Liz Miller / photo by spencer pernikoff

peppers served with a garlic-cumin-tomato

Since 2005, Mehmet Yildiz has been cooking primarily Turkish fare (plus a few Mediterranean and Lebanese dishes), which reflects his childhood spent in western Turkey. Yildiz credits his mother’s recipes as the inspiration for many of his Turkish menu items, including börek, a baked phyllo-dough pastry traditionally filled with Feta and

crispy eggplant, zucchini, potatoes and bell sauce and yogurt – and more. Don't miss cold mezze specialties such as haydari, a creamy yogurt dip with garlic, dill, fresh mint and pecans, and the garlicky house hummus. End your meal with the Adana kebab, spicy ground lamb grilled on a Turkish sword-shaped skewer. 6671 Chippewa St., St. Louis, Missouri,

What do you do when you crave a specific food and can’t find it? If you’re Debby Sherrer, you start a restaurant. After living in Turkey for five years, Sherrer was inspired to open The Mediterranean seven years ago in Bolivar, Missouri. There, she serves Turkish and Lebanese fare, with everything made in-house, including gluten-free and vegan options. Start with a sampling of snacks such as fresh hummus, warm pita, falafel and tabbouleh, while sipping a complimentary cup of Turkish tea. And be sure to try house specialties such as the döner sandwich, with thinly sliced and seasoned beef, onion, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce on flatbread. 115 W. Broadway St., Bolivar, Missouri,

28 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Destination: Waterloo, Illinois

SEPT. 27-29

CITY PARK EDWARDSVILLE, IL See art, make art, buy art Over 100 vendors Free kids make and take booth Performing arts displays


6pm -10pm


11am - 9pm

ChiCken Dinner SunDayS! Buy One Get One Chicken Dinner

1/2 Price

Expires 10/27/19. Dine-in Only. Limit one coupon per table. Not to be combined with any other offer.


Just 15 Minutes froM the JB Bridge!


11am - 3pm


From silverware, to walk-in coolers, and everything in between We offer location layouts, CAD drawings, and leasing options. Let us provide your Kitchen Solution – We LIVE for this – Come and See!

636-244-2378 •

The Sliced Pint A fresh local take on pizza in the heart of Downtown

best of class dry rosÉ

la rosÉe late harvest


Happy Hour:

Monday- Saturday 4-6pm + 9pm-close $3 Select Drafts and Half Price Appetizers


A Winery in the truest form hArvesting in the heArt of AmericA’s first AvA BreAthtAking vieWs | AWArd Winning Wines tAsting room And cAfe open dAily live music Weekends 2 0 1 mont ell e dr ive | 63332 | 888. 595. W ine mo nt e l l e . c o m / o c to be r 2 019



farm table TO

Café Sebastienne The Black Pasta with summer succotash, carrot puree and herbs at Café Sebastienne — located conveniently inside Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art — features ingredients grown at New Roots for Refugees. "As we aim to tell the collective story of food in the Midwest, part of this mission is trying to convey the stories of the people that have come to this city through difficult circumstances. Their story is part of Kansas City’s story and it’s important for us to tell it,” says chef Rick Mullins. 4420 Warwick Blvd., Kansas City, Missouri 64111 816-561-7740 |é

30 / oc tober 2 0 1 9




Enjoy the taste of local farms in Boundary’s Heirloom tomato salad and Amish Chicken. Tomatoes are sourced from Tony’s Family Farms. The local farmer delivers tomatoes regularly to Boundary, as well as peppers, squash, peaches and a variety of seasonal produce. The Amish Chicken is sourced from Miller’s Poultry-Indian, the most established all-natural chicken producers in the United States, raising antibiotic and hormone-free chicken with the freedom to roam.

Volpi Foods has been handcrafting charcuterie in America’s heartland since 1902. They are known for their unparalleled dry cured meat and twists on specialty foods. They never take shortcuts and ensure quality at every step of the process. Volpi believes in ensuring all livestock and the environment are treated with respect, and they work directly with family farms in the region to secure the freshest ingredients. Volpi crafts food with care, from their family to yours.

Cleveland-Heath serves upscale comfort food in a casual environment. Nestled in downtown Edwardsville directly on Main St., the chefs at Cleveland-Heath know how to keep it local. The food is sourced from local farms and vendors such as Rensing’s farm pork, Rustic Roots chicken and eggs, Marcoot Creamery, Excel Sodas and others. From the ingredients to the environs to the plate, at Cleveland-Heath you’ll feel right at home.

7036 Clayton Ave., St. Louis, Missouri 63117

5256 Daggett Ave, St. Louis, Missouri 63110

106 N. Main St., Edwardsville, Illinois 62025

314-932-7818 |

618-307-4830 |



By AuBrEy ByrOn

hat better way to spend a breezy, fall afternoon than sharing a table full of locally grown food? From artisan cheeses to hearty root vegetables – many farmers are working to bring fresh products straight to your plate. The farm-to-table movement lets you

enjoy the rich fruits of the land around you while keeping goats, chickens and cows happy and healthy. Making good use of the Midwest’s vast plains and rolling hills sustains our communities and allows you to taste the flavor of a Missouri-grown tomato or the richness of a Chambourcin pour.

From the vineyards of the Ozarks to the fine dining of our cities, chefs and farms across the region are working diligently to put the highest-quality, fresh ingredients on your table. These local restaurants and purveyors are dedicated to serving the best farm-to-table ingredients the Midwest has to offer.

The Cider House

The Order

Green Dirt Farm

The Cider House brings in professional chefs to prepare exclusive farm-to-table dinners right at their family-owned and -operated farm. Each chef creates a custom menu with ingredients from their own farm and orchard, along with others farms from the area. Guests can see how an item is prepared while enjoying artisan bread with goat cheese, local music and wine pairing by nearby Aubrey Vineyards. 27808 S State Route 7 S, Garden City, Missouri 64747 | 816-925-0884 |

Duck Ravioli at The Order features local ingredients, such as Fromage Blanc from Edgewood Creamery, Providence Farms duck confit and Urban Roots butternut squash. “I love utilizing any local ingredient possible. This goes deeper than just a better product with better taste, it creates a community and helps fund local farming,” says chef Caleb Stangroom. Chef Stangroom works personally with farms near Springfield to put seasonality on the plate. 305 E Walnut St., Springfield, Missouri 65806 417-851-5299 |

Edg-Clif Winery

Dinners at Green Dirt Farm include Edg-Clif Vineyard will feature artisan cheeses made in-house using local foods for the Harvest Moon healthy, happy animals and lamb raised Dinner, Oct. 11. The farm-to-table on their own farm, as well as seasonal focused dinner will feature awardproduce from neighboring farms. Rather winning Chambourcin wines and than having a set menu, each dinner is a Edg-Clif craft beer to be served unique celebration of the products of the alongside venison, artisan cheeses, season as envisioned by the individual root vegetables, local breads and chef. In addition to healthy animal care, caramelized pumpkin for dessert. Green Dirt works to farm responsibly in Nestled in the Ozarks, at Edg-Clif you order to preserve top soil. can enjoy both the produce and scenic beauty Missouri land has to offer. 1099 Welt St., Weston, Missouri 64098

816-386-2156 |

10035 Edg-Clif Dr., Potosi, Missouri 63664


573-438-4741 |

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SPONSORED CONTENT BY KARA BEHLKE REGISTERED DIETITIAN, SCHNUCKS DIRECTOR OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS What I love most about October is the cooler weather, the smell of cinnamon and spice, the changing leaves and that fall festivities are in full swing. These things instantly conjure up fond childhood memories as I reminisce about my dad pulling my friends and I              pumpkin patch where we would jump off and scour the patch in search of our perfect pumpkin. We would then race to the barn                    Many people would agree that one of the best parts about living in the Midwest is that we get to enjoy the changing seasons. Now I am reminded that fall has arrived when I start to see pumpkin spice products hitting the grocery store shelves.                                           pumpkin spices and contain more sugar than they do actual pumpkin.            Â   Â?                                     Â                               for decoration. I encourage you to try the versatility of pumpkin in your cooking and Â?                packed with beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that is good for vision, immunity and        Â?        Â?    Â?

SQUASH & PUMPKIN SOUP SERVES 8 2 1 2 1  2 1 4 1 3

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Tbsp butter medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed cups cubed and peeled Russet potato tsp kosher salt      cups sliced leek cup pumpkin puree cups no-salt added chicken broth cup skim milk Tbsp chopped chives or cilantro

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I first tried warm yogurt in a Turkish dumpling dish called manti – and it blew my mind. I love that using strained yogurt in all applications and preparations is standard in Middle Eastern cooking. For this dish, I wanted to take that same approach to yogurt to cool down the spicy chile sauce: a version of red schug, an Israeli hot sauce. Story and recipe by Amanda Elliott, chef-co-owner, Beet Box in Columbia, Missouri Photography by Drew Piester

7-Minute Eggs with Warm Yogurt and Chile Sauce serves 2 to 4 Chile Sauce (Yields 1 cup) 2 red peppers, charred and peeled 2 Tbsp Calabrian chiles 2 cloves garlic ½ tsp ground cumin 1 Tbsp Calabrian chile oil 1 Tbsp cardamom seeds ½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Eggs 4 eggs 1 cup labneh or Greek yogurt ½ cup water 2 Tbsp olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste chile sauce (recipe below) 1 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish) / preparation – chile sauce / In the bowl of a blender, add all ingredients and blend to combine. Place in a small bowl and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. / preparation – eggs / Heat a saucepan filled almost to the top with water over high heat until it reaches a boil. Add whole eggs and set timer for 7 minutes.

