Archive for the 'Armenian' Category

Falafel Arax – Los Angeles (East Hollywood)

Falafel Arax

Before diving into the best dishes of 2014 for my annual roundup, I have one final restaurant to review: Falafel Arax.

Falafel-Arax - East Hollywood - Los Angeles

The Astronomer, my mom, and I made our way here for dinner while Baby Girl was still stuck in the hospital. While we would’ve preferred to bring our sweetie home straightaway, we couldn’t have asked for better dining options around the hospital. We’re all about the silver lining around here.

Falafel-Arax - East Hollywood - Los Angeles

For well over 25 years, Falafel Arax has been dishing up Armenian delights in the heart of East Hollywood’s Little Armenia. Our dinner began with a requisite helping of beet-stained pickled turnips and potent pepperoncinis.

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Raffi’s Place – Los Angeles (Glendale)

Raffis Place - Glendale

Every meal at Raffi’s Place begins with sabzi, or “something green”—sprigs of basil, chopped parsley and white onions, and whole radishes served on a plate, along with pats of butter and a basket of unleavened lavash. When pulled together, these aromatics and herbs make for a uniquely Persian appetizer.

Raffis Place - Glendale

The sabzi to start, as well as the bougainvillea-shaded dining room, have been a part of the Raffi’s experience since 1993, when Rafik Bakijan and his wife, Gohar, opened the restaurant to share treasured family recipes with Los Angeles’ burgeoning Middle Eastern community.

Raffis Place - Glendale

For an appetizer, The Astronomer and I shared an order of tadig, a prized crispy rice crust, served with ghormesabzi (stewed greens with beef, kidney beans, and dehydrated limes) and gheimeh bademjan (stewed split peas and eggplant). The rice was a textural powerhouse, while the duo of stews were soulful and hearty.

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Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine – Los Angeles (Glendale)

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

A few of my favorite gal pals and I are packing our bags and flying to Portland for a weekend of serious face stuffage next month. To plan and plot our ambitious dining itinerary, we recently powwowed over a most homey and comforting Greek-Armenian dinner at Elena’s. This trip is going to be epic.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

Hourie grew up in the neighborhood and has been dining at this three-decade-old restaurant for as long as she can remember. According to a 1997 Times write up about the place, “Elena Tchentchenian is the woman responsible for the cultural mixing. She was born in Greece but reared in Armenia, which accounts for the Armenian touches.”

Every meal at Elena’s begins with a basket of warm flatbread accompanied by the most addictive garlic “sauce” ever. Rumor has it that the sauce gets its body from mashed potatoes!

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

When I arrived at the restaurant, Lien and Hourie were already diggin’ into a sumptuous mezze spread. There were pretty pink pickles that make my mouth-water just thinking about them…

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Old Sasoon Bakery – Pasadena

Old Sasoon Bakery - Pasadena

Old Sasoon Bakery has been high on my list of local places to check out ever since reading Tasting Table’s delectable report back in 2009. When The Astronomer had a speaking engagement at a high school located several buildings down from the shop, I took the opportunity to finally visit the famed Syrian bakery. I’d never realized it before, but Old Sasoon is located just a mile and half from my home—we’re practically neighbors! Shame on me for not coming in sooner.

Old Sasoon Bakery - Pasadena

According to my friend Josh, the bakery was opened by Haroutioun Geragosian in 1986. It is named after a village in Armenia that his grandparents left after World War II. Today, the shop is run by Haroutioun’s son Joesph and several other family members.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the store was how good the place smelled. Freshly baked goods perfumed the air both inside and outside the shop. The ambiance was laid back and efficient, just the way I like it.

Old Sasoon Bakery - Pasadena

All of the baked goods are displayed behind a classic bakery case. After scanning the various levels, The Astronomer and I picked out way too much food for two people. We couldn’t help ourselves because everything sounded so interesting and was priced quite reasonably.

To start, I picked out three beorags (savory hand pies) that the woman behind the counter offered to lightly toast in the oven. The one filled with basturma ($2.50) was balanced nicely by the creamy cheese and fluffy bread. I love the unique flavor of Armenian cured beef.

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