Warm, Gooey Knafeh at Baiz Market

Crunched for time today, I skipped my usual taco joints and hit up Baiz Market, which is five minutes away from the office.

Ever been there? Baiz is a great Middle Eastern grocery store -- complete with a bakery and butcher -- right smack in the middle of residential nowheresville (523 N. 20th St.). Thinking I'd sneak in for a quick bite, I found the place to be much busier than I'd ever seen it. Luckily, there were still a couple seats in the tiny dining area of the in-house restaurant, Al Hana.

The big pan of knafeh looked tempting -- and they always keep it right next to the register, where you can't ignore it. Thank goodness I had a friend there to share it with me. This warm pastry combines a bottom layer of mild, melted cheese with a sweet, crumbly layer on top, with crushed pistachios. On the side, there's a cup of sugary syrup to drizzle over it.

My friend ordered a large spinach pie, and dug into it so quickly that I didn't have time to snap a shot of it in its untouched form. (Hey buddy, get your fork outta the picture!) He tore of a chunk of it for me -- soft and moist with a tasty, slightly tangy spinach filling.

I went for my usual, shish taook -- succulent chunks of grilled chicken wrapped in a pita with peppers and garlic sauce. I love the wraps at Pita Jungle, but this thing is the real deal. (And I think it was about four dollars). Guava nectar quenched my thirst.

Looking for a cheap, delicious hidden gem that's close to downtown? Baiz is the place.


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