Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, April 15, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:9



Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 15, 2017 

Julie’s Favorite Family Recipes


I am asked daily what is my favorite restaurant 
in Pasadena, the answer might surprise you. But 
first…. Ask a friend about the nomadic history of 
the kabob and you are sure to come face-to-face 
with a puzzling expression but ask this same friend 
about their favorite kabob house and they will 
joyously support you with an answer. 

The history of the kebab(spelled correctly) is teeming 
with adventure. This skewer of meat is commonly 
traced back to Persia or Pre-Ottoman Turkey and 
as this culinary invention spread across the globe 
it began to marry with the cultures it encountered. 
The Greeks added vegetables to the kebab, Pakistan 
and the countries of Southeastern Asian modified 
the kebab in the spicy flavors that versed their other 
meals. Indonesians decided to make satay as their 
national dish, which is nothing more than a kebab by another name. When Americans encountered 
this globetrotting delicacy they adored it so much they increased the size of the meat on each skewer.


The kebab is the dish of the common man and the king. The history of the kabob probably goes back to 
the time of Adam and Eve. In the same way we discover music in every culture, whether that civilization 
is of the primitive past or professed as advanced. But I find it more difficult to believe that we call 
ourselves developed we are the ones who enthusiastically devour hotdogs on a stick and those so-called 
primitively ancient cultures were feasting on fresh killed animal meat. I’m persuaded to feel that this 
method of cooking was almost spiritually in the way it burst to life around the world.

If all this history is making you hungry I have an answer for that as well.

Sahara Restaurant in Central Pasadena is one of my favorite spots for sit-down and takeout. I probably 
eat Sahara at three times a month and that is more than I cook at home. The dining room is simple and 
the walls hang with pictures of Lebanon. A loving shrine to Garo’s father and the country he still loves. 
Sahara is named after his father’s restaurant in Lebanon and Garo’s promised his son Sebastian that if 
they were ever made it to America their restaurant would be have the same name in his honor. Sahara 
opened its doors in 1993, exploring Old Town Pasadena before settling in Central Pasadena. As far as 
the recipes for the restaurant they are all reside in Garo’s head and like his father before him, Garo’s will 
one day entrust the secrets to his son, Sebastian, but not yet.

The kitchen is open and this allows you to savor your meal before you take a single bite. The menu 
includes a list of kebabs and one of my favorites is the Lulu, ground-seasoned lamb with beef ($11.25). 
If it’s your first go at this oasis order the Combination ($14.75) as it offers a little of everything. For the 
vegetarians in the group the falafel ($8.25) sandwich is available. All the dishes arrive with feta cheese, 
pita bread, cucumber, and hummus, though I always ask nicely for a substitution of babaghanouj 
(eggplant) it’s the real deal, and your choice of lentil soup or my favorite the cabbage salad. Often I’ll 
save the cabbage salad for a later snack, it’s that good.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up for Sahara! The food is fresh so when they are out of an item they are out 
until the following day.


Beer and Wine-Sorry No Lebanese Beer, owner said they’d drink it.

Closed on Sundays

2226 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena (626) 795-6900

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills



Melted butter, to grease

(7/8 cup) dried pitted dates, coarsely chopped

(1 cup) water

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

(1/2 cup) butter

 (3/4 cup) Superfine sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

(1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour

Double cream or ice-cream, to serve

Fresh strawberries, to serve


(1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar

(1/2 cup) pouring cream

(1/2 cup) butter

1 teaspoon vanilla essence


Step 1

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a round 8 inches(base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to grease. 
Line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Step 2

Place dates and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Stir in the bicarbonate of 
soda. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Step 3

Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, 
beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Fold in the date mixture and flour until well combined.

Step 4

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top 
springs back when lightly pressed.

Step 5

Meanwhile, to make the caramel sauce, stir the sugar, cream, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan over 
medium heat for 5 minutes or until smooth.

Step 6

Cut pudding into wedges and pour over the caramel sauce. Serve with cream or ice-cream and strawberries.

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