Anaheim's Little Arabia District is all about pastries these days. Trays of rich baklava and sugary mammouls are being served up and down Brookhurst Street restaurants where they weren't before. Sahara Falafel, one of the oldest restaurants of its kind still around, is getting in on the act too.
A new baker brings the freshly made goods in the evenings. The most unique among his offerings is loqmat al-ushaq: "lovers' dessert." The Palestinian pastry comes by way of the West Bank city of Nablus, which also birthed the sweet and salty cheese pastry known as knafeh.
As the story goes, when couples get engaged they share lovers' dessert every day until marriage. Tales of its aphrodisiacal energy boosting powers may be exaggerated, but there's no mistaking its splash of seductive sweetness.
The affection confection rests on a moist bed of coconut cake. Floating atop is a spongy mixture of cream of wheat, dry milk, yogurt, baking soda, vanilla, and rosemary water. The edges of lovers' dessert are framed by the emerald green of crushed pistachios. Crunchy pine nuts decorate its center.
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Sahara Falafel is the only place in Little Arabia serving up lovers' dessert. After a shawerma dinner plate, share the dish with someone special, and it will be love at first bite!
Sahara Falafel, 590 S. Brookhurst St, Anaheim, (714) 491-0400; instagram.com/saharafalafel
Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2