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Cheese spinach manakeesh Yafa Café

Best Pizza Places, Toppings & Manakeesh

By Update

Deep dish, thin crust, or somewhere in between, North America is a nation of pizza addicts. That craving has only grown while we’ve been sticking close to home during the pandemic as pizza is the ultimate comfort food.

But which 10 cities take the biggest slice out of 2021’s Best Cities for Pizza Addicts?

LawnStarter compared the 100 biggest cities in the USA across five key factors, including prevalence of pizzerias, average cost, and search popularity.

Pizza manakeesh Yafa Café

Highlights and Lowlights

Big Apple? Call it the Big Pizza: New Yorkers love their tomato pies, so much so the Big Apple sits atop our Best Cities for Pizza Addicts. Who hasn’t heard of or tasted New York-style pizza? The hand-tossed crust is wonderfully crisp and airy at the edge and thin in the middle. The traditional New York-style pizza is just tomato sauce and mozzarella. Savour it by the slice, folded for easy eating.

Best in the Midwest: Chicago and a slew of other Midwest cities took top-10 spots: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Cleveland. The Windy City, of course, is renowned for its deep dish Chicago-style pizzas. Each slice can be a meal in itself! Pittsburgh has the most pizza places per resident, with the other cities also sporting impressive numbers. St. Louis boasts some relatively cheap pizza, along with its own named-after-the-city thin crust style. The Washington Post has called the Midwest a region whose “pizza time has come.”

Frozen Pizza Toppings

Frozen pizza is a big staple in our households. As much as we love frozen pizza, it can get boring after a while. Adding things like mushrooms, garlic, and onions before it goes into the oven is great and all, but in the end, it’s still a frozen pizza.

A previous employee of Paulie Gee’s Logan Square in Chicago and current The Takeout editor, picked up some tricks that changed up her frozen pizza game at home.

Hot honey

Spicy honey has been on the up-and-up as a condiment in recent years. It’s great in sauces or glazes and a compliment to fried chicken, biscuits, ice cream, and pizza!

Ricotta

While you can certainly add ricotta to a pizza before it goes into the oven, adding it cold after the pizza’s done baking. Dab bits of it all over the pizza so you get some with every bite. It’s cooling, rich, and smooth, and it gives your pizza a fancy feel.

Arugula, Lemon Juice & Olive Oil

Fresh bitter greens like arugula on top of pizza are highly underrated. You can put them right on top of the pizza as-is, but an even better idea is to toss them in a touch of olive oil and a healthy dose of lemon juice. This is a good way to brighten up the pie without having to mess around too much in the kitchen.

Nutritional yeast

A pizza devoid of meat and dairy doesn’t have to taste boring. Nutritional yeast, is a byproduct of brewing beer, and it’s got such an impressively savoury flavour that many people use it to replace parmesan in their cooking. A red pie with olive oil and garlic topped with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast will yield you a delicious, light result with a ton of flavour.

Manakeesh

If you’re not feeling traditional pizza or frozen pizza, trying our manakeesh is a great option. Manakeesh is kind of like a Middle Easter version of the pizza. It’s Arabic flat bread topped with a mixture of olive oil and thyme (za’atar). Manakeesh can also be topped with cheese, meat and and many other toppings.

Cheese spinach manakeesh Yafa CaféAt Yafa Café, we have quite a variety of them to order, that are

  • Zaatar is thyme made with marjoram rounded out by nutty toasted sesame seeds and lemony sumac. Add veggies for extra toppings.
  • Zaatar-Labneh is dollops of Labneh, similar to Greek yogourt. It makes the tang of sumac and the sharpness of the wild herbs lighter and more lemony.
  • Zaatar-Shatta is thyme with a snap of heat, spread of tomato hot chili. Add labneh to cool off the spiciness.
  • Zaatar-Cheese is made with melted cheese on one half, and with zaatar on the other.
  • Cheese Fusion is a mixture of 4 cheeses.
  • Half cheese is half melted cheese, part zaatar and part mhammara, a sauce made with roasted red pepper.
  • Spinach Triangle is spinach mixed with onions, oregano, and marinated with lemon and sumac.
  • Sfeiha is seasoned ground beef/lamb mixed with Arabic spices, tomato, onions & mint (Lahm-bi-aajin).
  • Spinach-Cheese mixes spinach with onions, oregano and sumac spread and topped with cheese.
  • Sfeiha-Cheese is a Sfeiha ground beef/lamb mixture topped with a blend of melted cheese.
  • Bayd is a mixture of beaten eggs, cheeses, parsley, zaatar and black pepper.
  • Khodra (veggie) is a manakeesh with a special sauce, topped with cheese, olives, onions and peppers, infused with thyme.
  • Yafa Spicy Chicken is a shawarma chicken on hot tomato sauce topped with cheese, full of chili, Gaza style.

