Friday, October 1, 2010

Bosnian Food Cart Exploration: Ziba's Pitas

I wish I could say that I unsuspectingly "bumped" into Ziba's one afternoon, famished after getting worked like a farm animal in Bar Method class. Nope. I had been scoping them out.... for a long time. Before I had even moved to Portland I heard a mention of the Bosnian pita place on NPR, immediately bookmarking their URL.

Pitas, otherwise known as pies, are my most favorite thing in the world to eat and make. I've had Bosnian food at one other place (but multiple times) - on the island of Skiathos - where I've spent many a summer.  There is a Balkan restaurant inside the old school Skiathos Tennis and Leisure Club (not to be confused with a place were old people are ditched) that pumps out some tasty Bosnian pitas and sausages. The food was almost Greek, but more intense in flavor.  The majority of Eastern European countries make a form of pita with their national twist to it so it's always exciting for a pita lover like myself to conduct some investigations.

Ziba's Pitas is run by the same lovely lady who owns the cart and makes the dough. She makes four versions of pita: two vegetarian, one vegan and one carnivorous. I asked her if she makes pumpkin pitas like they do in Greece during pumpkin season.

"That would be too much extra work!" She responded back with a smile. 

I can imagine - making the phyllo dough by hand would be a daily glutton for punishment in itself. But I had to ask. All in all, Ziba's Pitas are the best pitas I've ever had outside of a Greek village. The fact that Ziba is making her own phyllo dough warrants this joint a gem in itself. 

I sampled the spinach pita first. Delicious! I was immediately brought back to a small village outside of Delphi where I first ate spanakopita made with handmade phyllo dough, 'cause that's how they do in the village.  Ziba's pastry is rustic yet delicate with a slight flakiness. The spinach innards were fresh with a balanced amount of salty tang from the accompanying cheeses. I got a weird serial killer look on my face and decided this were I must come at least once a week for the rest of my life.

I also tried the vegan zucchini pita which proved to be even more delicate than it's spinach sister. I was shocked at the zucchini flavor that came through, since it's a mild vegetable and usually paired with stronger flavors. It was great to taste zucchini for once! This pita was definitely moister than the spinach which is probably due to the water content of the zucchini. A very delicious pita and I'll be consuming many of these during my Greek Orthodox fasting days, no doubt!

Ziba's Pitas

SW Alder & SW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97205


Peter M said...

This lady makes excellent phyllo. Be nice to her, become her friend and maybe she will teach you.

Helen said...

Oh boy! This is heaven for me. I love pita in all shapes and forms. You are so fortunate to have discovered this shop. A bagel shop near my work serves burek (Turkish name for pita). The shop makes it looks like a bagel, although in Turkey it looks more like a traditional filled pita. They have a variety of fillings with feta and olive or plain spinach or mushroom and potato. It's very heavy on the butter and tastes like a croissant. Not as healthy as Ziba's Pitas, which I would much prefer.

weezermonkey said...

Phyllo phucking rocks!

Maria said...

The first thing I thought was that phyllo looks awesome. I don't know which I would end up choosing ... possibly a slice of each and every one.

Banana Wonder said...

Peter - Haha yes, sensei! I still have yet to make my own phyllo. Soon, soon.

Helen - I want to try your bagel shop bureks! Want to trade?

Sharon - Amen!

Maria - Yeah, I can't wait to try the other two, although I know I always end up swearing allegiance to the spanakopita versions.

stuffycheaks said...

I've never had Bosnian food before, but I think I'll like the meat pita

Banana Wonder said...

Stuffycheaks - hah that would be the one I would try last! Maybe just take a bite of yours :)

Anonymous said...


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