In a large bowl, prepare an ice water bath and set next to stove. When timer is done, place eggs in ice water bath for 5 minutes. Peel eggs and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add all remaining ingredients except chile sauce and cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste; heat until warm. In a large bowl, pour half of yogurt mixture, add eggs and pour remaining yogurt over eggs. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of chile sauce and garnish with cilantro. Serve immediately.

pair with: India Pale Lager


The crisp bite of Schlafly’s India Pale Lager cuts through the creaminess of the yogurt in this dish without overpowering the lighter flavors of the eggs. The extra hops in this style of lager slightly accentuate the heat of the sauce while also allowing the garlic and cilantro to pop. -Justin phelps

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This recipe yields 8 pitas.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup warm water ● (approximately 105°F), 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Place dough ball in lightly greased mixing bowl and ● cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise until dough

and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Stir and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

doubles in size, about 45 minutes. When dough is about finished rising, preheat oven to 500°F and place a cast-iron skillet or pizza stone in oven.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2½ cups bread ● flour, ¼ cup whole-wheat flour and 1 teaspoon kosher

Divide dough into 8 pieces and form into small balls. ● Using a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6-inch disc about

Most of the bread served in my house is made on the spot. In fact, I make it a point to never purchase bread to serve alongside a meal, as I know homemade will always taste better, guests will be instantly impressed and I will appreciate it way more. This pita recipe is so incredibly easy and versatile, and pairs well with both meat and vegetable dishes in every season. story, recipe and photography by Julia Calleo, writer and recipe developer,

salt. Gradually incorporate flour-salt mixture into wet ingredients, about ½ cup at a time, folding dough as you go. Continue to do this until dough comes together and forms a lightly sticky, shaggy texture.

¼-inch thick. Place 1 disc in cast-iron skillet or on pizza stone and bake for about 2 minutes; using a clean oven mitt or pot holder, carefully flip and bake for another 2 minutes (or until bubbles begin to form). Remove baked pita from oven; cover with a clean kitchen towel. Repeat to bake remaining discs.

Sprinkle a little whole-wheat flour on a clean work ● surface. Transfer dough ball to work surface and knead for

6 Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and ● finishing salt.

about 4 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.


Happy Hour Mon.-Fri. 2:30 pm - 5:30 pm

106 N. Main St. • Edwardsville 618.307.4830

Serving Brunch Saturday & Sundays 10am-1pm

Mon–Thu 11am–10pm, Fri 11am–11pm, Sat 10am–11pm, Sun 10am-8pm First Come - First Serve (No reservations)



Unique Shops Quaint Restaurants Lovely Lodging

A picture perfect day trip & Peaceful Getaway Apple Butter Festival Oct 26 & 27

Deer Widow’s Weekend Nov 8-10

(25 min. from Downtown St. Louis) G O K I M M S W I C K . C O M


We play with FIRE. Let us ignite your next event. Flaming Donut Hole Bar

Inspired Occasions… Unique Ideas… Unforgettable Events

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Story and recipe by Rogan Howitt, beverage director, Good Spirits & Co. in Springfield, Missouri Photography by Starboard & Port Creative


Blending flavors from the Middle East as well as India, this spin on the classic whiskey sour will send you on a trip around the globe. The spiced pomegranate molasses syrup adds bright acidity and herbal complexity, while the passion fruit liqueur and single-malt Indian whiskey round out this autumnal cocktail.

East Meets Midwest whiskey Sour Serves 1 Spiced Pomegranate Molasses Syrup (Yields 12 ounces) 4 oz pomegranate molasses 4 oz water 8 oz granulated sugar 1 star anise pod 1 cardamom pod, crushed east meets midwest whiskey sour 1½ oz Indian single-malt whiskey ½ oz spiced pomegranate molasses syrup (recipe below) ½ oz Giffard Crème de Fruits de la Passion liqueur ¾ oz lemon juice 4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters (for garnish) toasted fennel seeds (for garnish) / preparation – spiced pomegranate molasses syrup / In a small saucepan over medium heat, add all ingredients, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, allow to cool and strain. / preparation – cocktail / In a shaker tin, add first 4 ingredients with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a 10- or 12-ounce Collins glass and add crushed or pebbled ice to fill. Top with bitters or toasted fennel seeds for an aromatic garnish. Serve.

36 / oc tober 2 0 1 9


~ cheese and charcuterie boards ~ gourmet sandwiches ~ cheese tastings ~ wine and beer pairings 1099 Welt Street, Weston, MO 64098


Free Vent Kit!

Hearthside Grill & Fireplace Ltd. is offering a FREE VENT KIT with the purchase of a Quadra-Fire® Gas DirectVent Insert during the month of October - a $529.00 value! Stop by the showroom today to see our selection & feel the warmth.


418 south belt east | belleville | illinois

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Zoë Robinson

owner I Fratellini, Bar Les Freres and Billie-Jean

People can’t get enough of hummus, and for good reason: Traditionally made from a blend of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and other spices, hummus is a good source of plant-based protein and fiber, it’s naturally dairy- and gluten-free and it ranks as one of the tastiest, healthiest snacks to grab.

AO&Co.’s hummus “If there’s one food that I could live on, it would be the hummus at Olio – of course, I

Written by rachel huffman / photo by chris bauer

be dressed up or stand all on its own, and

If you’ve tasted the hummus at Olio and fallen in love, you’re in luck: Directly across the street at Ben Poremba’s specialty market, AO&Co., you can pick up a container of the perfectly prepared hummus to go. Incredibly rich and ineffably smooth, the classic hummus atop fresh pita bread is one indulgence you don't have to feel guilty about.

Freshness is key at The Hummus Co., based in Kansas City. Owner James Gardner and his team make all of their hummus by hand, in small batches, to ensure the best flavor in every tub. Found in area grocery stores, The Hummus Co. hummus comes in more traditional flavors, such as lemon-garlic, featuring a zesty hit of citrus, and roasted red pepper, with a hint of lime juice to spruce it up. For the more eclectic, there’s also basil-chive, smoky chipotle and jalapeño-lime.

38 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

since it’s been sold at AO&Co., I have been a regular. I never walk out of there without the hummus and pita.”

Cuban-style beans take center stage at del Carmen, founded in St. Louis in 2009. Using non-GMO black beans, it makes a mean black bean hummus – creamy and delicious, with a distinct tahini flavor. Cuban-American owner Estrella “Estie” Cruz-Curoe draws on her roots for this recipe and more; stop in the frozen section of Local Harvest Grocery, Whole Foods Market or other St. Louis-area locations to get your first taste and join Cruz-Curoe in “an enlightened state of bean.”

A family-owned and operated Kansas City-based company since 1998, Oasis Food Products handcrafts and delivers exceptional hummus. As it says, “Hummus is the name of our game and local is how we play it.” Mo’s World’s Greatest Hummus comes in seven different flavors, including original, cucumber, sun-dried tomato and Indian curry – good luck choosing a favorite. For a complete list of retailers that sell Mo’s hummus, visit moshummus.

Since 2014, United Provisions in The Loop has been providing an international grocery experience to St. Louisans. However, did you know it also makes hummus inhouse? Pick up the simply crafted spread in the grab-and-go section of the store – but keep in mind that many days it does sell out.

photo by Suzy Gorman

would need Ben’s delicious housemade pita to accompany it. It can

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What Is It?

What Do I Do With It?

Bahārāt is a spice blend found all over the

Fall is a time of familiarity and comfort

Middle East. A whirlwind of fragrant, toasty

zones: We dive back into routine, in

aromatics and sweet heat, it’s got personality

life and in cooking. This year, break the

for days, with ingredients that shift based

cycle just a little and add bahārāt to your

on where you are: Some regions keep black

life – you won’t regret it. It’s got all your

pepper at the forefront, while others lean on

favorites – cumin, pepper, cardamom, even

dried mint or cinnamon to anchor the flavor.

cinnamon – so toss it over roasted winter

Some go even more exotic, deploying dried

squashes, Brussels sprouts and all manner

rose petals or black lime into the fray. Bahārāt

of potatoes. It sings on meats such as

may vary in flavor, but it enhances a range of

lamb (that cinnamon!) and beef and kicks

dishes no matter what you feel like cooking.

up weeknight soups and stews in a flash.

Written by Shannon Weber, writer and recipe developer, photography by Jennifer Silverberg

If spice mixes were blankets, this one would be your grandma’s coziest afghan.


QUICK FIX / CRASH COURSE / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Savory baked apples are a perfect way to ring in cooler temperatures. These have just the right balance of warm spice to rev up any autumn evening (and they make for a pretty stunning presentation, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

lamb-Stuffed Apples

/ preparation – lamb-stuffed apples / Preheat oven to

serves 6 Bahārāt Spice Mix (Yields ¹⁄₃ cup) 1½ Tbsp black peppercorns 1½ Tbsp cumin seeds 1 Tbsp coriander seeds 1 tsp allspice berries 10 whole cloves ¼ tsp cardamom seeds (from 3 to 4 pods) 2 Tbsp sweet paprika 1½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp kosher salt lamb-Stuffed Apples 6 large apples (Braeburn, Gala, Fuji or Envy) 2 Tbsp honey 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice 2 Tbsp olive oil ¾ cup diced yellow onion 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 lb ground lamb ¾ cup dried Mission figs, small dice ½ cup pine nuts, toasted 1½ Tbsp bahārāt (recipe below) 1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves (from about 4 sprigs) 1 tsp kosher salt 1½ Tbsp unsalted butter ½ cup panko bread crumbs

375°F. Use a paring knife to slice tops off of apples, then hollow them into cups using a spoon or melon baller to remove core and flesh, leaving about ½-inch thickness of flesh at the bottom and sides. In a small bowl, whisk honey and lemon juice together and brush apples inside and out; set aside in a casserole dish. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil; add onion and cook over medium heat until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more, then add lamb and cook until browned, stirring to break up. Drain fat from pan, stir in figs, pine nuts, bahārāt, rosemary and salt and cook until combined. Fill apples with lamb mixture; if apples are wobbly, use apple tops to steady. In a small saucepan, melt butter; add panko bread crumbs and stir to coat. Divide panko over apples and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove apples from casserole dish using a spatula and divide onto plates; serve hot.

/ preparation – bahārāt spice mix / In a small pan over

medium heat, toast peppercorns, cumin, coriander, allspice, cloves and cardamom until fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in sweet paprika, cinnamon and salt. Pulse mixture in a spice grinder or coffee grinder until finely ground. Transfer to a Mason jar to cool and store.

pair with: Chambourcin The rich flavors from the spices and baked fruit in this dish call for an equally rich, fruit-driven wine. Match it with Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery’s Chambourcin, a perfect companion to fall meals. Made at the winery in Basehor, Kansas, this Chambourcin features bold, dark fruit flavors, notes of clove, spice and a hint of smoke, making it a great match for the baked apples, figs and bahārāt-spiced lamb. -Hilary Hedges

PA I R IT! Pro tip: Use those lopped-off apple tops in your casserole dish to keep stuffed apples from wobbling.

