Haji Baba

Flaky, slightly crunchy layers of sweetened dough coated in a gooey syrup with a dense slightly chewy layer of ground nuts and more sugar baked and sliced into the perfect snack sized desserts.

The glories of baklava. My favorite Greek/Middle Eastern dessert.

But it gets better. It’s true! You just need to add an order of Arabic coffee.

Like espresso, but sweeter, this concoction is twice boiled with ground coffee and sugar.

This is the perfect combination for a coffee date or a study break.

Or, in my case, the perfect ending to a meal!

Haji Baba is a small restaurant attached to the like-named Middle Eastern grocery store where you can browse through an endless variety of candies, coffees, cups, candles, cookies, and other customer favorites (Oh accidental alliteration, how you make it so difficult to properly describe the contents of a store!)

Off to the right side of this store is a small café area with the paintings of ancient ruins in the midst of a desert as background.

It’s open and bright, though not the most comfortable or cozy of dining areas.

The food has the usual Middle Eastern schawarmas, kebabs, gyros and falafils, as well as some that I never heard of before.

I’ll be honest, I have never much cared for the savory dishes of Middle Eastern food, it never tastes quite like how I imagine it should and it never sits that well after ingestion, either.

But, I’m determined to enjoy it, so I picked something new to try.

I went with the Kibbeh plate. The kibbeh is a patty made from mixing ground meat with bulgar wheat. The plate came with two portions of two patties sandwiching another layer of ground meat. I have never tried anything like it before, but I actually really enjoyed the meal. The texture was crumbly, but still tender and it was flavorful and VERY filling.

I don’t know how one is supposed to eat this, but I would take a forkful, dip it in the “yogurt salad” (read bowl full of yogurt with a dash of herbs and a few chunks of cucumber) and some Sriracha. It was quite good!

My favorite part, I’ll admit, was the hummus and pita bread. It was just so good – perfectly creamy and tangy.

Overall, I really enjoyed this place. It has good food at great prices. And if you don’t mind a bit of a cafeteria feel, it’s a nice place to hang out for a couple hours.

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