Sfeiha Yafa Café

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Ramadan lentil soup

Ramadan & Orthodox Easter Menu

By Update

Ramadan and Orthodox Easter are both at our doorsteps and we’re ready for it. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on April 13, 2021 and end on the sundown of Wednesday May 12, 2021, and Orthodox Easter is set for May 2. Both are a special time when people are fasting, getting together, and self-examining. It is about sharing, appreciating, giving, and having their beloved people around them, celebrating their culture and being thankful for everything they have.

Ramadan lentil soup

What is Ramadan?

Muslims around the world will be observing this month through fasting from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food and water until they can break their fast.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is considered a holy month that honours the time when Allah, via the angel Gabriel, revealed the first verses of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, to a caravan trader named Muhammad. The final evening of Ramadan consists of a celebration called Eid-Al-Fitr, when the traditional month-long fast is ended with a feast.

5-course Meal Menu

This year, we’ve created a special menu for the blessed month of Ramadan. It’s a month that spreads love, peace, consciousness for the needy and inclusivity. Those are the core learnings of observation of Ramadan.

The menu items starts with something light to break the fast. It continues with some of the most special Arabic dishes, cooked following recipes of mothers from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. The traditional certainly comes alive in these dishes. The options are also available in vegan to accommodate those observing Lent.

At $40 per person, you start with a cold drink that helps fasting thirst. You have 3 appetizers, a main dish followed by a hot drink and dessert. This price will be available during Ramadan and we will extend our hours until 10 pm to accommodate the sunset time.

Ramadan menuOur Ramadan menu is available for takeout and dine-in. You can order from 6 pm to 9:30 pm (last call). We are also offering catering options.

Dessert Special

Desserts have their great significance and presence during Ramadan. Yafa Cafe will be serving Ramadan’s most iconic treat of the Arab world! Qatayef! Made from yeasted pancakes stuffed with nuts or cheese, fried to crunchy, golden perfection then doused in a thick sugar syrup. Qatayef looks like a crescent and is light. This makes it easy to digest.

For Eid Al-Fitr and Orthodox Easter, stay tuned for our kaak, date or nut cookies made with semolina.

Covid Impact

The occasions are usually filled with gatherings, gorgeous spreads of food and friends and family rejoicing For Ramadan, worshippers are breaking their fast together and sharing stories and prayers, and for Easter it marks the end of Lent celebrating and eating foods abstained from for 40 days. For a second year in a row, for many of us, it will not be possible. While most of the world remains in some form of physical distancing and lockdown measures, we hope that you will be able to celebrate with your friends and family via virtual and safe gatherings.

Giveaway & Giving Back

To mark the celebrations, we’re hosting a giveaway. We will be providing a lucky winner with 1 of our infamous gift baskets full of goodies. In addition, we will be donating 10% of the month’s sales to Manitoba Islamic Association. To enter our giveaway, hop onto our Instagram post to learn how you can win.

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Locavore diet, ingredients used at Yafa Cafe

People’s Hunger For The Locavore Diet

By Update

It might seem that we just invented a new diet that seems to suggest crazy (loca means crazy in Spanish) for meat. In fact, that’s not the meaning, nor have we coined this term ourselves. We first heard it from LawnStarter, America’s leading outdoor services provider.

What is The Locavore Diet

According to LawnStarter, locavores, which consists of food from local places like nearby gardens, farmers markets, and farm-to-table restaurants is in — again. That’s good news for small owned and operated restaurants like ours.

During the pandemic, it seems that Americans renewed their appetite for the “locavore” diet. We believe the trend has replicated in Canada. Much of our food is sourced locally, even as close as our garden for greens during the warmer months.

Locavore diet, ingredients used at Yafa CafeLocavore Trend

Before lockdowns, nearly three-quarters of Americans were already eating locally produced food. A recent surge in direct farm-to-consumer sales suggests the trend has continued to grow, reports LawnStarter.

