January 15, 2010 | 1:54pm
Good ol' Middle Eastern Bakery & Deli.
This Central Phoenix restaurant has been one of my favorite lunchtime go-to spots ever since I started working at New Times over nine years ago. I recall one of my coworkers taking me there during my first week on the job, and I was instantly hooked on the fresh, tasty dishes and consistently warm, friendly service.
On my latest trip, I was craving protein and feeling indecisive, so this combo platter was perfect -- a moist lamb kebab, awesome chunks of juicy grilled chicken, a pile of flavorful rice, and a great salad topped with peppers, pickles, pepperoncini, tomato, and red onion.
On the side, there was a small cup of cucumbers in yogurt sauce and a warm pita. And although it was already a lot of food, I treated myself to a cup of creamy rice pudding for dessert. To drink, I downed a huge cup of orange blossom-flavored lemonade.
The dining room here is just a few tables and chairs with a view of the small market area, where the shelves are stacked with olive oil, canned beans, spices, Greek coffee, and other Middle Eastern cooking essentials.
I recommend eating lunch before you start shopping, lest you go overboard on buying Jordan almonds and sesame candy like yours truly.