Inspired by my recent visit to Marché Akhavan in Montreal, I decided to investigate the Peg’s Middle Eastern food possibilities. And so began my love affair with Baraka Pita Bakery. A humble outpost a long way down Main Street, Baraka Bakery is run by a Lebanese family with a commitment to quality.
The headliner at Baraka is the Za’atar Pita Pie – a pita baked fresh to order and adorned with a blend of thyme, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds, salt, and sumac.
Za’atar pita might not be for every prairie palate – it’s sort of like a Sourpuss Herbes de Provence Pizza, sans cheese. You’ll like it if you’re the sort of Joe who would choose cheese over cheesecake. (Given the option of eating only one…). Zolli had an incident with Baraka’s Za’atar pita – it involved driving down Main Street too slowly, indelible grease stains on her best skinny jeans, and a considerable mess in the car. Za’atar pita is not really the sort of thing you wait to get home to eat.
Also lovely are the shwarma and kabob sandwiches, made on the spot and lashed with generous amounts of tahini sauce and pickles. Tabbouleh, Lebanese stuffed grape leaves, and sweets are also sure to please.
Take out: I induced heartburn during my encounter with the spinach fatir, which are little pita pastries filled with zippy spinach. Beef and cheese versions are also tasty; ask what’s fresh that day. The sundried tomato hummus is a completely different animal than what you get at Safeway, but the baba ganouj is the true star of the take-out menu. With pride, the young Lebanese man who works the counter explained to me how he chars the eggplant in the hot hot oven, then mashes it and mixes with tahini. There was an incident with the baba ganouj too – it was at 2 AM, on my living room couch, and involved nothing other than a container of the baba ganouj and a spoon. The pita seemed superfluous.
But speaking of the pita: they cook it daily in the back, and it’s best eaten fresh, with all of the above.