They compared the 150 biggest U.S. cities across 14 key indicators of locavore-friendliness. They range from the prevalence of community-supported agriculture and farm-to-table restaurants to the sales of farm-to-consumer food per capita.

Placed like Santa Rosa and Ontario in California, Salem, Oregon, Vancouver, Washington, and Worcester, Massachusetts came out in the top 5, we unfortunately don’t have an indicator for Canadian cities. Either way, we don’t need a scale to provide that same experience to our customers.

Not surprisingly, the trend shows that agricultural dominant locations tend to be well placed to afford great menu for locavores. That’s good news for us given that we are one of the best provinces for agriculture. It’s certainly easier to eat local when much of the nation’s food supply is just down the road.

Local Supplier Offering at Yafa Cafe

Often regarded as one of the word’s healthiest cuisines, Arabic food combines the sophistication with exotic ingredients. At Yafa Cafe, we desire to spread the goodness of our grandmothers’ cooking: simple, healthy and tasty Arabic cuisine. Every day our chef wakes up before dawn to pick up the best ingredients from local produce suppliers. We seek out the freshest ingredients, local when available and handpicked whenever possible. Our coffee beans are sourced locally from a Headingley Roasters.

A large portion of our menu items are vegan. All meats are halal. Our recipes have been passed down through several generations. Though many of our recipes have remained unchanged for over the last 3 years since our inception, many have evolved through time and travel into a balance of traditional and contemporary cuisine. Our plates and pita wraps gained popularity from their love of our concept and food. The spirit of tradition runs deep at Yafa Cafe making our customers happy with fresh and healthy Arabic food.

Coffee beans with sweets at Yafa Cafe

Buy Local Movement in Winnipeg

During the pandemic, many businesses had to shut their doors. Despite all the government’s efforts to help out small business owners, for many it was difficult. While we managed to keep our doors open by largely modifying our service offerings, hours of operation and staffing, we owe much to grassroots movements that promoted local purchases. We’ve taken part in a few of them over the last 11 months not only to improve our stance, but that of our fellow local operators.

We want to thank the community from the bottom of our heart for all their continued support and we look forward to many more years together!

What are your thoughts about the locavore diet?

Falafel delight

Food, Restaurant and Gadget 2021 Predictions

By Update

Happy new year! 2020 predictions may not have turned out as planned. Many of us did not expected a pandemic to hit us when we rung in the new year. Let’s remain optimistic that 2021 will bring better days.

The new year may bring on new thoughts, ideas, and predictions ahead for most of us. As for the food industry, we haven’t really thought about what that would look like except that takeout and delivery orders may be more in demand than dine-in…even post lockdowns.

Coffee beans in heart shape2021 Predictions

We looked to the Takeout Editors who have made some early predictions about food and restaurants in 2021. Let’s see what we have to offer at Yafa Café to match the predictions.

Wings Galore

You’ll see a lot more chicken wings springing up on menus—that’s because they’re cheap to make, easy to deliver, and don’t require a lot of floor space to prepare, meaning they can be easily accommodated in ghost kitchens and pop-up restaurant concepts. These aspects will give wings the edge in the 2021 delivery market.

While we don’t serve wings, you can certainly give its Arabic substitute a try, the shish taouk skewers. 2 skewers of threaded boneless chicken, Lebanese style and dipped in exotic spices, herbs, lemon, yogurt, loads of garlic. Served over rice or fries with vegetables, hummus and garlic sauce.

Grilled Fruit

More generally, this is in relation to grilled foods that aren’t meat or meat substitutes. It’s based on the success of The Takeout’s original recipes for Watermelon Burgers, as well as smoky grilled fruit cocktails.

At Yafa Café, you can try the Mhammara for $7. It’s not grilled fruits, but grilled veggies are just as good. Taste the spicy walnuts mixed with tomato & grilled red pepper, served with a fresh bread.

Mhamara, rilled red peppers, walnuts, tomatoesOpen Kitchen Shelving

The lofty Instagram ideal of perfection has come for our home kitchens, and now, even the dishes and clutter that we were once allowed to hide discreetly behind cabinet doors are now out in the open, putting pressure on home cooks to keep their shelves precisely organized and maximally aesthetically pleasing, whether for posting on social media or gussying up WFH backdrops for Zoom meetings. Expect the majority of next year’s gut renovations to do away with cabinets entirely and leave behind only floating shelves in their wake.

