Saturday, January 29, 2011

I didn't bake these

Someone declared today Vegan Pizza Day, but I'd forgotten, largely because of the accompanying emphasis on vegan cheese, which rather grosses me out.  But I ended up participating in my own way, albeit unwittingly, and before noon at that! 

After crashing on friends' couch in Santa Monica last night, I made the long bus trek homewards this morning.  Near the bus stop where I disembark is Sasoun, an Armenian/Lebanese bakery that I've been meaning to visit for the twenty months I've lived in this neighborhood, especially after a professor of mine gave it a rave recommendation last year (also see yelp page).  But shy and lazy can be a damning combination when it comes to (not) trying out new things.  Today, though, was the day.  And actually, I think I'm riding the beginnings of a sea change in this respect. 

I got the two things that I was pretty sure were vegan.  The first was manakeesh--or, as it was spelled at the bakery, maneishe--a white pita-like bread with tangy za'atar baked onto it (it's sort of like a pizza, see?).  It's eaten in many countries; Devon says she even had a version of it in northwestern China, where there was a large Uighur population.  And maybe this varies from place to place, but I think it's typically a breakfast or street food snack. 

The photos don't do it justice.  The bread was really chewy, and there were so many sesame seeds that it was crunchy, too.

The tahini bread I got was also delicious.  Flaky, nutty, and slightly sweet, it was like a mix between a pita, a croissant, and a sesame cookie.  Dunked in coffee, it was absolutely perfect.

I have the recipes in Simply Armenian, and I intend to make both these breads myself sometime.  But if it turns out not as good, I can always just walk down the street.  :)

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