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Guest food review by Julie Whitman Jones–
In Arabic, “yalla” means either “hurry up” or “come on,” so you might want to hurry up and come on over to Yalla Yalla Bakery and Mediterranean Spread on Sunrise Boulevard and see for yourself how delicious their food is!
Owner Alan Liddawi, who was born in the city of Nazareth in Galilee, and now lives in Roseville, has been in the food industry 27 years. Yalla Yalla is his first Mediterranean restaurant since retiring. Open since November 2018, business at his restaurant near the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Antelope Road is off to a brisk start.
Daughter and co-owner, Rolanda is a Citrus Heights area real estate agent who helped him choose his business location. Liddawi has used the past five months to polish and set its final menu based on popular Mediterranean favorites and suitable to the dietary requirements of its vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free customers.
We visited Yalla Yalla for a mid-day lunch and I ordered their Chicken Shawarma Plate ($9.99) featuring generously sized and perfectly spiced chicken pieces served with their freshly prepared garlic hummus, a fresh salad of chopped tomatoes, cucumber and herbs, pita bread triangles and Tahini sauce.
My guest ordered the Beef Gyro Plate ($9.99) which had six seasoned beef strips cooked with grilled onions and also included fresh garlic hummus, salad, pita bread and Tzatziki sauce. We also enjoyed a side portion of four of their handmade Falafels which were the best I’ve ever eaten – lightly crisped on the outside and moist and flavorful on the inside.
I also sampled a side of their Baba Ghanoush, a creamy concoction made with eggplant, Tahini, olive oil and other spices. I piled some of it on my pita triangles and felt I was in heaven!
We returned to Yalla Yalla later in the week to enjoy and review the debut of their outdoor Kabob and Chicken lunch barbecue, now offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 a.m.
I feasted on their barbecued chicken which was served on two large skewers, while my guest ordered their beef kabobs. Both our luncheon dishes came with a serving of light saffron-infused rice and a green salad.
Yalla Yalla has plenty of lunch and dinner menu items to choose from. One can select from three choices of Chicken Shawarma served in a warm wrap flat bread, as a full plate, or served over rice. Gyro plates are offered in the same three varieties, and Falafel wraps and plates are also offered as well.
Along with the delectable entrees and sauces, Liddawi’s wife, Nina, bakes a tasty assortment of fresh bakery items and pies daily. Items include chocolate croissants, Napoleons, nut rolls, Katefeh rolls with walnuts rolled in crispy noodles, cranberry walnut cake and a favorite of ours, Baklava, which was full of ground pistachios in a crispy filo dough with a light honey glaze. Her fresh-baked pies are a big seller, especially during the holidays.
Yalla Yalla’s catering service continues to be a profitable part of his overall business, Liddawi said. Hundreds of packages of Yalla Yalla’s delicious Taboon hot stone bread and containers of its fresh, homemade garlic hummus fill the orders of a steadily growing wholesale clientele, he said. Pacific Coast Food on Greenback Lane is one of its largest wholesale customers.
Traditional Fresh Baked Hot Stone Bread, better known as Taboon bread, is where the reputation for Yalla Yalla’s Bakery and Mediterranean spread all started.
“My great grandmother’s fresh baked bread has been a tradition in our family since the early 1900s and is handmade and cooked on hot stone rocks that have been hand selected. Hot Stone Bread has been passed down from generation to generation and has become a customary food with each dish,” Liddawi’s daughter tells their customers on their Facebook page and website.
The Yalla Yalla Bakery also features packages of Manakish, their signature hot stone bread topped with thyme, extra virgin olive oil and sesame which is a big seller as well.
Yalla Yalla Mediterranean Food & Bakery is located at: 7800 Sunrise Blvd, Suite 11 at the corner of Antelope Road and Sunrise Boulevard. Visit their website at www.yallabakery.com to view a sample menu. Business hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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