Most of our kitchen shelving is exposed to the staff but not our patrons. The café counter on the other hand, partly offers that look and is often used as a backdrop for photo shoots.

Air Fried Everything

Every person who cooks has been gifted an air fryer this year, or are about to receive this holiday. Allison Robicelli with The Takeout Editors wrote: I was a serious air fryer skeptic before I received one last year, but after a few weeks of experimenting and recipe developing, I realized that if anything air fryers have been undersold as a worthwhile kitchen appliance. With the right recipes in hand, air fryers are poised to become an essential part of our everyday cooking routines, even for those folks who might be too intimidated to take it out of the box yet.

Air fryers haven’t yet been adopted at Yafa Cafe, but given this prediction, we may just invest in one. For now, if you want a delightful fried meal, that’s finger lickin’ good, look no further than the Maqali. These crunchy fried veggies with salad pickles, chili and tahineh sauce are a perfect mid-day or late-night snack.

Gadgets

If the current air fryer discourse is any indication, we’re going to see a lot of people splurging on kitchen appliances to make at-home dining easier and more fun. Lillian Stone from The Takeout Editors says: I feel like everyone I know is saving up for high-end espresso machines, pricey oven thermometers, and gadgets to make restaurant-quality goodies like bread and pasta. I also think this signals the end of keep-it-simple kitchen hacks. We’re not looking to save time; we’re focused on quality.

Our coffee-based drinks are brewed to perfection on our espresso machines. Our breads are hand made with love in our wood stove.

Plant-based Meat Substitutes

Expect to see more plant-based meat substitutes on next year’s fast food and fast casual menus. While we’ll still likely to see a steady uptick in variety of those products at the supermarket, prices on those items are still higher than their meaty counterparts. However, when you go out to eat, plant-based substitutes are typically not a big upcharge (if at all). Combine that with the fact that customers are fatigued from cooking at home during the pandemic, and restaurants should expect a surge of dine-in and takeout customers who are eager to try new plant-based alternatives without having to reach deeply into their wallets.

We have many plant-based substitutes. Our most famous is the Falafel Delight. Falafel balls garnished with tahini sauce, served with pickles and hummus,. Definitely a must-try.

Falafel delightWhat do you think of these predictions? Let us know what you will be into this year.

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Giveaway gift bag for fundraisers

Community Response to The Fundraisers During Covid

By Events

This past year we’ve taken on several fundraisers in our establishment to help those in need. Some of the first were donating food to senior homes and front line health workers. It was incredible to see the smiles on their faces during such a difficult time.

With increasing trouble around the world, we decided to take on a couple more this year.

Lebanon Fundraiser

This past summer, after the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut, Lebanon, we launched a fundraiser. Our intent was to raise funds for the people affected by the blast to help.

The blast in Lebanon caused many deaths and injuries, on top of the havoc it created in a country that has seen so much unrest in the last while. Lebanon was already rocked by political unrest, inflation and increased poverty and on the brink of starvation due to Covid. To help those in need, we donated 50% of one week’s sales in August to the Lebanese Red Cross. We urged people to book a table or order takeout or delivery. If they could not make it, we asked that they consider donating to the Lebanese Red Cross directly at the link.

The community response on and off line was incredible. We collected $5000 for the people of Lebanon. To show our appreciation and thank the community for their overwhelming response and generosity, we’ve created this video.

Server wearing Lebanon t-shirt

UN Solidarity With The Palestinian People Fundraiser

This month, we’ve launched another giveaway in celebration of the United Nations (UN) Solidarity with the Palestinian People Day which is observed on November 29th. This giveaway is meant to raise funds for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The Agency provides assistance and protection for 5.6+ million Palestinian refugees and the Near East. For several decades, Palestinians were the largest refugee population in the world. Only in recent years did Syrian refugee numbers surpass those of Palestinians due to the civil war in Syria.

The UNRWA has recently undergone major funding shortages. Recently, they deferred employee salary due to lack of funds and that means less help is going to those most in need and gravely affected by Covid, poverty and displacement. Some of the refugees the UNRWA cares for have been found looking for food to feed their families in garbage bins.⠀

In honour of the occasion, 10% of our month long sales will go to the UNRWA. We will announce the winner on the same day of the event.

