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!
SW Alder & SW 9th Ave
Portland, OR 97205