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Monday, June 11, 2012

Forn Al Hara in Anaheim: Excellent Savory Pastries + Zatar

When I found out I was going to be staying around Anaheim for a few days, I immediately went on turbo research mode. I knew there had to be more to Anaheim than massive amusement parks. I knew we’d be run down by tourists and convention goers alike but that didn’t deter my determination to find some good eats around there. I quickly learned that Anaheim is home to Little Arabia with many bakeries selling delicious shwarmas and baked goods that I couldn’t wait to sample. Then there was Little Saigon nearby. Ah…


The first installment of my OC excursion starts in Forn Al Hara in the heart of Little Arabia on Anaheim Blvd, just a five minute drive from the tourist trap area. It has an array of sweets and variations of baklava (pistachio or cashew, to name a few) and if you’re in for lunch, you can get one of the many zatars offered.

Zatar is like a flatbread or pizza and the traditional one comes with spices and sesame seeds. The helpful woman behind the counter recommended the vegetable zatar that is eaten rolled up. She couldn’t have recommended a better one for me.


I’m no vegetarian (the understatement of the century) but I loved the combination of the warm dough fresh out of the oven (and they have a nice one that would put any serious pizza joints to shame), freshly cut cucumbers and tomatoes that gave it a crunch and the kicker – roughly chopped salty, briny green olives that provide the flavor center of the sandwich. All zatars start off as the traditional one that has oregano, sesame seed and other spices on it.



I also tried some of the baklava that were good but I don't have too much of a sweet tooth so couldn't have more than a bite. Although not my cup of tea, I saw people buy boxes of the tiny baklava so they seem to sell like hot cakes.

Speaking of tea, another thing I liked about this place was the fresh mint it offers by the hot water dispenser for mint tea. It was a fine accompaniment to my zatar.

While not photogenic, here's what a zatar looks like. Delish.

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