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These layered nut bars have a tender orange blossom-scented shortbread crust. Use a good quality orange blossom water, such as Cortas or Mymouné, for a well-balanced flavor and subtle fragrance. The crust is topped with a buttery and chewy caramel that’s studded with a nutty mixture of salted cashews, pistachios and almonds. For the best flavor, choose a thick, good-quality honey and pull out your candy thermometer in order to achieve the best texture. Story, recipe and photography by Teresa Floyd, food writer and chocolatier, Now, Forager in Kansas City

pair with: Port


Port cocktails are not as prevalent as some of their spirited counterparts, but with the proper touch, they can really impress. The orange blossom and salted nuts in this recipe call for a rich and unctuous Port cocktail to balance all the flavors. I recommend a Port Cobbler made with Adam Puchta Winery’s Signature Port. In a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 Amarena cherries and ½ tablespoon granulated sugar. Add 2 ounces Port, ¾ ounces orange juice, ¾ ounces lemon juice and ice and shake. Pour drink into a double Old Fashioned glass and garnish with a sprig of mint. –Jenn Tosatto

42 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

r n a good ja Splurge o w ra such as a of honey, y lt specia honey or a a local m o honey fr eyor. honey purv


-Scratch P m o r F adrveing the St. Louis area since 2012ies

yields 24 bars Orange Blossom Shortbread Crust 2 cups all-purpose flour ¾ cup powdered sugar ¼ tsp kosher salt 1½ sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 2 egg yolks 1 tsp orange blossom water Sesame-Nut Caramel 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds ¼ tsp kosher salt 1½ cups salted cashews 1 cup salted roasted pistachios 1 cup whole almonds 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter ¼ cup granulated sugar 1½ cups packed light brown sugar ½ cup honey 4 Tbsp heavy cream 1 tsp vanilla extract

M Se

When cooking caramel to temperature, be sure to read through the entire recipe and have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to go before starting. Sugar cooks fast!

Get in touch

Store hourS

2719 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood 314-704-4416

Tuesday - Friday: 10 - 6 pm Saturday: 10 - 5 pm Closed Sundays and Mondays

Check out your local Middle Eastern markets to find nuts for this recipe, such as vibrant Iranian pistachios.

/ preparation – orange blossom shortbread crust / Preheat oven

to 400°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine flour, powdered sugar and salt. Pulse several times to blend well. Scatter cold butter pieces over top of dry ingredients and pulse until butter is coarsely cut in, about the size of peas. In a small bowl, lightly whisk together egg yolks and orange blossom water, then drizzle over top of dough. Pulse for several seconds

Farm Fresh in the City! 730 Carroll Street • St. Louis, Missouri 63104 Wednesday 8 am - 5 pm Thursday 8 am - 5 pm Friday 7 am - 5 pm

Saturday 7 am - 5:30 pm. The market is CLOSED Sunday - Tuesday.

at a time until dough comes together, forming clumps, and holds when pressed together with fingers. Transfer dough into prepared baking pan. Using your fingers, spread and press dough evenly over the entire bottom of the pan. Using a fork, prick dough all over. Cover dough with a second piece of parchment paper and pour dried beans or rice on top to weigh down. Place baking pan onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully, remove parchment paper and weights and then return to oven to continue baking for 4 to 5 minutes

A Volcano Awakens • A City Vanishes

or until crust edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and set on rack to cool. / preparation – sesame-nut caramel / Reduce oven temperature to

350°F. In a medium bowl, combine toasted sesame seeds, salt, cashews, pistachios and almonds. Set aside. In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add both sugars and honey; whisk to combine. Increase heat to medium and, whisking constantly, bring mixture to a boil. Cook caramel to 240°F on a candy thermometer (this will only take about 1 minute once it begins to boil), remove from heat and immediately whisk in heavy cream and vanilla extract. Add in sesame-nut mixture and whisk to combine until nuts are evenly coated with caramel.

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Pour sesame-nut caramel on top of baked crust in an even layer, using a whisk to lightly spread out nuts. Place baking pan back in oven and bake for 27 minutes; caramel should be bubbling across entire surface and still fluid when done. Set on rack to cool completely. / to serve / Using the sides of the parchment paper, lift bars out of the


pan. Peel off parchment paper and set on a cutting board. Using a large chef’s knife, trim off edges to remove any hard caramel, then cut into 24 two-inch squares. Store bars in an airtight container for up to 3 days. / o c to be r 2 019




Amna Humayon

Sohaila’s Kitchen in Lenexa Public Market

labneh with Za’atar and Olive Oil

Queen Sweets & Bakery “The Bataineh family behind Queen Sweets & Bakery prepares incredibly authentic Middle Eastern cuisine that’s hard to find in

Queen Sweets & Bakery, owned by Mohamed and Kholoud “Kay” Bataineh, started as a bakery specializing in Jordanian

the Midwest. Each dish is

and Lebanese desserts such as baklava and ma’amoul, a cookie made with dates, pistachios or walnuts. Soon, the

made with an attention to detail that’s unsurpassed,

couple decided to expand into savory offerings, including lamb shawarma and falafel. On the appetizer menu, a fan

with different flavors

favorite is the labneh, a thick yogurt dip topped with olive oil and za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend with dried

in every bite – it's hard to

thyme, oregano and toasted sesame seeds. The soft, tangy spread is served with warm pita bread and is traditionally

pick a favorite.”

eaten for breakfast with mint tea. “This dish is considered very healthy, which is why many people start their day with it,” says Kay. “It has a lot of protein and probiotic properties, with a sour, tangy flavor that we just love.” –Jenny Vergara

Recipe by Kholoud “Kay” Bataineh, chef-co-owner, Queen Sweets & Bakery

serves 4

Photography by angela bond

Za’atar can be found at your favorite local international market, as can labneh, if you’d prefer to buy it premade and packaged.

1 1 1 1 1 1

gallon whole milk cup plain yogurt Tbsp kosher salt Tbsp za’atar (for garnish) Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for garnish) Tbsp chopped fresh mint (for garnish)

/ preparation / In a large saucepot over medium heat, add milk and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly and watching to make sure milk doesn’t come to a boil. Once milk reaches 250°F on a candy thermometer, remove pot from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Add yogurt and salt to milk and stir until combined. Cover saucepot with a lid and wrap it with a clean kitchen towel. Let sit out at room temperature for 24 hours.

Place a piece of cheesecloth in a large colander and set colander inside a large mixing bowl with 6 to 8 inches of room for liquid to drain off. Spoon homemade yogurt into colander; let yogurt drain until it has thickened, 24 to 72 hours. When yogurt is thick and spreadable, you can place it in an airtight container with a lid and store in your refrigerator for up to 10 days.

Don’t use Greek yogurt or flavored yogurt in place of regular yogurt, as the flavor and texture won’t be the same. 44 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

/ assembly / Add a large dollop of fresh labneh to the middle of a small bowl or plate; with the back of a spoon, spread it out flat across your serving dish in all directions. Drizzle olive oil over top and generously sprinkle with za’atar. Garnish plate with fresh mint leaves and serve chilled or at room temperature with warm pita bread.

photo courtesy of Sohaila’s Kitchen


e m a d o m e h


ONE on

st. louis

with Faiz Alderea and Alaa Alderie

/ owners, Cham Bakery

Written by Rachel Huffman / photography by j. pollack photography

At Cham Bakery, the passion for pita runs deep. Originally from Damascus, Syria, the Alderie family, including Faiz Alderea (pictured left), his wife, Samar Alchaar, and their son, Alaa Alderie (pictured right), opened Cham in the summer of 2014. “Sharing our family pita bread with St. Louis is our way to give back to the community that so warmly welcomed us,” says Faiz. As the first pita bread company in town, the

best-sellers at

cham bakery

bakery takes pride in the consistent high quality of its white and whole-wheat pita, as well as its customer service. It’s no surprise then that over the years Cham has grown from two wholesale customers – Middle Eastern restaurants Petra and Ranoush – to supplying eateries across the city, as well as grocery stores such as Dierbergs Markets, Whole Foods Market, Global Foods Market and Straub’s.

White Pita Bread Cham Bakery’s traditional pita bread is made using an industrial oven that produces 5,000 loaves an hour. “Consumers especially like to use the 10-inch pita for pizzas,” says Alaa.

Tell us about your family’s background. My father and grandfather were bakers, but I was a bookkeeper. It wasn’t until we moved to St. Louis in 2012, reuniting with my son, Awss, that we began baking. – Faiz Alderea My dad and I actually started a number of businesses before Cham Bakery. We sold the last one to buy [the warehouse where Cham is housed], and in the future, we want to start a food truck. –Alaa Alderie What is it like working with your son? In the bakery, he is not my son; he is my partner. I’ve taught him what I know and now we work together, making all our business decisions together. –F.A. How have customers received your pita bread? Oh, they love it! Before Cham Bakery opened, people in St. Louis had to settle for three-, four-day-old pita. It was coming from Chicago and other places; people had to order it online and wait for it to be shipped. No one wants that – old bread, it’s not good. –A.A. Originally, almost all of our customers were Arabic, but we’ve since learned more about American culture and the American market and we’ve been able to expand. –F.A. A lot of local restaurants pair our pita with

menu items: The hummus, baba ghanoush and labneh at The Vine Cafe on South Grand [Boulevard] comes with fresh-baked Cham pita bread; Ranoush does amazing things with our pita, such as its arayes [pita stuffed with spicy ground beef]; and chef Wesam [Hamed] of Kaslik Mediterranean Cuisine in Hazelwood, Missouri, makes magic with it – to name a few. The best thing about this business is that our client list is stable – it’s very rare to lose a customer – so we can focus on adding one or two new wholesalers or restaurants a month. –A.A. With an increasing customer base, how do you ensure that the quality of your pita bread never falters? First, we buy the best ingredients; our bread is made with only five ingredients – flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water – and we pay a high price for each. Second, we work from the heart. This is the bread that feeds our family, so if anything doesn’t taste right, in any given moment, it goes in the trash and we address the problem. We want only the best to reach our customers’ table. –F.A. 6818 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, Missouri,

Whole-Wheat Pita Bread Bread-lovers looking for a healthier option will be happy to know that Cham Bakery makes whole-wheat pita, as well. And as an added bonus, it also has less sugar than its classic counterpart.

Baklava Made from scratch, Cham’s best-selling baklava flavors are pistachio and walnut. The thin, perfectly flaky phyllo dough, fresh nuts and syrup combine for a heavenly treat. / o c to be r 2 019




In this class, you’ll learn how to make fresh pita bread at home. You’ll also learn how to make a flour substitute using only ground nuts.

Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce A blend of cayenne pepper, ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon and turmeric lend this chicken shawarma a warmth and spiciness ideal for heating up cool autumn nights. Written by Cheryl Herbert / Photography by Jennifer Silverberg

serves 4 Chicken Shawarma

Get Hands-On Join Feast Magazine and Schnucks Cooks Cooking School at 6pm on Wed., Oct. 16, at the Des Peres, Missouri, location to make the dishes on this month’s menu. Tickets are just $45 for a night of cooking, dining and wine.


or call 314.909.1704 46 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

1½ 1½ ½ 8 ¼ 2 2 ½ ½ 3 1 2

lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cup olive oil cloves garlic, minced zest and juice of 3 lemons tsp cayenne pepper tsp ground cumin tsp smoked paprika tsp ground cinnamon tsp turmeric red onions, peeled and cut into eighths tsp kosher salt tsp finely chopped fresh parsley nonstick cooking spray oil

/ preparation – chicken shawarma / Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut chicken thighs into 1-by-3-inch strips and chicken breasts into 2-by-3-inch strips. In a plastic zip-close freezer bag, combine all ingredients except nonstick cooking spray oil. Marinate chicken in refrigerator at least 10 minutes or up to 24 hours. Lightly spray 2 sheet pans with nonstick cooking oil spray. Pour chicken and marinade over top, spreading with a spatula to evenly distribute. Roast in oven for 20 minutes. / preparation – garlicky yogurt sauce / In a small bowl, combine all ingredients,

stirring well to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. / to serve / Serve warm chicken shawarma with chilled garlicky yogurt sauce,

warm pita bread, sliced tomatoes and cucumber.

Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

1 4 1

cup Greek yogurt cloves garlic, roasted tsp ground cumin juice of ½ a lemon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To Serve

pita bread, warmed tomato slices diced cucumber

MAKE THE MEAL • • • • •

From-Scratch Pita Bread Marinated Tomatoes Roasted Potatoes and Eggplant Oven-Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Garlicky Yogurt Sauce Pistachio Cake with Cardamom Glaze


st. Louis

with Loryn Nalic / chef-co-owner, Balkan Treat Box In Webster Groves, Missouri, Balkan Treat Box has St. Louis-area diners lining up around the block for a taste of its traditional Turkish and Bosnian dishes, from soft, chewy somun to snappy cevapi sausages to the totally Instagrammable boat-shaped pide (stuffed Turkish flatbread). Chef Loryn Nalic – who owns the restaurant with her husband, Edo – utilizes a massive wood-burning oven to give these Balkan-inspired dishes their signature wood-fired flavor. Here, the chef behind one of St. Louis’ hottest new restaurants shares three of the cookbooks that shaped her career. –Heather Riske

Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst (1990) “I have no formal culinary training, so this is my go-to for terminology and ingredients. It’s one I can’t live without and is great for people who love trivia!”

The Turkish Cookbook

Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes – Through Darkness and Light

by Musa Dağdeviren (2019) “There’s so much history and knowledge in here – I can’t live without it! What’s crazy is that [author Musa Dağdeviren] submitted so many more recipes, but they couldn’t publish all of them in one book. I can’t get my head around that. It goes to show you how much technique and influence Turkish cuisine has over so much of the world.”

by Caroline Eden (2018) “Part travelogue, part recipe book, this one is so interesting to me; it pushes my creativity further just to see how far Balkan food’s influence reaches. Plus, [author Caroline Eden]’s stories are just so captivating.”

photo by spencer pernikoff

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Best Cuts: Shoulder, thick-cut chops Marinade Style: Brine overnight


c A lot of connective tissue in pork means it’s going to need some breaking down; brining for 24 hours keeps chewiness at bay. beef

The concept behind kebabs is as straightforward as it gets:

food + stick + grill = dinner End of story.

Best Cuts: Filet mignon, porterhouse, rib eye, short ribs, top sirloin, chuck steak Marinade Style: Oil-based, yogurt-based, the world is your oyster

Why c Filet, porterhouse and rib eye will be

tender even with 1 to 2 hours in a marinade; short ribs, sirloin and chuck steak need a little more time in the pool – 4 to 6 hours – to make them skewer-worthy.


Best Cuts: Only meaty fish, such as salmon, swordfish or tuna. From the shellfish family, shrimp is king. Marinade Style: Quick, oil-based

Why c Marinades with acid can actually cure the

fish over time, so limit marinating to 30 minutes prior to grilling for great flavor and zero toughness.

Or is it?

Written by Shannon Weber Photography by jennifer silverberg

If you assume kebabs are simply a matter of buying any meat or vegetable, shoving it onto a skewer and firing it up, you are oversimplifying a concept and process so intricate and steeped in history and tradition that you deserve what’s coming to you – certain and utter failure. If you want to grill up some meat without thinking, be my guest; if you want to create a beautiful lineup of succulent proteins and fire-kissed veggies, you’re going to need to follow some rules. This isn’t about unnecessary restrictions: It’s about getting the best possible outcome from whatever protein you choose to work with by using techniques honed for centuries, so trust the process.

Best Cuts: Thighs, thighs, thighs Marinade Style: Yogurt and acid


c Chicken in yogurt and acid is a thing of beauty; marinate it for at least 4 to 6 hours and thighs will be even more tender than usual. lamb

Best Cuts: Shoulder Marinade Style: Yogurt and acid


c Lamb shoulder is a less expensive choice than leg for kebabs, and a yogurt marinade with acid will help break down tissue and temper some of the gaminess.

illustrations by


kim cho

Will it

Kebab? Your kebab success (or embarrassing, down-in-flames failure) depends largely on the choices you make before you ever light the grill. Choosing the right meat, fish or vegetables and preparing them with the appropriate marinade and time is critical; proceed accordingly.

Best Cuts: Onions, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes Marinade Style: Oil, herbs and/or spices, but only if you’re feeling it


c A kiss of flame and smoke is all vegetables need to be perfect, really, but a little herb flavor brushed on prior to cooking never hurt anyone either.

A Word on Koftas: No kebab article would be complete without mentioning koftas, a spiced meatball on a stick central to many Middle Eastern cuisines. They’re as delicious as they are portable: a richly spiced combination of ground chicken, beef, pork or lamb threaded onto a skewer and grilled just as you would a kebab, usually set over rice or couscous and served with a dipping sauce. Similar in outcome, but different enough in technique to be considered their own thing. 48 / oc tober 2 0 1 9


The Taco A must for shorter, un-cube-able cuts, such as chicken thighs. Simply slice your chicken as uniformly as you can, then fold it in half and thread. Visually similar to The Ribbon, but with more flexibility for smaller, uneven cuts.

The Ribbon

You’ve procured your proteins and vegetables; now it’s about getting them on the stick. Some choices (I’m looking at you, shrimp) are no-brainers, but others can be perplexing. It’s natural to want everything in neat little squares, but that sort of symmetry isn’t always attainable. Focus on what works best for your kebab fixings instead of aesthetics. Spoiler alert: It’s all going to look stunning once it hits your




If you have long lengths of a protein, or one that’s tenderer when sliced against the grain, go with the flow. Cut into thick strips and weave it back and forth across your skewer, making a zigzag pattern and giving the meat some airflow as it cooks. A good choice for beef cuts, lamb or pork shoulder.

The Variety Pack Not skewering vegetables to pair with kebabs is a shameful waste of charcoal. When you skewer vegetables, variety is great, provided you understand grill times for each one you choose. Sort vegetables accordingly and strategize grill time and space so that everything finishes at the same time.


The Cube A classic, and great for proteins that have the thickness and stability to allow for even shaping. It’s a great choice for pork chops and meaty fish, and an alternative to The Ribbon for beef cuts.

plate, so go with your gut.

Flavor Bombs:

A Choose-Your-Own Adventure Guide

Marinades & Rubs

for kebabs


Marinating is your chance to pack flavor into your kebabs, but it’s

Your kebabs may be loaded with flavor, but no one ever says

also about tenderizing and preparing the meat to be as succulent

no thanks to a dipping sauce. Making your own is a breeze:

as possible. For things such as fish or vegetables that may not

Pick your base, add the essentials and then let it rip with

need to marinate, choose a spice rub to apply just before grilling.

herbs, spices and acid.


yogurt | labneh

spice rubs


yogurt | labneh


garlic onion acid

garlic onion lemon

skip ahead to spices

water lemon garlic salt & pepper

lemon or lime garlic salt & pepper

oil garlic salt & pepper

cucumber fresh herbs


(lemon, lime, vinegar)

maple syrup turmeric fresh herbs

cilantro, parsley, mint, saffron, spices, lemon

chimichurri parsley, oregano, red

fresh or dried herbs and chiles

toasted spices

parsley; cilantro;

fennel; caraway; cumin;

basil; oregano; thyme;

coriander; allspice;

dill; rosemary; sumac;

mustard seed

sweet, hot or smoked paprika; chile flakes; Aleppo pepper

shortcut: middle eastern spice blends adiveh; bahārāt; za’atar

lHot tip l

You can even blend the bases together for extra street cred. Tahini with yogurt? Yes. Herbs and tahini? Yes. Yogurt plus herbs? Absolutely. Just do what feels right to you.

pepper flakes, vinegar

salsa verde marjoram, parsley, capers, fresno chile, lemon

z’hug cilantro, parsley, jalapeños,

expert tip When discussing shish kebabs – meat on a skewer charbroiled over a grill – there’s an essential pre-marinade technique to naturally tenderize and prepare the meat for the heat of the grill. A yogurt mixture with raw onion and garlic (and added lemon for poultry) works to mix with your cubed meat to tenderize and flavor the kebabs. Too often the mistake of home grilling is missing this step and putting the prepared meat on the grill with intentions of brushing on a basting marinade. Although the basting marinade adds flavor to the meat, it often toughens it, and depending on the meat, can create a gamey flavor. Choose or create your basting marinade as thoughtfully as you choose your meat quality, and don’t forget to pre-marinade! –Hamishe Bahrami, chef-owner, Cafe Natasha in St. Louis

spices, lemon, Thai chile

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You don’t need a litany of ingredients to make show-stopping kebabs; just a few key items will yield some amazing results. Feeling adventurous? Pick a few herbs and spices from the lists above to make this your own, and then finish off your kebabs with a yogurt- or herb-based sauce.

