Halal Guys to Open in Costa Mesa Friday, Oct. 2

Halal Guys' Facebook page
Coming soon to Costa Mesa: garlic breath.
The Halal Guys will open at 3033 Bristol St. in Costa Mesa, right around the corner from Weekly World HQ, this coming Friday, October 2, at 11 a.m. As Charles reported six months ago, this is the first Southern California opening for the famous street cart, who have plans to franchise at least 50 restaurants.

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El Mahroosa Cafe in Anaheim's Little Arabia Lets You Eat Like an Egyptian

Photo by LP Hastings
Eat up!

Upon my first trip to El Mahroosa Cafe & Hookah Lounge, I had a choice. Do I sit in the stark white room under harsh fluorescent lights, or do I make my way to the covered patio? It was clear. No one sits in the front room. Everyone, even if they're not planning to puff on a hookah pipe, chooses the patio.

Out here, there were plush orange couches and cushioned wicker chairs. On the far wall, fan-blown fabrics emulated torches. Underneath the doorway to the kitchen, a huge clock was labeled "Cairo." Throughout the cavernous space, all the flat-screen TVs were tuned to the same channel, the Middle Eastern equivalent of MTV. As the evening progressed, more people streamed in. There were groups of men, women in hijabs, whole families with kids still in strollers.

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Rida Hamida Wants You to Visit Little Arabia

Photo by John Gilhooley
Follow the Rida
If you've been to any progressive event in Orange County during the past decade, you know who Rida Hamida is, even if you've never talked to her. Her radiant hijabs, wrapped in the billowy Andalusian style and usually in some shade of pink because "it's a color that breaks down barriers and emanates happiness and courage," aren't the only reason the 36-year-old stands out. She's usually standing at the front during speeches: sometimes speaking, sometimes at the side of other community leaders. Leading is natural for Hamida, community liaison for Loretta Sanchez and co-founder of the Arab American Civic Council; it's literally her name, which translates as "leader" in Arabic.

"I need to live up to it," Hamida says. "It's important--I mean, it's my name!"

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Kareem's, Makers of Best Falafels on Earth, Now Open for MIddle Eastern Breakfasts!

Categories: Arabic Aliments

Photo by the Mexican

So I was in Little Arabia a couple of weeks ago and stopped by Kareem's, which I've written about dozens of times over the years because the restaurant is simply magnificent. Owner Nancy Hawari came by to tell me that Kareem's is now opening for breakfast at 8 a.m. during the week, which means that not only can you have her amazing falafels as a breakfast snack, but you can also partake of a true Middle Eastern breakfast: great scrambles, some foul and one of the best breakfasts in history: fatteh, which you can read more about here.

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VIDEO: Middle Eastern Restaurant Owner Bans Loretta Sanchez, Rips Up Her Award to Him, Over Gaza Comments

Categories: Arabic Aliments

Anaheim's Little Arabia is heating up! As the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza continues, Olive Tree restaurant co-owner Alan Abdo is upset with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. The lawmaker sat down with KNBC-TV Channel Four's Conan Nolan for an interview that touched on the issue. "If what it takes is boots on the ground, that might be the last recourse that the Israelis have," Sanchez said.

Abdo--who runs perhaps the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Southern California--didn't take kindly to those remarks calling them "disgusting" in a YouTube video.

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Adonis Mediterranean Grill: Good, But Not a Donair

Dave Lieberman
The "donair" at Adonis Grill
7:03 p.m.: "Hey, it's Dave. I'm here at the restaurant. Did you get a table?"

7:22 p.m.: "Hey, just wondering if you're on your way. LMK."

7:41 p.m.: "Everything OK? We still on for tonight?"

7:55 p.m.: "Okay, it's an hour past when we were going to meet. I'm leaving."

Being stood up for a date sucks. Being stood up for a date in South Orange County, where people have nothing better to do than to walk past and say, "Hey, you look like you're waiting for a date," is even worse. Mind your own damn business, Rancho Santa Marga-housewives.

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Hole In The Wall Sidebar: The Dips at Aleppo's Kitchen

Categories: Arabic Aliments

Dave Lieberman
The first time I was rendered speechless by a dip was when I was three years old and my friend Kim put a worm in my peanut butter sandwich; the peanut butter was the extra-sticky kind and it fused my mouth shut until the death throes of the worm somehow broke the seal and allowed me to open my mouth and scream as though I'd been stabbed.

There. That is the worst lede I have ever written. I dare the editors to leave it. (Gustavo note: I did--it was GANGSTA!)

The second time I was rendered speechless was by a life-altering taramosalata in a nondescript Greek restaurant in Tarrytown, New York. It was a fish roe dip of such ethereal lightness that it felt like the precursor to some kind of caviar "air" served in one of those pretentious temples of molecular gastronomy.

The third time I was rendered speechless by a dip was last night, at Aleppo's Kitchen in Anaheim's Little Arabia.

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The 6 Biggest Culinary Misconceptions Non-Muslims Have About Ramadan

Categories: Arabic Aliments

Thumbnail image for ramadan1.jpg
Getting ready to get our iftar on

"You can't have anything?"
"Not even water?"
"What if you're really really thirsty and it's super hot outside?"
"Nope, nothing."

That's how the typical conversation goes these days when I mention that I'm fasting for the month of Ramadan, which started on the week of July 8 this month and will end around the week of August. It's quickly followed up by a bewildered stare and the words, "You don't eat for a month?!"

After almost ten years of fasting, I'm still repeating the same lines as always when people ask why I'm not eating or why I look so tired. Of course I don't mind educating my peers about Islam but I'm still shocked when someone doesn't know the basics of Ramadan. Imagine if people didn't know when Christmas was, or why it's celebrated and having to explain it to most everyone you met. So without further ado--and since this is the Weekly's food blog--here are the five culinary biggest misconceptions that I've found non-Muslims have about Ramadan

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No. 95, Halal Pizzas from San Giovanni Pizza

By Yasmin Nouh, whom we miss very much
Hey, kids: guess what time is it? It's time to restart that Long March known as 100 Favorite Dishes (INSERT YEAR). YEAH!!!

Hey, don't ding us for listicles: Weekly DataLab studies show ustedes love this gimmick, launched in honor of our coming Best Of issue. Besides, it is rather fun to do this for us Forkers--an opportunity to highlight dishes from restaurants we'll never full review, or secrets from old standbys. Anyhoo, let the march begin...

Ever since my former editorial intern, Yasmin Nouh, reviewed San Giovanni Pizza in Anaheim, I haven't been able to stop eating them. Part of the reason is proximity: it's just a couple of blocks away from where my parents live in Anaheim. But it's mostly because it's great--oh, yeah, and the whole halal deal.

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Middle Eastern Store In Little Arabia Pulls Sabra Hummus After Activists Complain Brand Supports Israeli Military

Fresh Choice
Fresh Choice Marketplace in Garden Grove found itself in a bit of political hot water when customers started complaining about the grocery store carrying Sabra hummus on its shelves. The question wasn't centered on the quality of the brand itself--long a favorite Middle Eastern food brand in the United States--but the growing call to boycott it from Palestinian civil society.

The hummus is made by Sabra Dipping Co. and is substantially co-owned by the Strauss Group, a major Israeli food-product manufacturer. Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) activists have noted Sabra's parent company has been supportive of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and especially the controversial Golani and Govati brigades within it.

With this backdrop of occupation, shopper and Little Arabia advocate Rashad Al-Dabbagh was shocked to see Sabra hummus on the shelves three days ago and decided to question the store via social media.

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