I was recently invited to a blogger event at Afrah Mediterranean Cuisine in Richardson. I was very excited to enjoy some food and network with fellow bloggers. We were greeted by the owner, Yousef. His passion for his heritage and the food was evident. Afrah started as a Lebanese bakery over 10 years ago. It didn’t take long for word to get out about this place. Yousef dusted off his mother’s recipes and opened up the restaurant. He shared that the majority of the food is made at the restaurant from scratch. It was evident in every bite of food. The restaurant is big and bright and includes an impressive patio.
The adventure set sail with the fattoush salad. It was loaded with goodness. Present were the usual suspects: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, green pepper and radish. The difference was the addition of sumac. The spice added a sour and astringent flavor to the salad that went well with the lemon vinaigrette. The dressed veggies were topped with crushed, fried pita chips. So fresh and good.
Then these little deep fried babies were brought to the table. The kibbe were delightful. These little Lebanese croquettes are made from shells of crushed wheat filled with finely ground beef, pine nuts, onions , seven spices and salt. The seven spice blend of paprika, pepper, cumin, cassia, cloves, coriander seed, cardamom and nutmeg was pleasant with the beef.
The word “afrah” means happiness. That is exactly what I felt when I saw this platter of meaty goodness. The platter contained grilled beef, chicken and kafta. The beef and chicken were tender with a nice, seasoned char. Kafta is what I would call the Lebanese cousin of the Italian meatball. It is made from ground beef, parsley, onion, salt and that aromatic seven spice blend used in the kibbe. The medley was served with piping hot pitas. My favorite bite was the chicken meat swaddled in a pita with garlic sauce. This garlic sauce is GARLIC sauce. It is potent and unmistakeable. It will cure what ails you!
Then the pizza pie arrived. Yes, you read that right pizza pie. Simplicity is key here. Wonderful crisp, chewy dough topped with akawi cheese and sesame seed…that is it. The akawi cheese is similar to mozzarella in texture and has a mild, salty taste. It was a great blend with the nuttiness of the sesame seeds.
The meal was brought to a close with gelato. Afrah offers an amazing selection of gelatos including Arabic, cardamom and caramel. My favorite was the pistachio. Nutty, sweet, creamy and the perfect shade pastel green!
Afrah offers something for every taste palette including vegan and gluten-free options. Thank you Afrah for hosting a wonderful evening of food and fellowship!
Until next time…just eat it up!