Bring in the Base: Perfect Pilaf If you’re going to master kebabs, you’d better know your way around a pilaf as well – and we don’t mean one of the sad, “just add water” versions you find in the supermarket. Real pilaf involves vegetables, herbs, nuts and dried fruit in any number of combinations to suit your mood (and your meat of choice, of course).

New to pilaf? Be sure to always: bRinse. Water removes debris and excess starch from rice that can gum up the works. bSweat. Sautéing softens vegetables and infuses flavor into the mix. bToast. Coating grains in oil keeps them from getting sticky and imparts a nutty flavor. bFluff. Fluffing breaks up the pilaf and allows the final five-minute steam to do its thing. bFold. Fresh herbs, chopped nuts and dried fruit are excellent finishing touches to any pilaf, and your last chance to bump up flavor and add texture. It’s best to learn by doing: Follow this recipe and you’re well

expert tip

on your way to masterful pilaf for any occasion. Once you get comfortable, customize your flavors: Keep the onion and stock, but switch herbs, nuts and other aromatics as you wish, so long as the final quantities are the same.

Go-With-Everything Pilaf Serves 4 to 6 2 1 ½ ½ 1 2 ¹⁄₃ ½ 3 3

Tbsp olive oil garlic clove, minced cup (1 medium) finely diced carrot cup diced white onion cup basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed in cold water cups chicken or vegetable stock salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste cup pistachios, roughly chopped cup currants, plumped in boiling water Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

/ preparation / In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil. Stir in garlic, carrot and onion and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice, stirring to coat, and cook until golden and fragrant, 3 minutes. Add stock and increase temperature to high; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to keep rice from sticking to pan. Once at full boil, reduce heat to low so stock is simmering and cover; cook for 12 to 15 minutes until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat, remove lid, fluff rice with a fork and cover tightly again to steam, 5 minutes. Remove lid, season with salt and pepper to taste and fold in pistachios, currants, mint and parsley. Serve hot.

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Perfect Kebabs serves 6 to 8

1 3 4 1 ¼ 2 1 3 ¼

cup Greek yogurt medium lemons, juiced, zest peeled off in large strips garlic cloves, smashed medium white onion, roughly chopped cup olive oil tsp kosher salt, plus more for cooking tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for cooking lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into 3-inch strips cup vegetable oil

/ preparation / In a large bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, lemon juice and zest, garlic, onion, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add chicken and mix until pieces are coated; cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Prepare an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and oil grates; remove chicken from refrigerator to take off chill. Thread chicken onto skewers, shaking off excess marinade; season with salt and pepper on all sides. Brush skewers with vegetable oil and grill on all sides until internal temperature reaches 165°F, 22 to 25 minutes. Divide onto plates and serve over pilaf.

There’s an abundance of styles of kebabs, not only in various Middle Eastern countries, but throughout the Balkans and post-Soviet regions as well. Even the concept of what a kebab is – from chunks to ground meat – and cooking differences – from a fry pan to the grill – can vary and be a topic of discussion. But no matter which style comes to mind, the kebab is an intrinsic part of our culture and hospitality, especially in the home, where preparing kebabs for esteemed houseguests has always been an elevated reception and shows them care and respect. –Hamishe Bahrami, chef-owner, Cafe Natasha in St. Louis

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By Aubrey byron Sysco has been providing quality ingredients, foodservice equipment and artisan goods to restaurants for years. But the biggest benefit is Sysco’s ability to enable mom and pop shops across the country to realize their restaurant’s potential through specialty consultations and resources. Many independently owned restaurants operate with small, hard-working staffs who put in long hours to pursue their culinary dreams. Menu design, managing ingredient costs, kitchen efficiency and sourcing fall to the wayside without the manpower or resources to manage them. Many owners may not realize the scope of resources available to them. When independent restaurants tap into Sysco’s ordering, they become privy to a full suite of exclusive business resources. At no extra cost, they suddenly have access to chefs on staff to offer menu consultations, graphic designers to assist with marketing tools and recipe support. These support tools are part of what Sysco calls their commitment to a customercentric business models.

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Locally-deployed chefs can assist restaurants in testing new menu items, ingredient pricing, plating, portion control and recipe ideas. They may also have access to staff trainings designed to increase kitchen and bottom line efficiencies. Beyond the corner bar and grill, specialty programs offer consultations for ethnic food restaurants with trained chefs who have expertise in those cuisines. The combination of extensive products, services and expertise make Sysco a resource to small restauranteurs looking to grow their business and offer the highest quality ingredients to their customers.

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Thoroughly modern mezze

welcome to the club

one thousand and one sweets

Nine small-plate recipes for sharing a large mezze feast with family and friends

Through supper clubs and catering, Syrian refugee Mawda Altayan has found community and economic stability for herself and her family in St. Louis

Nazareth Sweets brings authentic Middle Eastern pastries and treats to the Kansas City area

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56 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

story and recipes by

amanda elliott

9 small-plate recipes for sharing a large mezze feast with friends and family

photography by

kim wade

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BHere, the traditional spicy pepper dip from

Aleppo, Syria, gets a twist. This muhammara recipe retains the spice of the original while adding an earthy depth of flavor and sweetness from the roasted carrots. You can find Calabrian chiles and chile oil at most specialty grocery stores.

Locally made date syrup is available from The Date Lady in Springfield, Missouri.

Carrot Muhammara Serves 4 to 6 1½ 1 1 1 ²⁄₃ 1 1 2 1

lbs carrots, peeled Tbsp olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste tsp finely diced Calabrian chiles tsp Calabrian chile oil cup roughly chopped walnuts tsp date syrup garlic clove, minced Tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint Tbsp caraway seeds (for garnish)

/ preparation / Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil. In a large mixing bowl, toss carrots with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Evenly distribute carrots on prepared sheet tray and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. In the bowl of a food processor, add roasted carrots and all remaining ingredients. Pulse until coarse, thick and fully incorporated. Transfer dip to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with caraway seeds and serve with warm pita bread.

I first fell in love with mezze on a holiday in Beirut. I was entranced by the long, leisurely social dinners featuring a menagerie of small plates in varying colors, textures and flavors. Mirroring the terrain and culture of the country, mezze was a soulful experience. The meals felt perfectly orchestrated, coming in waves with bright, vibrant cold salads and dips, transitioning into warm earthy tones of heartier legumes and sometimes meats, all priming you for the main course. I have found this style of dining to be perfect for both the guest and the host, and it’s one I relish creating at home today. Hosts are able to naturally weave themselves into the evening while never feeling handcuffed to the kitchen, while guests always have something new and enticing to try. It’s also the ideal way to showcase whatever looks and tastes best at the market that month. This fall, I’m expanding mezze beyond my home kitchen and into a new restaurant, Beet Box, in Columbia, Missouri. Working alongside co-owner and chef Ben Turn to p. 19 to learn Hamrah, I’m excited to share mezze brunches on Sunday mornings. During the m or e about week, we’ll compile all of our favorite market items and recipe ideas and make Beet Box. them key players in our prix-fixe Sunday brunch menu. 58 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Toum Serves 4 to 6

This can be a little tricky to make at first, but once you’ve mastered your technique, it will become your go-to dip and spread for vegetables, breads and even grilled meats. The trick to mastering the recipe is getting the absolute right consistency with the garlic – you’re looking for a paste and slow drizzle of the olive oil.

1¼ 1 2 2½ ½

cups garlic cloves tsp salt Tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided cups olive oil, divided cup ice water

/ preparation / In the bowl of a blender, add garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; blend until a paste forms, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula. Once you have a nice even paste, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons olive oil and remaining lemon juice. Continue slowly drizzling in olive oil, alternating with ice water, with blender running, until you have a very thick, whipped egg-white consistency. Once dip is thick and all of the olive oil is incorporated, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve with warm pita bread, veggies or grilled meat.

Cucumber-Barberry Salad Serves 4 to 6 1 2 ½ 1 1 1

You can find lb cucumber, cubed barberries at many Tbsp barberries international red onion, julienned markets or online. cup torn fresh mint cup torn fresh cilantro tsp pomegranate molasses salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

/ preparation / In a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

This dish is meant to highlight the flavor of cucumbers with a subtle pop from the pomegranate molasses, which is more tart than sweet. Added complexity comes from the brightness of the herbs and the sourness of the barberries.





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Anchovy Fattoush Salad

Taramosalata is a Greek mezze dish made with salted and cured cod roe. This recipe takes the dish in a different direction by quick-curing salmon and folding it into mast-o khiar, a Persian cucumber-herb yogurt dip.

Cured Salmon with Mast-o Khiar

Serves 4 to 6

Serves 4 to 6

Pita Crisps 1 piece pita bread 1 tsp za’atar 1 tsp olive oil

Labneh can be found Salmon at your favorite 1 4-oz salmon fillet (skin on) local international ½ tsp granulated sugar market or made from 1 tsp salt scratch at home with ½ tsp dried dill ½ lemon, sliced the recipe featured on p. 44. Mast-o Khiar 1 1 2 4 1

cup labneh small cucumber, finely grated garlic cloves, finely grated salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste oz cured salmon, skin removed and cubed (recipe below) oz salmon roe (for garnish)

/ preparation – salmon / In a large bowl, add all ingredients except lemon slices and toss to combine. Lay salmon flat and cover with lemon slices. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a pan with a plate and weight on top. Let cure in refrigerator for 24 hours. / preparation – mast-o khiar / In a mixing bowl, add labneh, cucumber and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in salmon; garnish with salmon roe if desired. Either serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

60 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Fattoush is a delicious salad that gets a lot of flavor from sumac, a crimson-colored spice that’s prominent in Middle Eastern cooking. I’ve given this fattoush a creamier Caesar-style dressing that I just love with the brightness of mint and the spiciness of jalapeño.

Fattoush Salad 1 tsp anchovy paste 1 egg yolk juice of ½ a lemon ¼ cup olive oil 1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes 1½ cups finely diced cucumber ½ cup finely diced red bell pepper 1 tsp finely diced jalapeño 1 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint 1 tsp sumac 1 tsp roughly chopped garlic ½ tsp dried dill pita crisps (recipe below) salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

/ preparation – pita crisps / Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub pita with za’atar and olive oil. Place on a sheet pan and bake until toasted, with a cracker consistency, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool. Once cool, crack pita into small bite-sized pieces. / preparation – fattoush salad / In a large mixing bowl, whisk together anchovy paste, egg yolk and lemon juice, then slowly drizzle in olive oil until you have a thick consistency. Add all remaining ingredients except pita crisps and toss to combine. Sprinkle pita crisps over top and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

If you’d rather let someone else prepare your mezze feast, there are plenty of Middle Eastern restaurants that would be happy to oblige.