Giveaway Details

To increase our donation amount, we’ve decided to launch a giveaway for a chance to win one of our famous gift bags. Inside the gift bag:Giveaway gift bag for fundraisers

  • Handmade mask with embroidery
  • T-shirt of the campaign
  • $50 gift card
  • Kaak (holiday date cookies) pastry
  • Keffiyeh (famous Palestinian black and white scarf)
  • Coffee ☕️ beans

To enter:

  1. Like this post ❤️
  2. Follow @yafacafe
  3. Tag a friend you think would love to try our food (unique names, each line is an entry, no celebrities pls)
  4. Order takeout
  5. Post a story or photo with your takeout order. Must use the @mention or we will NOT see it

Instagram Inc. does not sponsor, administer, nor associate with Yafa Cafe. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram responsibilities, and agree to Instagram’s Term of Use.

Let’s try to help however we can We know our community is generous so let’s do it again and help those in need. Since the new lockdown measures have been place in Winnipeg, we are open daily from 11am to 9pm for takeout, delivery and pickup.

Top Choice Award Nomination

Yafa Cafe has qualified as an Official Nominee for the 2021 Top Choice Awards Survey, competing for the title of Top Choice Middle Eastern Restaurant of 2021 in Winnipeg.

Top Choice Nomination Badge

We just received this news recently and thrilled. Another testament to the community support we receive. In order to win the the award, we need your help:

  1. Visit topchoiceawards.com/vote
  2. Search for Yafa Cafe to vote
  3. Share the voting link on social media with your friends and family
  4. Your feedback is important for us

Thanks again to our great big hearted community!

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Chair karak tea at Yafa Café

Flavourful Chai Karak, The New Popular Drink

By Update No Comments

Chai Karak, or Karak tea is available throughout the Arabian Gulf area. All of clients sipping tea and enjoying the fragrant taste. If you live in those areas, it’s like Tim Hortons line up, you will find endless rows of cars lining up for a small cup of the creamy fragrant Chai Karak and thousands of cups are sold daily. At night, Chai Karak is enjoyed in coffee shops listening to classical Arab diva, Um Kalthoum. The atmosphere around a good tea selling shop is electric and so much fun to watch.

Chai Karak Popularity

The humble beginnings of the drink came with the influx of South Eastern Asian workers upon the discovery of oil in the early 1950s. A tea that is prepared daily there, named ‘masala chai’, using a variety of spices including cardamom, peppercorn, saffron, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, anis.  Chai Karak, translates into strong tea. Versions of chai karak are prepared in South Asian homes daily. It’s a tea culture that traces back to before colonial times making tea vital in every household pantry. A blend of strong black tea, milk, sugar and cardamom, it is prepared by boiling this combination together on a low flame.  

Chai Karak spreadRecipe For You

If you’d like to attempt making this drink at home, here’s a simple recipe or you:  

  • In your tea pot, mix 2 teaspoons of loose black tea or 3 tea bags and add 3 cups of water  
  • Add a fat pinch of cardamom powder, about ¼ teaspoon
  • Put the same amount of cinnamon
  • Include 4 strands of saffron
  • Optional spices to add are cloves of carnation, ginger and anis star
  • Top with sugar to sweeten and boil for 2 minutes
  • Add evaporated milk or condensed milk until you get a creamy caramel colour
  • Boil further for two minutes and simmer and repeat two more times
  • Pour the tea in a cup through a strainer
  • Savour your delicious Karak Tea 

The Spices

Cardamom is the main spice in Yafa Café, used in our dishes, in our honey cardamom latte and in our karak tea. The cardamom is believed to have many health benefits. It is said to relieve:

  • bloating
  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • reduces inflammation in the body
  • lowers blood pressure

Nothing can beat the karak in winter and it is loved. Give it a go with your favourite Yafa Café dessert.

Chair karak tea at Yafa Café

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Yafa Cafe Shish barak main dish catering menu

Sunshine Makes Things Grow on Our Menu

By Update

Summer is here, it’s an excellent time for all of us. The sun is shining and the surf beckons. Despite the pandemic. we feel like the butterfly emerging from her cocoon; transformed and free to soar.
Yafa Cafe patio

Heartbreaking Setbacks

After an extended period of remodelling in 2019, we had some heartbreaking setbacks causing unexpected delays. Someone running off with our money. We wondered how we would ever see our renovation completed. But here we are at last! Thrilled to serve you the most delicious cuisine inspired by the simplicity of Arabic street food. It’s full of flavours, divine and prices are always affordable.

