Tonight, I stopped in at Dogwood’s Marketplace on Foothill/Acacia in Monrovia. True, the produce in this place is not the best, but the prices are good and they have lovely imported items (be sure to check the expiration date!). But I am not posting to write about the market at all. In fact, I am writing about the small part in the back of the market that makes and sells “Healthy Mediterranean Food”.
I was so happy to see it open as all the other times I have stopped in, it has been empty and forlorn-looking. But not tonight, tonight Harry and Attila(?) were working behind the counter from which delicious smells were wafting. I had noticed banners when I drove up advertising food with delectable-looking pictures.
When I got to the counter, there was a couple and their adorable baby and another woman eating at one of the tables. The couple were waiting for their falafel combo plate (everything is made on premises) of which the falafel is made to order. I started asking Harry about the Zaatar (which looked delicious in the photo) and he told me it was kind of like a Mediterranean pizza but really thin with the zaatar oregano herb/spice blend on top (they sell the dried spice blend in bulk in the market). He said it is eaten for breakfast. I asked if he would make me one, and he said yes. I thought maybe it was already made, but he pulled out fresh dough, formed it, topped it with the zaatar and popped it into the wood-fired oven. Yes, that’s what I said.
After I ordered that, the lady who had been eating was done and gave huge thumbs up to the spinach pie (Spanikopita). They also had cheese boregs. I ended getting some of those as well. Then I asked what the Lahm Bajm was and he said it was like the Zaatar, but with spiced meat on top. He asked if I wanted one of those and I said, yes, please. He smiled and went to work.
The Zaatar came out of the oven and smelled fantastic. Attila asked me if I wanted her to cut some off so I could eat it there. Yes, please! Can you say YUM?? Herby, spicy, salty deliciousness. I think they are $3/each. Then the Lahm Bajm came out and Harry cut it in half, folded it over, put some lemon slices on the plate and handed it to me. He told me to squeeze lemon on it. Delicious. It is a ground beef/veal mixture. So good!
I asked him if everything is made in-house and he said yes. He mentioned his lamb chops which he is very proud of. He even pulled a bowl of them out that he marinates for 3 days. Attila told me that all their meat is hormone and anti-biotic free. Harry pulled out a pack of the lamb chops - they are from New Zealand. He said the way he prepares them, they melt in your mouth.
Harry is Lebanese Armenian and was trained in classical French cuisine in France and has owned several restaurants. He takes great pride in what he does. These are truly wonderful people who are offering good stuff. Very good stuff.
They can do to-go orders if you are having a dinner party or they will cater. They have been there for about a month. Personally, I am happy that this great place is close to home. They don’t have a menu printed yet, but he did have a sample that he will be printing soon. They have baba ganoush, hummus, various kebabs, grape leaves, tabooed, etc. They are open til 8pm.
Give ‘em a try!
245 W Foothill Bl.
Monrovia, CA 91016
open til 8pm