Written by Liz Miller with additional reporting by Jenny Vergara

○ In Hazelwood, Missouri, Kaslik Mediterranean Cuisine serves a whopping 21 cold and hot mezze dishes. Cold staples include the tabbouleh, tahini salad and hummus, plus must-try specialties such as msabaha, whole chickpeas doused in a tahini sauce with garlic and lemon, and makdous, baby eggplant with spicy walnuts, garlic and olive oil. On the hot side, we love the grilled halloumi cheese and pita stuffed with spicy ground beef. ○ At Ranoush in the Delmar Loop, chef-owner Aboud Alhamid serves more than 10 robust hot and cold mezze menu items inspired by family recipes from his native Syria. Don’t miss the traditional cold muhammara dip, made with a mix of nuts crushed into a spicy pepper sauce and served with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pita bread from Cham Bakery, or the warm grilled halloumi cheese tucked inside soft pita. ○ Persian kebabs are the specialty at KC Grill ‘N Kabob in Lenexa, Kansas, but if you’re settling in for a leisurely shared meal, don’t overlook the mast-o khiar, a dish of shredded cucumbers mixed with yogurt and herbs, or the tahdig, crunchy golden rice paired with gheymeh or sabzi, two distinct Iranian stews. ○ At Kinzi in Mission, Kansas, chef-owner Mike Alhmood offers both a sit-down restaurant menu and a full bakery selection, including housemade baklava. Must-try mezze at Kinzi (named for Alhmood’s daughter) includes Feta cheese dip with olives, olive oil and za’atar served with pita bread and kibbeh, onion, pine nuts and spices. ○ Vasken’s Deli in Branson, Missouri, serves both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern favorites, including small plates such as baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, red pepper hummus with toasted pita bread and stuffed grape leaves.

Visit for a more comprehensive list of regional restaurants making mezze magic. / o c to be r 2 019


Basic Feta gets a boost with this marinade. I prefer the creaminess of French sheep’s milk Feta to most Greek varieties, but really, any salty, delicious Feta will work well.

Marinated Feta Serves 4 to 6 8 3 1 1 1½

oz sheep’s milk Feta, broken into large pieces rind of 1 grapefruit cardamom pods tsp freshly ground black pepper bay leaf cups olive oil

/ preparation / Place large Feta pieces and grapefruit rind in a Mason jar with a lid. In a small bowl, combine all remaining ingredients and pour over Feta. Marinate in the refrigerator for 12 hours to infuse the flavors; serve within 2 weeks with warm pita bread.

bSweet potato börek is a welcoming and warm component

to any mezze spread, especially as you start to make your transition from cold to hot dishes. Syrian cheese has the salty element of halloumi but is slightly softer and melts beautifully, making it a lovely ingredient in a warm baked pastry. I particularly like börek mixed and matched with toum (recipe on p. 58), a Lebanese garlic sauce, and the squash baba ghanoush.

Sweet Potato Börek Baba ghanoush is probably my all-time favorite dip – it’s a solid solo nosh with pita bread and elevates the other textures and flavors in a mezze spread. This lighter version made with zucchini is especially delicious.

Squash Baba Ghanoush Serves 4 to 6 1 1 1 1 1 ¼ ½

medium eggplant (1½ lbs) medium zucchini (1½ lbs) tsp minced garlic Tbsp tahini Tbsp labneh tsp grated jalapeño tsp granulated sugar salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

/ preparation / Preheat oven to 375°F. Over a gas flame, char the outside of the eggplant and zucchini. Place on lined sheet pan and roast in oven for 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Once cooled, lightly peel the outside of both the eggplant and the zucchini (don't worry if some pieces of charred skin remain) and combine in a bowl; smash with a spoon. Combine with remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm pita bread.

62 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Similar to five-spice powder, seven-spice mixture is sold in international grocery stores, but it’s easy to make at home, too. The mixture blends black pepper, cumin, coriander, paprika, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon for a warm, complex seasoning.

I use Karoun Syrian cheese. If you can't find that or another brand at your local specialty or international market, halloumi works here, too.

Serves 6 to 8 1 lb sweet potatoes, washed 7 oz Syrian cheese, cut into small cubes 1 Tbsp finely chopped mint 1 Tbsp finely chopped dill ½ tsp seven-spice mixture salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed and cut into 3-by-3-inch squares 1 egg, whisked 1 Tbsp caraway seeds nonstick cooking oil spray / preparation / Preheat oven to 375°F. Place whole sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast for 45 to 50 minutes or until soft in the center. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Lightly peel sweet potatoes (don't worry if some pieces of skin remain) and cut into cubes. Leave oven at temperature. In a large mixing bowl, add cubed sweet potato, cheese, mint, dill and sevenspice mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture into the center of each square of puff pastry. Brush edges of puff pastry with egg; fold squares over to make a triangle and seal edges. Brush tops of pastries with egg and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking oil spray and transfer triangles to tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm.

Lemon-Cured Scallops Serves 4 to 6 1 1 Âź 1

lb large dry-packed scallops, cleaned and quartered zest and juice of 1 lime zest and juice of 1 lemon tsp sumac tsp grated dried black lime Tbsp olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

/ preparation / In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

BThis citrus-cured raw scallop dish is bright and

tart – the natural sweetness of the scallop really pops against the bitterness of the black lime. Black lime is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking, adding a sour and smoky flavor that comes from the lime being dried mostly in the sun. Look for black limes at your local international market.

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66 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

written by Sara Bannoura

photography by judd demaline

Through supper clubs and catering, Syrian refugee Mawda Altayan has found community and economic stability for herself and her family in St. Louis


n the dark, intimate, black and gold dining room at The W Karaoke Lounge in University City, Missouri, I saw my entire childhood in Palestine spread out across a table. These days, only a handful of things connect me with my youth: Arabic, my first language; the random artifacts around my Maplewood home; and Middle Eastern food, specifically dishes from the Levant. That evening, I could smell the charred eggplant in the baba ghanoush and the nutty, smoky freekeh topped with juicy braised lamb. I could see dishes decorated with fresh herbs and toasted nuts, taking me back to big family gatherings over the holidays. I could taste memories. For the first time in six years, I felt connected to my culture in St. Louis – and I owed it all to Mawda Altayan, who catered the night’s meal. The chef behind the dinner series is one with a lengthy journey: It starts with a story of a refugee and ends with a movement to empower and build bridges in a new community.

/ o c to be r 2 019



couple weeks before the dinner, Altayan invited me into her home to learn more about her work. As she sipped strong, aromatic Arabic coffee, she told me she didn’t always know she wanted to be a cook; she didn’t grow up with a path already paved for her. The Syrian refugee witnessed war and destruction and was displaced for years. Her journey led her to St. Louis, where the 23-year-old has confidently and, in her mind, accidentally, become a chef making signature meals of the Middle East through her own catering business, Damascus Food. Her cooking is based on beloved family recipes of her youth, including hummus, baba ghanoush, chicken shawarma, tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves, chicken mandi and freekeh with lamb. Altayan says she knew nothing about cooking when she got married at the age of 16. To impress the love of her life, she would take a notebook with her whenever she went to her parents’ house or the home of her in-laws. She would jot down as many notes as she could and then make that same meal the next day for her husband, Mohi Aldeen Alhamowi. He would rate her cooking and Altayan would go back and take more notes. “My husband was my test subject,” she says. “Little did I know I would eventually be cooking for a living.” After multiple failures and daily repetitions, Altayan got to a point where she didn’t need to measure ingredients anymore, and her husband, who at the time was running a restaurant in Damascus, was satisfied. In 2013, the ongoing civil war in Syria reached her Damascus neighborhood, demolishing her house and her husband’s restaurant. Her family was displaced for three years until they were granted asylum in the United States in 2016, at which point the family of five joined the 6.7 million Syrians worldwide who are now refugees, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The young family moved to St. Louis looking for a different, better life, but language and cultural differences were a barrier. Altayan says her family was scared and their first year in the United States was lost: They were placed in a small apartment where they were advised not to step outside unless absolutely necessary due to the high level of crime in the neighborhood. They didn’t know where to go to buy groceries or how to go about getting a job. Eventually, Mohi found work as a dishwasher. In 2017, Altayan heard about Jessica Bueler, the founder of Welcome Neighbor STL, a volunteerbased group supporting immigrants and refugees in the St. Louis area. Altayan invited Bueler over for a cup of coffee. Altayan had goals – she wanted to learn English, learn how to drive, everything needed to thrive in her new country. “I remember one thing Mawda said to me when we first met,” Bueler says. “She said, ‘I’m really ambitious and I want to learn.’ Given the opportunity, she was ready to hit the ground running.” Wanting to do more in life and support her family, Altayan asked Bueler for ideas. What stood out the most to Bueler was Altayan’s level of commitment to learning English, her dedication to integrating into the community and, of course, her food. Bueler decided to host an event in her backyard catered by Altayan to see how the meals would be received. Amy Cohen and Tom Edelstein first heard about the event through social media and decided to go. They showed up as strangers in a group of 15 and left as friends. Cohen recalls how the dinner brought together a unique cross section of people to dine on dishes such as kibbeh, hummus and baba ghanoush with fresh pita bread and tabbouleh salad. “I thought, what a great way to welcome an immigrant family, and I’m always about trying food from other places; I thought this would be perfect,” Cohen says. “For me, Welcome Neighbor STL is a group I want to be more involved with because of this coming together of people to welcome each other and support each other, no judgment, no drama, just all goodwill. And of course, Mawda’s food is amazing.”

