Lebanese Food In Mexico
Don and I had been in Cozumel for nearly a week, when we stumbled across this Lebanese restaurant, last April.
We'd eaten a lot of tacos, so we were ready for a change. Well, sort of a change. Arabian Tacos at least sounded curious.
Wandering Back Streets of Cozumel
Don and I ran across this not overly inviting storefront, when wandering far off the usual tourist path. We were in search of a curious music store, we'd read about. By the time we figured out the store was long gone, we were hungry and we were no where near the restaurants that cater to tourists.
It didn't look like the kind of place we would go for, unless we'd gotten a good recommendation. But, it smelled so darn good!
We Peeked In
The bright yellow space was empty, except for a young man and his cell phone at one table.
The floor was still damp from a recent mopping and the owner was out on the patio, with a hose. He smiled and waved.
In We Go
The owner greeted us and invited us in. We chose one of the 3 tables and Don ordered a pineapple drink, while we checked over the menu.
The curious drink was green, with a hint of cucumber and a tiny bit of crunch.
While we waited on our food, we took in the decor.
There was a Lebanese flag on one wall and a Turkish flag on the other. There was a bookcase, with mostly books in English.
We assumed the owner was Lebanese, but he told us it was his grandmother, who handed down the Lebanese recipes. Luis was born in Mexico and moved to Cozumel at the age of 14.
After years in various kinds of business, Luis and his wife opened up this restaurant so he could cook and share the foods he loved.
Don ordered the Arabian Tacos, which Luis recommended. The chicken and pork were flavored with delicious Mediterranean spices.
The pita bread was soft and warm. Luis explained how to use the 4 sauce options, but we got a little confused.
I went for the falafal plate, which came with 5 yummy, fried treats, hummus, salad and a yogurt based sauce.
I ate every bit, except the salad. After a week of no salad, I was craving those greens. But I've learned to keep it safe... so I can enjoy my stay.
We were full after our quick lunch, but took a look at the baklava and other goodies on the counter
We ended up ordering a couple to go.
Chatting With Luis
We were a little uncertain who was cooking the special recipes, back in the kitchen. Luis was fairly busy during most of our dining time, so maybe he was doing some cooking, too.
Once we finished though, Luis was more than happy to talk. We heard about his teen years in Cozumel and his unusual career path, which lead to the opening of Arabian Tacos, a couple of years ago. What nice guy. What yummy food.
We sort of forgot our yummy treats for a few days.
When we discovered them in a bag later, we were surprised at how absolutely delicious they still were! 3 cheers for our Arabian Dining Adventure!
Lebanese Food with Marsha
Marsha and I have been in the same Book Club for 12 years, so we're used to sampling unusual foods... in a not too serious attempt at coordinating with the book's theme. But I don't think we have ever tried Lebanese food! Correct me if I'm wrong, Marsha!
Baklava Cafe was an easy outing choice since it's right on Highway 6 in Sugar Land. It claims to serve European and Middle Eastern Cuisine, but knowing the chefs are Lebanese, using old family recipes, means we had many options for sampling Lebanese foods. 2 points for authenticity and another 2 points for clean and healthy surroundings! I'm afraid 0 points for people watching, though. Too early...and hey, we are in Sugar Land!
This photo shows Marsha peering at the fine food selection over the glass. Layla can also be seen walking away. She was a bit camera shy, but was delighted to give us her descriptions of the many dishes. I wish we'd had more time to find out how she is connected to this family owned business. But since she is Lebanese, we were glad to get her opinion on the choices!
In this photo, besides viewing the delicious foods, you can also see the very serious man carrying 2 dishes. I had read in a few reviews to beware of a very grumpy chef behind the glass and I was open and willing for a memorable encounter with this guy. But I say, the guy is just busy and focused! I give him a break on my review by giving him 1 bonus point for attending to his job...
getting my food ready!
Ahhh! And here is the food! Being a bread person, I have selfishly placed the bread nearest the camera, which is nearly blocking the yummy sampler of falafel, kibbi rolls, grape leaves, hummus, tabooli! All were delicious and I give 4 points for food!
Let us not forget the name of this restaurant! I don't know why I didn't get a photo of the amazing diplay case of desserts! The family who owns this business, started with a pastry shop in Lebanon 100 years ago! I didn't sample the baklava, but took home a variety of mouth watering truffles!
3 points for extending my food experience all the way to my home.
Baklava Cafe gets a TOTAL OF 12 POINTS!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.