Options For Every Palate

Whether vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or meat-friendly, we create dishes to please every palate. Each ingredient for every meal is lovingly prepared according to the traditions of our family. Authenticity is truly something you can taste. If you have never before traveled to the Arabic coastal communities, rest assured, we’re delivering their delicacies to you right here. Now you can dine-in, takeout, order for delivery through Door Dash or Skip the Dishes, or have your special event catered.

We want to make it effortless for you to enjoy the many new dishes added to our menu, all made possible by the additional equipment we acquired to offer even more delicious options:

  • Try the falafel — made from chickpeas and spices, rolled into balls and deep-fried to perfection.
  • Treat yourself to a shawarma, seasoned meats that are thinly cut and stacked on a vertical rotisserie, allowing tender slices to be shaved for your eating pleasure, while it continually rotates to ensure consistency in our offering.
  • Then there’s the ever-popular manakeesh — a versatile flatbread made sweet or savoury according to its toppings, like a pizza.

Yafa Cafe Cheese and veggie manakeeshIn honour of introducing some new items, we’ve created some food and drink specials you’re sure to love:

  • Baklawa and coffee for $5
  • Seniors who are 60+ get a 10 % daily discount off any order

A Menu Sneak Peek

The original dishes are back! We added some new selection. Exciting and delicious menu items for you to indulge in.

The best place to start is the appetizers. We’ve added three new ones to introduce our taghmees culture. Taghmees refers to dipping in Arabic. It is usually part of sharing practice in Arabic cuisine but with the pandemic, it’s best to each get your own.

Brunch Meals

We introduced the Tunisian Shakshuka, eggs with tomatoes, and the Potato Mfarrakeh, potato and eggs marinated with spices. Then there’s the famous Lebanese Batata Harra, cubed potato fries mixed with cilantro, lemon, garlic, and chilli flakes. All are perfect for brunch.

Main Dishes

We brought back the Msakhan sandwich wrapped with veggies and introduced the Iraqi Vegetarian Sandwich. We offered it to some of our guests to try, and they raved about it so much that we just had to add it to the main menu. As for the Main entrées in our catering menu, we added the masterpiece of Syrian Cuisine, the Shishbarak Dumplings. Ear-shaped dough filled with meat, spices, and herbs, dipped in a cooked garlicky olive oil infused with dry mint yogourt stew, this one is surely to impress your guests. We tried it out as specials, and the response was overwhelming.

Yafa Cafe Shish barak main dish catering menuThe Bamya (ladies’ fingers or okra) is an okra with meat stew. The okra is cooked in a tantalizing tomato base topped with fried garlic and served with fresh bread. You can also eat it with rice for an exquisite experience.

For the perfect as a sharing meal, opt for the Farrouj Mashwi. It’s a whole grilled chicken with a taste to remember.

Dessert

Basbousa, a semoulina cake, and baklawa (baklava) are both vegan option that can satisfy the sweet tooth that are on our menu. It took years to perfect our signature baklava recipe. The winning result is a melt-in-your-mouth treat that has since become a customer favourite. Handmade in the Yafa Café bakery, this sweet Arabic dessert is crafted with 60 paper-thin phyllo pastry leaves featuring layers of minced walnuts, almonds, plant-based ghee, cinnamon, honey, rose water, and a splash of lemon.

Drinks

Yafa Café launched many yummy and lovely drinks, served at our coffee bar for you to enjoy. We added more than ten new fantastic selections of drinks that our baristas have crafted. One of the notable ones is the mango smoothie, a must try. You will be impressed for sure!

A Final Thought

We encourage you to come in and try them out in person! We’re cooking up love from the other side of the world. After all, food is love. It brings people together. It comforts, it nourishes, it delights. Thank you for letting us share the love with you. We hope you’ll be back for more.

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Yafa Café patio furniture

Community Response Restores Our Patio and Faith

By Update

Since the start of Covid-19, Yafa Cafe has been creatively continuing to offer the community our unique style of Arabic street food. In our efforts, we enhanced our delivery and pick-up services and offered outdoor patio seating in front of the restaurant.