68 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Edelstein nods, adding, “It was a beautiful evening. We didn’t quite know what to expect, but everyone there were wonderful, sweet, good-hearted people. And the smell coming from the kitchen, from the food, was amazing. We had such a lovely time that evening, sharing together, enjoying the food and seeing Mawda just sparkling.” “They were so happy,” Altayan remembers. “I felt like I accomplished something meaningful. I knew then that I could show a different side of myself through my cooking. I could enter guests’ hearts, and they entered mine [that night] when I saw how much they liked and appreciated my food. It meant the world to me.” As small as it was, the event opened Bueler’s and Altayan’s eyes to new opportunities. Altayan wasn’t just another refugee from a war-torn country speaking a foreign language anymore. She felt seen and heard. The dinner was also one of the first catering events that helped launch Welcome Neighbor STL’s Supper Club. The club is open to the public and invites locals to try meals cooked by refugees and immigrants, with all proceeds benefiting the cooks – most of whom are women with no other source of income. Today, the club boasts 30 chefs from six countries.

“They were so happy, I felt like I accomplished something meaningful. I knew then that I could show a different side of myself through my cooking. I could enter guests’ hearts, and they entered mine [that night] when I saw how much they liked and appreciated my food. It meant the world to me.”

Baba Ghanoush

This dip is so creamy you won’t believe it’s vegan. There’s a slight sweetness to it balanced with savory and tangy flavors.

Serves 6 to 8 3 2 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½

medium eggplant tomatoes, finely chopped green bell pepper, minced bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped (plus more for garnish) white onion, minced cup tahini cup pomegranate molasses pomegranate seeds (for garnish) chopped walnuts (for garnish) pita bread (to serve)

/ preparation / Preheat oven to broil and position a rack at the top setting. Arrange whole eggplant on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice until eggplant are soft and golden brown. Set aside until cool. Slice off tops and discard; peel off skin and finely dice. In a large mixing bowl, add chopped eggplant and all remaining ingredients except garnishes and pita and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Garnish with pomegranate seeds or chopped walnuts and fresh parsley. Serve with warm pita bread. / o c to be r 2 019



bout a year before Altayan met Bueler, the idea for Welcome Neighbor STL was just beginning to take shape. Bueler founded the organization in 2016 after reading an article about four Syrian teenagers who were attacked in north St. Louis. Today, the group has more than 1,500 volunteers and ,so far, it has hosted 77 interfaith events, served 3,921 meals and raised $115,733 for refugee families. The Supper Club helps support refugees economically, of course, and helps build a bridge between strangers in their new community, as well. “Imagine walking into a room and trying to start a conversation with somebody different than you,” Bueler says. “Where do you start? How do you begin to find common ground? How do you make that connection? Food is the catalyst that brings people together. When you sit down around a table together, you’re bound to start talking to one another and you naturally find similarities. But you may never have had that conversation if you hadn't been there to try the food.”

Stuffed Grape Leaves Serves 12

Altayan agrees: Her cooking, which used to be solely for her family, is now providing her household with income and fostering communication with St. Louisans. “The easiest and fastest way to get to their hearts is through good food with great presentation,” Altayan says. “Some people don’t know anything about Syria – our culture or religion. But at these events, people had questions and were curious about my story; I found out what America is by speaking with them and my guests learned about Syria through my food.” The vast emptiness Altayan felt when she moved to St. Louis was slowly filling up. The passionate young cook knew the world was big enough to include her small kitchen, and so she decided to start her own catering business. Whether it be for a supper club dinner or a catering event, for Altayan, making authentic Middle Eastern food requires three things: fresh ingredients, thoughtful presentation and simplicity. Altayan is very particular about the ingredients she uses. She looks for ingredients that are close to what she used in Syria. “I remember seeing all kinds of spices I’d never heard of at the grocery store when I first moved here – I still stay away from all of it,” Altayan says, noting that her most used spices include sumac, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. “I keep my meals simple by using what my ancestors used, and it makes all the difference.” Her favorite local grocery stores are Global Foods Market in Kirkwood, Missouri, and Jay International Food Co. on South Grand Boulevard. Her dishes are always finished with nuts or fresh herbs. She told me her father wouldn’t eat if the dish her mother made wasn’t finished in this way because “the eye eats before the stomach.” A drizzle of olive oil and fresh parsley or cilantro do the trick.

70 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

5 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 2

Grapevine leaves are used in many cuisines across a plethora of cultures. This vegan-friendly version stuffs grape leaves with rice and vegetables and makes for a tangy appetizer or main course.

tomatoes, finely chopped bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped green bell pepper, finely chopped bunch scallions, finely chopped cups jasmine rice, rinsed Tbsp dried mint tsp salt, divided 10-oz bottle pomegranate molasses, divided cup olive oil, divided 16-oz jar grape leaves, rinsed and patted dry large russet potatoes, sliced into ½-inch circles fresh lemon slices (to serve)

/ preparation / In a mixing bowl, add chopped tomatoes, parsley, bell pepper and scallions. Add rice, dried mint, 1 teaspoon salt, half of pomegranate molasses and ½ cup olive oil. Spread grape leaves soft-side down on a clean work surface. On the lower third of each leaf, add 1 tablespoon of rice-vegetable filling. Roll leaves by folding the bottom over the filling, tucking the sides as you roll. Line the bottom and sides of a 4-quart pot with potato slices and place rolled grape leaves on top in layers. Pour remaining pomegranate molasses and olive oil over rolled grape leaves and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt on top. Place a small plate over grape leaves and add water to cover plate by 2 inches. Place pot on the stove over high heat and cook until a steady simmer; reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, for 1 hour. Remove lid. Using an oven mitt, carefully remove plate with water and pour water in the sink; set plate aside. Place a food pan over the pot. While holding the pot and pan together, flip over so the pan is on the bottom. Let the pot cool for 5 minutes and then lift straight up, leaving potatoes and grape leaves in the pan. Discard potatoes. Serve grape leaves with fresh lemon slices.

“I learned to do this with my hands from my mother and grandmother. That’s what makes us special – we make everything by hand. ... I could use the machine, but it wouldn’t be the same.” - Mawda Altayan


These days, preparing for catering events is a team effort. Altayan’s husband does most of the shopping, and then they cook together. To make kibbeh, for instance, he grinds halal beef and adds minced onion and walnuts, and then she uses that filling to stuff a cracked bulgur wheat shell. She rolls each piece of kibbeh in her palms to form a perfect football shape – Altayan has a machine to roll the kibbeh, but she refuses to use it because the pieces are too thick. “I learned to do this with my hands from my mother and grandmother,” Altayan says with pride. “That’s what makes us special – we make everything by hand. Restaurants don’t do this; everything is modified and nothing is carefully crafted. I could use the machine, but it wouldn’t be the same. I’d rather spend three hours doing it by hand and have it look and taste authentic.” Another time-consuming dish is her stuffed grape leaves. Altayan says that most Middle Eastern restaurants buy premade stuffed grape leaves to save time. The way she makes them, though, connects her with her past: sitting with her mother, rolling one grape leaf at a time. “Catering makes me happy because it gives me a little taste of what it’s like in Syria,” she says. “These events fill that part I miss because I have no [extended] family here. When I see people around the table, happy and enjoying their meal, it makes me feel like I’m with my second family.” Altayan’s first catering event with Bueler was for 15 people. Between Welcome Neighbor STL and Damascus Food, she now caters events of up to 200 people. As longtime fans of Altayan’s cooking, Cohen and Edelstein attended her recent dinner at The W Karaoke Lounge – the very same meal that evoked so many childhood memories for me. Before we sat down to dinner, they took the time to step outside and talk to me. “I think that’s why people keep coming to these events: because it’s an experience for all of your senses,” Cohen says. “Basically [it] comes down to nurturing your body and soul.” “For me,” Edelstein says, “there’s also an aspect of what it means to love your neighbor. This is what we’re called to do.” “That’s beautifully said,” Cohen interrupts. “And it’s beautifully experienced,” Edelstein adds. “It’s just a wonderful, loving thing to be a part of.” Bueler steps out and tells us dinner is about to be served. Tonight, a mix of new and familiar faces will get to have that beautiful experience thanks to Altayan. She admits she’s juggling too much at the moment, but the tired young cook is not defeated. She’s determined and in control. She’s running the marathon while paving the track. Edelstein looks at me and smiles. It’s finally time to head inside and start eating. Damascus Food, St. Louis, Missouri, damascusfoodstl Welcome Neighbor STL,

72 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

Tabbouleh Serves 8 to 10 ½ 10 5 ½ 1 1 1 ¾ 4

cup bulgur bunches fresh parsley, finely chopped tomatoes, finely chopped cucumber, finely chopped white onion, finely chopped tsp salt Tbsp dried mint juice of 2 lemons cup olive oil large romaine lettuce leaves (optional) fresh lemon slices (for garnish)

/ preparation / Cook or soak bulgur until tender according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl, combine parsley, tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Add bulgur and all remaining ingredients except lettuce leaves and lemon slices and toss to combine.

Lemon juice and hints of mint make this light, finely chopped salad refreshing and packed with flavor.

Place lettuce leaves in a serving bowl and add tabbouleh over top. Garnish with fresh lemon slices. Serve.

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one thousand and one sweets Nazareth Sweets brings authentic Middle Eastern pastries and treats to the Kansas City area written by natalie gallagher | photography by shanley cox

The aroma doesn’t hit you immediately when you walk into Nazareth

You can also catch Nazareth Sweets on the menu at a few Middle

Sweets. The Lenexa, Kansas, bakery is large and all the prep is done

Eastern restaurants throughout the Kansas City area: Fadi

deep in the back, far removed from the rows of glossy baklava and

distributes to Al Habashi Mart in City Market, Jerusalem Bakery

Turkish delight. But the longer you stand there, contemplating the

in Westport, Shahrazad Cafe & Market and The Basha Cuisine

various ways you might satisfy your sweet tooth, the more you can

in Overland Park, Aladdin Cafe in Lawrence and Holy Land Cafe,

discern specific scents: fragrant rosewater and honey, spicy cardamom

which neighbors Nazareth Sweets, in Lenexa. Fadi playfully refers

and cinnamon, zesty citrus, toasted nuts and buttery puff pastry.

to the strip mall where Nazareth Sweets and Holy Land Cafe (among other Middle Eastern businesses) are located as “Little

Usually, you’ll find either Fadi or Tahani Elnajami behind the counter –

Arabia.” He’s quick with a joke and a smile (and, yes, a Turkish

they’re the husband-and-wife team who purchased Nazareth Sweets

delight sample) – it’s part of what makes it so easy to stock up on

two years ago from the original owners, Nick and Samir Awad. Open

desserts at his bakery.

since 2014, the bakery specializes in Middle Eastern pastries and desserts, but since the Elnajamis took over in 2017, they’ve expanded

Fadi has been in sales a long time: A Palestinian refugee, he

the menu to include housemade ice cream and gelato, plus breakfast

emigrated from Lebanon to Palos Hills, Illinois, in 1981, where

and lunch items. They dish up elaborate Western-style cakes here, too –

he attended Moraine Valley Community College and spent

Fadi always has a tiramisu on hand. “It’s Mediterranean,” he says with a

the following three decades working in the food industry and

smile, which means it’s close enough.

wholesale distribution. In the 1990s, Fadi co-founded the first Nazareth Sweets in Chicago. He consulted with the Awads as they

However, it’s items such as baklava (flaky phyllo dough filled with a

built their own version of the bakery in Lenexa, as well, and kept in

variety of nuts and glazed with different syrups), kanafeh (a sweet-and-

touch with them over the years. When the Awads offered Fadi the

savory cheesecake), ma’amoul (date cookies), hareeseh (a sweet citrus

opportunity to take over their shop, it was, he says, a “no-brainer.”

cake), halawet al-jibn (creamy cheese rolls), barazik (sesame cookies) and Turkish delight (a jelly-like candy) that have earned Nazareth

“My wife and I were looking for a change of pace and a good place

Sweets its dedicated following. Fadi’s customers are wide-ranging,

to raise our kids,” says Fadi. “Kansas City is home now.”

including many immigrants or descendants of immigrants from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries, such as Palestine, Jordan, Egypt,

Thanks to Fadi, the Kansas City area is also home to some of the

Turkey, Lebanon and Greece, who are eager for a taste of home – and

most delicious and authentic Middle Eastern treats you’ll find.

