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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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Covid-19, Delivery food bag

Our response to The COVID-19 Crisis

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Like all restaurants across the world, we have been monitoring developments with the spread of COVID-19 very closely. The necessary adjustment were made and accustomed to the needs of containing the virus.

Responding to Covid-19

To ensure we abide by recommendations and promote social distancing, we closed our dine-in area. We remain committed to serving the community and ensuring our employees’ livelihood by offering food delivery and pick up. You can call us to place your order at 204-221-1636 or 204-295-7155. Delivery is available for certain part of the city directly by calling us.

Covid-19, Delivery food bagWe continue our partnership with Uber Eats and Skip The Dishes but have unfortunately terminated our contract with DoorDash. Our opening hours were modified to 12 pm to 6 pm. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve unfortunately had to lay off some of our employees which saddens up deeply.

Sanitization

Other changes we’ve implemented are adding a glass panel between the kitchen are and the counter. While we always maintain our restaurant in tip top shape and spotless, we’ve increased the cleaning and sanitization frequency. In addition, only one employee works the kitchen to minimize contact and contamination. We will continue to intensify our food safety protocols to uphold the highest possible hygiene standards and strive to provide a fast, fresh, personalized and most importantly safe experience.

Helping The Community

On March 25, we wanted to extend our help to the Grace Hospital where we offered the Emergency Ward (nurses, doctors, cleaning personnel) free wraps. The overwhelming reaction and messages we received were so heartwarming and unprecedented for us. Seeing these overworked people being so grateful for such a small act of kindness towards them brought us to our knees. We were thrilled to be a part of their day and let them know that we support them through this crisis as they are the true heros!

In addition, we donated some wraps to the residents of Heritage Lodge to help out in this time of need. With seniors being the most vulnerable, extending our help to them is our way of letting them know they are in thoughts and prayers.

If you are a senior, healthcare worker or a person with disabilities, or know someone that is, we are offering 50% off your first order nadn free delivery on subsequent orders.

Thank You to Our Customers

Without our customers, we wouldn’t be here without your support. Many people have stepped up on social media to let us know that they are supporting us to keep our staff employed and our doors open. We are ever so grateful for you, for being there and keeping us in your thoughts.

Please stay safe and take care of yourselves and each other during this difficult time. We hope this COVID-19 crisis will be over soon to be able to dine with you once again.

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Chai karak, spiced tea, winter menu

Exciting Winter Menu

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The entire Yafa Cafe team would like to wish you a happy new year! There are many restaurants in Winnipeg. We can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support and your decision to dine with us.

Chai karak, spiced tea, winter menuNew Winter Menu

To show our appreciation, we’ve just launched our new winter menu. As always, in 2020, we will continue to offer the community an exciting menu of Arabic street food. We continue to brew speciality coffees and teas, whip up healthy salads and bake sweet desserts.

Resolutions

Every year at this time we like to make some New Year’s resolutions to help us do even better in the upcoming year.

Delivery Services

A year ago, one of our resolutions was to partner with Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats. That was very successful and we now have many customers who order our food through them.

We also made renovating the café a priority in 2019. First, we revamped the kitchen so we could bring you even more great food and coffee. In the summer we brought in new custom made tables. In addition, we installed Moroccan tiles and added upholstered leather seating. To make everyone feel welcomed, we made our café to be a comfortable space.

Now we’d like to share two of the resolutions that we’ve made for 2020.

More Vegetarian Plates

The Yafa Cafe is increasingly creative with its vegetable dishes. Flavourful, colourful seasonal vegetables all taste wonderful when cooked in Arabic style.

The winter menu lists 25+ plates that are very affordable and designed for sharing. They are all brimming with complex flavours that many wouldn’t expect from vegetarian food.

Koshari

Take Koshari-it is one of Egypt’s quintessential street food staples. You can find it being sold by vendors on most street corners. The satisfying and naturally healthy mix of lentils, white rice and pasta is topped with a spicy tomato sauce and garnished with caramelized onions and boiled chickpeas. A Middle Eastern spice mix added to the sauce brings out all the deliciousness so the combination becomes an incredibly satisfying vegan dish. It couldn’t be simpler, more delicious or affordable! Everyone in Egypt enjoys it as it’s very flavoursome. The differences are where it’s eaten and the quality of the ingredients used.

We use only the best grains in our Koshari and other dishes. The vegetables are always grown locally whenever possible. All the food freshly prepared every day by our team of chefs. They thoughtfully come up with delightful, different and delicious flavour combinations.