Our Patio Expansion

We found that seating outside the front of the restaurant was nice but noisy from the street traffic. This need for quieter outdoor seating is where the idea came to expand our back-patio area, adding seating, lights, decor, a garden, and music. This patio would also offer a lovely choice for physical distancing and when the weather is beautiful even when our restaurant’s dine-in area is open.

Yafa Café patio furniture

In our efforts, we purchased patio items such as stainless-steel tables, wicker chairs, flowerpots, decor, and other seating. The patio area was shaping up to be as we hoped, and we put all the items out on Friday, June 12th.

Thieves in the Night

Over the weekend, we came to open the restaurant to discover someone stole our patio furniture and decor. Our hearts broke that someone in our neighbourhood could take from us during the hard time’s businesses are having due to Covid-19. The monetary value was not high, but during this time, every dollar counts. The destruction of the expansion and the disappointment in our fellow humans were even more of a loss.

Restaurant’s Saturday-night patio thieves

Springing into Action

We took to social media and local news to tell the story of our loss. The community responded strongly to what had happened. Neighbours and other businesses offered tables, chairs, and umbrellas to replace the stolen items. Our hearts were grateful, but we were afraid that if we replaced the items, the thieves would return and take them. We were not willing to take this chance with other people’s patio furniture.

A neighbouring business, Alpha Technologies Inc., caught a security camera video of the thieves. They posted the video on YouTube. Other members of the community and business owners took to social media sharing the video and going on the hunt. The people in the community formed a small army and were not going to allow this in their neighbourhood.

Yafa Café Trip Advisor

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Caught and Returned

The efforts of everyone in the community who shared the video and the local news coverage paid off! Due to social media shares, callouts, and community help, the police located the thieves who stole our furniture, ornaments, and flowerpots. Unbelievably, we also came to the restaurant to find all the missing items at our doorstep. This unexpected return was a surprising turn of events. We never anticipated seeing any of our patio furniture or decor again.

Patio Expansion and Security

Due to the circumstances, we have decided to delay the patio expansion for now. We plan to install concrete furniture that will be difficult to steal. Since the furniture reappeared, we will still offer some outdoor seating and make adjustments to protect our property. We will bring in furniture at night, add some lighting, and add another security camera.

A Big Thank You

We cannot thank you enough for your efforts to help us. We knew we had thoughtful neighbours, but this has shown that we can count on you in times of need. The videos, sharing, and callouts helped police catch the thieves, and amazingly the items were returned! This outcome was due to your caring actions and wish to help your neighbour in their time of distress. Our thanks will be everlasting and expressed as much as possible. We will always be here for you as well, the community and the people in it mean so much to us.

 

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Iraqui sandwich, Baghdadi Arous

Chef’s Tips for Building a Better Sandwich

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The variety of main dishes in Middle Eastern cooking is as great as one would expect from an area that extends, in culinary terms, from the Arabian Sea in the East to the Atlantic Ocean in the West, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the North to the Indian Ocean in the Southeast. Some affinities and cross-connections are related to Persian dishes that are also inspired Ottoman court cooks. People with a pastoral tradition, past or present, share a preference for roasts and kebabs. The sea offer riches that coastal dwellers cannot ignore.

In all these places, and in Arab homes by the millions, there exists an interest in food and a dedication to quality in its preparation. This is the main reason that the character and excellence of Arabian cuisine has been preserved over centuries.

Initiation to Cooking

For many of us, a sandwich was the first meal we learned to make for ourselves. Who wants soggy bread and fillings that fall out? It takes only one disappointing lunch, homemade or store-bought, to realize just how much can go wrong. So how do you maximize flavour, manage sogginess, maintain structural integrity, and achieve the most well-balanced and delicious sandwich possible?

Iraqui sandwich, Baghdadi ArousA sandwich can be the most basic of culinary creations. There are a few things we learned about making a sandwich the right way.

The Art of The Sandwich

With countless variations to satisfy every palate, such as dietary restrictions and the time of day, we want to provide you with tips and tricks from our sandwich-making professionals at Yafa Cafe. The fundamental principles and best practices of sandwich construction straight from the experts. Here’s the are their main recommendations.