Fadi’s super-rich Turkish coffee. His patrons are not exclusively local,

Dig into some of the shop’s most popular items here.

though: Visitors passing through town have fallen in love with the


desserts here, and Fadi has shipped his baklava all over the country,

12247 W. 87th St. Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas,

from Florida to Oregon. / oc tober 2 0 1 9

/ o c to be r 2 019


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There are two types of kanafeh: fine and coarse. The difference is in the flour. Coarse kanafeh (also called kunafa, konafa and knafeh) is made with vermicelli noodle-shaped shreds of phyllo dough, while smooth kanafeh is made with semolina flour (a yellowish flour made from durum wheat). The idea is basically the same, though: Cheese – traditionally Nabulsi cheese, a sheep’s milk cheese from Palestine, where kanafeh was born – is covered by a thin layer of crust. The crust is crisp and crunchy if it’s coarse kanafeh and sand-like if it’s fine kanafeh. It’s then baked, sprinkled with ground pistachios and drenched in a rosewater syrup just before it’s served. It’s difficult to get Nabulsi cheese in the Kansas City area, Fadi says, so he uses mozzarella, which is the closest substitute. He serves coarse kanafeh, and the crispy, noodle-like top of the dessert is colored with red food dye. This is one of those desserts you must try on your first visit to Nazareth Sweets; Fadi will heat up a thick slice and pour the syrup over the top just before serving it, so each bite is a sensation of hot, delicate, gooey cheese balanced by sweet syrup and a little bit of crunch. / o c to be r 2 019



halawet el-jibn

Barazik are thin sesame cookies that come from Syria, Fadi says,

Halawet el-jibn originated in Syria, and it’s a particular favorite of Fadi’s. It’s also labor-intensive – he only sells it on

although some historians credit Turkey. They’re remarkably simple

weekends, and it disappears quickly. No wonder: These sweet, pillowy cheese rolls melt in your mouth. The dough is

butter cookies made with wheat flour, sliced into thin rounds and

made from a combination of fine semolina flour and cheese (traditionally, the recipe uses akkawi, a Middle Eastern

coated with honey – which makes it easy for an outer coating of

cow’s milk cheese, but Fadi substitutes mozzarella), which is sweetened with rosewater and honey. The raw dough

sesame seeds and crushed pistachios to stay put. Some versions

is rolled out and filled with a housemade cream called eshta (also called ashta, it is a clotted cream made with

of barazik feature sesame seeds on one side and pistachios on the

rosewater and orange blossom water). After the dough is rolled back up, it’s cut into delicate pieces and refrigerated

opposite side; at Nazareth Sweets, sesame seeds are mixed with

until it’s ready to serve. At Nazareth Sweets, it gets a finishing touch of crushed pistachios on top. There’s no baking

crushed pistachio to coat the barazik entirely. They snap in half with a

with this dessert, and because of the cream, there’s not a long shelf life, either. That’s fine with Fadi, though: “I can’t

pleasant crunch, and it’s easy to devour a dozen in one sitting.

make enough of it,” he says with a laugh.

78 / oc tober 2 0 1 9



Hareeseh (also called basbousa or nammoura) is a sweet cake made with semolina flour and sweetened with orange

Ma'amoul is popular year-round, but it flies off the shelves at

syrup. It’s a popular dessert throughout the Middle East, Fadi says, and easy enough to find in the region’s big cities,

Nazareth Sweets during Easter and Eid (the Muslim holiday marking

where street vendors push carts laden with the sticky treat. Depending on the chef, there can be many variations

the end of Ramadan). The recipe for this simple cookie dates back to

on the recipe, incorporating elements such as coconut and yogurt to sweeten or moisten it further. Fadi keeps it

ancient Egypt, but the preparation, Fadi says, hasn’t changed much.

traditional and straightforward; he makes the spongey cake with semolina flour, sugar and milk, soaks it in sweet

“You can think of it as the original Fig Newtons,” he says. The cookie

rosewater and tops it with chopped pistachios. If you’ve had St. Louis-style gooey butter cake before, this reads like a

dough is traditionally made with semolina flour (although at Nazareth

Middle Eastern answer to that.

Sweets it’s a blend of semolina and wheat flour) and stuffed with rosewater-soaked dates that have been ground into a paste. Fadi uses a traditional wooden mold to create the distinctive ridges and delicate pattern on these round cookies, which are finished with a dusting of powdered sugar. / o c to be r 2 019




If the only thing you know about Middle Eastern pastry is the omnipresent baklava, you’re off

At Nazareth Sweets, there are upwards of a dozen different shapes and sizes of

to a good start. There are countless variations of this traditional dessert, but whatever form

baklava: Triangles with layers of chopped walnuts, rolls with pistachios, thick squares

baklava takes – it can be shaped like a bird's nest or rolled into mini cigars – it’s always comprised

full of cashews. They’re deceptively simple and amazingly satisfying. “The secret is the

of around 10 layers of paper-thin phyllo (also called filo, it is unleavened dough made from wheat

nuts,” Fadi says with his signature smile. “The pistachio ones are the best because we

flour and rolled into sheets) and finely chopped nuts mixed with spices (usually cardamom and

use imported pistachios from Iran, which are the best pistachios in the world.” This isn’t

cinnamon) and covered with a honey syrup. This basic composition doesn’t change, and if it does,

an exaggeration: Pistachios originated in Iran, and they’re bigger, bolder and sweeter

you can’t call it baklava. “All baklava is the same, no matter how different it looks,” says Fadi.

than those grown in other parts of the world. / oc tober 2 0 1 9


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Back Burner the

this month, we asked industry pros:

What’s your favorite mezze dish, and where do you love ordering it?

Sean Turner

executive chef

Louie Clayton, Missouri

“The baba ghanoush at Sultan [Mediterranean Restaurant] is incredible: It’s smoky, tangy and perfectly balanced. The eggplant is cooked wonderfully. And the accompanying pita is my favorite in town. [At] Taste of Lebanon, [the] eponymous dish is a true mezze platter, offering just enough of everything, from hummus, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh to both beef and chicken shawarma.

PHOTO BY mabel suen

It’s a delicious plate to share with a friend.”

Rachel Rinas chef-owner

Eleanor Taylor chef-owner

Ben Poremba chef-owner

Nick Goellner chef-co-owner

Colleen Sundlie owner


Prairie Pie

Bengelina Hospitality Group

The Antler Room

The Date Lady

Kansas City

Springfield, Missouri

st. Louis

Kansas City

Springfield, Missouri

“The falafel at Habashi House in

“My favorite mezze dish is the

“I love going to Sameem Afghan

“My favorite mezze is baba

“My favorite memories of

City Market is the best I’ve ever

falafel pita from Greek Belly [in

Restaurant & Catering. The

ghanoush, and my favorite place

mezze in the United Arab

had; I love that place so much.

Springfield, Missouri]. I order

eggplant appetizer is one of my

to get it in Kansas City is Aladdin

Emirates and Oman are sitting

Olive Café is excellent, too, and it

the spicy Feta dip as a side and

favorite dishes in town, period. It’s

Cafe on 39th Street. It’s bright,

on a carpet being served dates,

has a bakery and a halal market,

ask for my falafel to be dripping

not strictly mezze, but the simple

smoky and perfectly textured.

Arabic coffee and fattoush – the

so you can pick up ingredients

in tzatziki. I love the cool Greek

cucumber-tomato salad at Balkan

With eggplant dishes, I usually

amazing chopped salad. There

to play with at home. And then

yogurt sauce covering the hot

Treat Box is so fresh I can eat a

love them or hate them – this one

was always incense in the air

there’s Queen Sweets & Bakery

and crisp falafel. It’s also a

bowl of it every day! And at my

I love.”

and wandering eyes behind

in North Kansas City, Missouri,

meatless dish that’s very filling!”

own restaurants, I love the split

abayas trying to discern whether

where the hummus is really

pea falafel at The Benevolent King,

you liked the flavors being

good and the baba ghanoush has

while the hummus, baba ghanoush

presented. Hospitality is a large

that subtle smokiness from the

and Israeli tomatoes are everyone’s

part of the mezze experience in

roasted eggplant.”

favorite at Olio – myself included.”

the Middle East.”

82 / oc tober 2 0 1 9

/ o c to be r 2 019


SEP/OCT 2019

EAT FOR WITH SIMPLY ON A BUDGET! In our special edition of Simply Schnucks magazine, you’ll find 27 recipes to feed your family for less with $1, $2 or $3 per serving meals. Check it out at

©2019 Schnucks 84 / oc tober 2 0 1 9


Profile for Feast Magazine

October 2019 Feast Magazine  

The October issue is focused on fare from across the Middle East, with three features unfolding the flavors and food culture of countries su...

October 2019 Feast Magazine  

The October issue is focused on fare from across the Middle East, with three features unfolding the flavors and food culture of countries su...

Profile for feaststl