Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lebanese please: Ya Hala

We waited over an hour to get seated and shared a slice of pizza from a movie theatre three ways to ward off hunger pains during the wait. You'd think it wouldn't be worth it. But it was, 200%. 

The Makdous called out to me instantly: baby eggplants poaches and stuffed with walnuts, garlic, and chili peppers, then cured for olive oil for several days. It was served in a perfect little jar. 

Of course Ya Hala gives you piles of steaming pocket bread to sop everything up.

The Veggie Mezza plate, a highly recommended must-order read from our yelp apps was brought out on various plates, starting with falafel, stuffed grape Leaves and aranabeet (aka roasted cauliflower) all drowned in a garlicky tahini sauce. The falafels, made of fava beans, had a nice crust with soft green cilantro innards.

A velvety hummus spiked with a good dose of fresh garlic and a nice dusting of sumac on top arrived next. This is the part where my friend started licking the plate.

The baba ghanouj was smoky and creamy.

Tabouli: juicy, lemony and fresh.

The Makaly Plate with slices of fresh eggplant, cauliflower, yellow squash deep fried and dusted with garlic was also ordered (not pictured because I apparently got kidnapped my baba ghanouj aliens). 

Ya Hala stores their phyllo pastries out in the open as a taunting mechanism. An order of pistachio baklava was is a must. Crispy, light, and not overly saturated in sweetness, their nut and honey pastry is a class act.

I was even more surprised by the date cookie, which was super fresh and bursting with smooth macerated dates. Next time I'm getting a few to take home with me for breakfast.

My two lady friends and I split all this with a bottle of wine and paid about $14 each! 

8005 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97215


SassyAgapi said...

all but the eggplant in a jar look great to me! it sounds like it could be good but not by looking at it lol xD

JW said...

OMG Anna! Looking at these pictures...definitely going to go back together after the midterms are done....ya hala!!

Ivy said...

Amazing food. We have similar dishes in Cypriot cuisine.

tobias cooks! said...

you collected all my Lebanese favorites there.

Anna A. said...

SassyAgapi - Haha it doesn't look good? Oooh, sad!

JW - No doubts!

Ivy - I am coming to Cyprus, next stop. And hungry!

Tobias cooks - We must have ESP.

Helen said...

Lebanese food is right up there on my top 5 fave cuisines! The hummus and the baba ghanouj look amazing! Aside from the stuffed grape leaves (not a fan), everything looks delicious! I'm all for plate licking too :)

elra said...

Bookmark! Will definitely visit when we go to Portland. Thanks Anna.

Mary said...

Your selections all sound wonderful and would be perfect for me as I know very little about Lebanese food. Your photos of the plated food you were served are wonderful and surprising colorful given the ingredients. I hope you have a good evening. Blessings...Mary

Anna A. said...

Helen - You know what, I am not the hugest fan of grape leaves either. Go figure!

Elra - I'm coming too! Can't get enough of Ya Hala.

Mary - Thank you very much! I was a little concerned about my pictures because the lighting was off, but I guess it gives it "that" feel. :-)

Nicolette said...

I love this place! The food is always good and fresh. Great post!

Kung Food Panda said...

Yum! that hummus and baba ghanouj looks fantastic! Kinda reminded me of the dinner at the place we all ate at before you left.