1. Start With Good Bread

If you pair moist fillings with soft, fluffy slices of bread, you’ll end up with a soggy sponge, not a sandwich. The more moist the filling, the drier and denser the bread should be. A good, thick crust helps.

2. Balance

Achieve balance by choosing a protein that pairs well with it and then add a few other ingredients to make the sandwich a balanced whole.

3. Avoid Sogginess

We all love lettuce and tomato, but they lend moisture as they mainly contain water. They are also prone to wilting and making the bread soggy. Replace it with roasted peppers, sliced fennel, shredded carrots, spinach, shredded cabbage, avocado, or cucumber.

4. Spreads

Spread mayo, butter or cream cheese to the edges of each slice of bread to create a seal against wet sandwich fillings.

5. Moist Ingredients

If you really cannot skip moist ingredients like tomatoes, pickles, and lettuce, add them to the sandwich just before you’re ready to eat it. Toasting the bread can help too.

6. Go Easy on The Onions

Take the edge off onions as they can give sandwiches a welcome bite but often must be tamed a little to be enjoyed raw. Soak thinly sliced onions in ice water for few minutes. Drain and blot dry. This adds crispness.

7. A little Crunch Goes a Long Way

Get that crunchy effect by washing and storing your greens and veggies in the fridge before making the sandwich.

8. Layer it Well

Put the meat and cheese on the bottom. It helps to combat sogginess. Add watery veggies such as sliced tomatoes in the center and then add the crisper ones as the top layer.

9. Wrap Properly

If not eaten right after they are made, a sandwich should be wrapped tightly. Greaseproof-paper, or baking paper, is ideal for helping to keep a sandwich at its best.

10. Compliment The Character of the Bread

If the bread is mildly flavoured, go for bolder choices for the protein and fillings. If you have a hearty bread, tone down the flavour of the fillings.

11. Spiciness

Finally, be careful with very spicy and bold items like hot mustard, jalapenos, and olives. These ingredients can overwhelm a sandwich in a heartbeat.

Your Turn

There you have it, some basic tips to making your sandwich like a pro. Give it a whirl and let us know how you fair!

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Valentine's Day coffee beans heart

Valentine’s Day Special Dinner

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Valentine’s day dates back to Roman times. For many years, the Western world celebrated Valentine’s Day while other watched. Red roses, heart shaped balloons and stuffed animals are now also for sale everywhere in the world. The whole world smiles on couples every February 14th.

Valentine’s Day Evolution

It wasn’t always like this. Egyptian florists used to be forbidden to sell red roses on Valentine’s Day. Saudi Arabian’s weren’t able to celebrate it openly until 2017.

In recent times, the Arab world opted into the love holiday. Couples go out for an intimate dinner, restaurants often offer a special menu for the day. Chocolate will be there, but Persians for example prefer what they call Love Cake. The legend goes that a Persian girl fell in love with a prince and served him this cake garnished with pistachios and rose petals.

Reservation at Yafa Café For V Day

Here at Yafa Café we always believed in the power of love to change the world. Our food always tastes so good because we make it with love. We invite you to make a reservation for two at Yafa Café on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day coffee beans heart

You will find our delicious Arabic food is perfect for sharing with your significant other. You and your sweetheart can enjoy a beautiful meal together while listening to romantic Arab love songs. They sound sweeter played on the oud, one of the oldest stringed instruments.

Share some mouthfuls from our delicious dishes and decadent desserts, laugh and talk. When conversation lulls, gaze into each other’s eyes as the music flows through you.

Galentine’s Day

If you find yourself dreading Valentine’s Day as it draws near, don’t worry. February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day has become known as Galentine’s Day. This is a day for women everywhere to celebrate their female friendships. Whether you are single by choice or by circumstance, this day is for you (and your friends).

Believe it or not, a fictional character on a TV series in 2010 invented Galentine’s Day. It’s often marked by gathering up all your female friends and going out to eat together. That is what they did in the show. Single or not, it’s a day to forget about Valentine’s Day and instead laugh, share, catch up over great food. Two strong women co-own our café and we opened it in tribute to our mothers and grandmothers cooking. The fresh and healthy Arabic food is based on many of the recipes they passed down. Make a reservation for you and your besties (BFFs) at Yafa Cafe on February 13th. You can enjoy and share our delicious food. We even promise to have decadent chocolate desserts on the menu for you.

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