Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mediterranean buffet...Bitar's on 10th and Federal in S. Philly

AHHHHHH the Med Spread i call it...i dont normally do reviews of restaurants, but every time i go to Philadelphia on the south side of Washington ave (actually the address is the corner of 10th and Federal)
I go to the small eatery/deli  BITAR'S for my middle eastern fix. Im usually feeling lazy from travelling the 9 hours of bus rides it takes for me traveling between Portland Me, Boston Mass and Philadelphia so i pick up a few things at the deli and take them around the corner at my friend, The Force's house.

Once home i simply turn the oven to 350 heat up the pre-made fallafel balls and some of my favorite bread known as  Manakish, a pita bread baked w olive oil and a spice mix called zaatar. (in this case its sumac, tyme and sesame seeds) Pictured above is the usual that i get at the deli. From top left to right is Hummus, Dolmas (grape leaves stuffed w rice, minced onions and mint leaves w olive oil and lemon juice. Growing up in S. Jersey there were many diners run by Greeks, w salad bars that often included dolmas, kalamata olives and feta cheese. Falafel balls (made from ground chick peas) and Tabbouleh (diced tomato, parsley, mint, onions spiced w a little allspice and bulgar wheat) ((a course ground wheat)) rounds out the richness w some zing from the lemon juice.
  Not shown in the picture is the tahini dressing (sesame paste) and tatziki sauce (recipe) (cucumber yogurt sauce) and feta cheese and roasted red peppers. They, of course, have babaghanoush (like hummus but made w eggplant instead of chic peas (aka garbanzo beans) as well.
  If im eating there then i always get the Gyro's with lamb/beef combonation w Tatziki sauce, or some times i get the platters with chicken kababs w all the fixens, including wonderful pickled turnips and olives from the Mediterranean region.                                                     For dessert there is always the crowd pleasin walnut Baklava.

I suggest for any newbies to Mediterranean food order a sample platter and mix and match the endless combination's using the pita or Manakish for a utensil. If you are lucky enough to find it,buy extra manakish and freeze it since i rarely see this gem of a bread. (just make sure you heat it up in the oven after you defrost it!
ciao'!!!!

-ken