I am crazy for Mediterranean style cuisine, and it is hard to find in a smaller community like ours. This bravura of food comes from the 21 countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea such as Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. The food is characterized by flexibility, a wide range of ingredients and regional variations, it’s success is in the passion. I was delighted when my food spies discovered a gastronomy treasure appearing like an oasis in the Village. I have long been a fan of Jaffa Café in San Luis as the do this variety of nutriment dead-on using the freshest of ingredients that are prepared with attention to detail.
I started with Kifta (spiced ground beef) Kabobs, which is two skewers of marinated, charbroiled meat served over a bed of freshly grilled tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and topped with tahineh sauce. Served perfectly with a side of hummus and a warm, homemade thick pita, I was instantly transported to Greece. The condiments were whimsical with a crisp homemade pickle and sauces to delight your taste buds.
Gary was so excited to see the large spits, for this is something we loved when we were in Greece. He instantly ordered a Hot Shawarma Pita Wrap. The Gyros were filled with marinated meat (lamb and beef) made with special seasonings and slow cooked over an open flame rotisserie. They are topped with tahineh sauce lettuce and tomatoes. This my favorite Greek treat and after I begged for a bite, I stole and ate his whole sandwich. We went back to the menu and shared a plate of Stuffed Grape Leaves and some Baba Ganoush, a tasty dip of roasted eggplant seasoned with fresh garlic, tahineh, lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin. However, the highlight was the baklava. This delicate and multi-layered treat stuffed with walnuts, honey and rose water were so fresh and honorable, and he ordered four to go and devoured them at home.
This Jaffa Café is managed by Ali and Wendy Saleh, who welcomed all the guests and took the time to explain the menu and how to order for those who where visiting or tasting this style of food for the first time. I believe kindness makes food taste better and the proof was in the hummus (and falafels), which were prepared impeccably.
I ordered a marinated grilled fresh veggie salad to go; it is a blend of marinated and seasoned eggplant, zucchini, roasted red pepper, and yellow squash topped with feta cheese. A perfect light dinner for later. If you want to ease into this delightful food, start with the baked pita pizzas with three cheeses or covered in grilled vegetables, they are all fabulous.