Meatless Monday: Aladdin’s Eatery

     I decided to do something a little different for this meatless monday.  Like I said, eating out at times is a necessity.  Last week was extremely busy for us.  The combination of landscaping and remodeling work (still working on our singular bathroom), visiting with friends both local and out of towners, plus the usual day to day business left little time for cooking this week.  However I did get the chance to eat at a great little local Middle Eastern eatery on tuesday while on a girl’s day with my friend Ashlee.  Before we even started shopping we were ravenous, and not too interested in the usual offerings of the big chain restaurants we decided on Aladdin’s Eatery.  

     I rediscovered this fabulous eatery within the past year.  I had been there many years ago with my mom, and it was only recently that I started going there again with more frequency.  It is more than just a restaurant.  Their mission statement sums up their philosophy nicely which states, “Our intention at Aladdin’s Eatery is to provide our customers with unique natural foods of the Middle East, while at the same time cater to their increased awareness and concern regarding health and nutrition.”  The menu is extensive and caters to a variety of diets. Each entry in the menu is labeled as to whether it is vegan, gluten-free, or vegetarian.  Plus they also offer extensive nutritional information regarding their offerings, which makes it great for those with allergens or those with celiac disease.
     Beyond all the nutritional information is the food and no matter what your diet or restrictions, at Aladdin’s it is all delicious.  I always get the Dawali, grape leaves stuffed with rice, chick peas, tomato and parsley.  They are served warm with a drizzling of a wonderful olive oil based dressing, crumbled feta cheese and additional fresh herbs.  Eric has had the baba, he loves the blend of eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon, and olive oil.  For our girls luncheon this past tuesday, I again stuck to my routine and ordered the dawali.  There was plenty to share as they included 6 cigar shaped stuffed grape leaves on my plate.  I tried the fattoush for my main entree.  Fattoush is a mixed green and Lebanese salata (chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, scallions, onions and herbs) tossed with toasted pita, lemon, garlic, sumac, extra virgin olive oil and herbs.  It was so delicious.  Everything in the salad was so fresh and tasty, the toasted pita flavored with sumac and herbs gave the salad an additional crunch.  I loved it.
     Besides for a variety of appetizers and salads, they also serve soups, a variety of pita dishes, and specialty plates.  The pita pizzas (which I love) are inventive and really worth checking out.  Try the Ali Baba pita pizza, a pita covered in pureed eggplant, sliced tomatoes, feta cheese, char-grilled slices of eggplant, slivered calamata olives and fresh oregano.  Farrouk’s falafel pizza is another tasty dish consisting of tahini yogurt dressing topped with chunks of homemade falafel, yellow pepper rings, diced tomatoes and fresh chopped parsley.  Ashlee ordered the dawali rolled pita which is one of the vegetarian rolled pitas they offer.  They take their house made dawali, add crumbled feta and Aladdin’s house dressing and roll it all up in a fresh pita which is lightly toasted.
     Overall Aladdin’s eatery shines in my book.  It offers a plethora of choices for a variety of diners.  The prices are extremely reasonable due to the portions sizes and the quality of the food.  It is prepared beautifully and deliciously with not just giving consideration to taste, but also nutrition and a variety of dietary considerations in mind.  The staff is attentive, knowledgable and ready to offer suggestions and answer any questions.  If ever near an Aladdin’s Eatery give this little gem a try.  The hardest part about going here will be deciding what to order! It is not only great for meatless monday but for any day of the week.  Check out their website to see all their locations, peruse the menu, or to view nutritional information.

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