Live Music

When you walk in through our doors we want you to experience all the warmth and magic of Arabic culture. We want you to feel welcome and we love familiarizing you with our culture. Music is an important part of it so every Friday and Saturday night we will feature local musicians playing Arabic classics on stringed Oud instruments. These traditional tunes are very beautiful and nostalgic-we invite you to sit back and enjoy the music as you dine on delicious dishes from Yafa’s kitchen.

On nights that we feature live music we require a minimum purchase of $15 in order to support our ongoing commitment to top quality entertainment). We also host many community events throughout the year. We love being part of the community here in the city and like to promote community causes whenever we are able.

Final Words

Our goal is to be a great restaurant not just an average one. It won’t happen overnight but we are always working hard at it. So, stop by to try our new winter menu. Come in for the warm vibes as you enjoy great Arabic food while learning a little bit about our culture at the same time.

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Updated dishes from Yafa Café, msakhan wrap

Updated Dishes & New Look to Serve You Better

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Summer is here, and so are all our visitors, family and friends. It’s an excellent time for all of us, especially that we have updated dishes and a new look for you.

The sun is shining and the surf beckons. Thanks to everyone who visited and has taken the time to review our café.

Updated dishes from Yafa Café, msakhan wrapRemodelling

After an extended period of remodelling, we feel like the butterfly emerging from her cocoon. We’ve transformed and free to soar.
We are thrilled to serve you the most delicious cuisine inspired by the simplicity of Arabic street food. With flavours so divine and always prices affordable. Whether vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or meat-lover, we create dishes to please every palate.

New Services

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 travelled to the Arabic coastal communities, rest assured, we’re delivering their delicacies to you right here. You can dine-in, take-out, get delivered, book catering or reserve for parties at our café.

Updated Dishes

We want to make it effortless for you to enjoy the many new dishes added to our menu. It’s all possible thanks to the additional equipment we bought to offer you even more delicious options:

  • Try the falafel — made from chickpeas and spices, rolled into balls and deep-fried to perfection
  • Treat yourself to shawarma — seasoned meats that are thinly cut and stacked on a vertical rotisserie
  • Give it a go with the ever-popular manakeesh — a versatile flatbread made sweet or savoury according to its toppings, like a pizza

Menu Specials

In honour of introducing our new menu, we created some food and drink specials you will surely to love:

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

Final Words

We’re cooking up love from the other side of the world. 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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Tunisian Shakshuka in Kalaya-style

Sneak Peek Into Our New Menu Options

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Happy Canada Day! We’ve been working hard over the last few months. Our menu got a makeover with summer flavours infused. To celebrate the new season, our chef has introduced a selection of new menu options. These exceptional dishes showcase the best Arabic cuisine.

New Menu Options

We’ve kept some original dishes plus added a great new selection with some exciting and delicious new menu options. Here are some of the updates for you.

Appetizers

The best place to start is the appetizers. We’ve kept the most popular items and added 3 new ones to introduce our Taghmees “dipping” culture. It means sharing practice in Arabic cuisine.

We introduced the Tunisian Shakshuka in Kalaya-style and the Potato Mfarrakeh Kallaya, potato and eggs marinated with spices.  Also, we added the famous Lebanese Batata Harra, cubed potato fries mixed with cilantro, lemon, garlic, and chilli flakes.

Tunisian Shakshuka in Kalaya-style

Main Entrées

The masterpiece of Syrian Cuisine are a new addition. The Shishbarak Dumplings, ear-shaped dough filled with meat, spices, and herbs, dipped in a cooked yogurt sauce with garlicky olive oil infused with dry mint. Shishbarak was initially sampled as a special and the response was overwhelming.

You are going to love the Bamya (ladies’ fingers). This stew cooked in a tantalizing tomato base topped with fried garlic and served with fresh bread.

Farrouj Mashwi is our latest feature. Get a whole grilled chicken with a taste to remember.

Wraps

The Msakhan sandwich wrapped with veggies and introduced the Iraqi Vegetarian Sandwich-Baghdadi Arous, are back. Some of our guests tried it, and they raved about it so much that we just had to add it to the main menu. You will see that this is the most incredible sandwich you have ever tried. Filled with fried vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, salad, shatta (hot sauce), hummus, and pickled mangos with fenugreek, it’s a taste you will remember.

Iraqui sandwich, Baghdadi Arous

Family Platters & Combos

Next, we went heavy on the family platters and the combos. We realized that everyone has their own individual taste, different but all good. When you’re dining out with a group of people it gives you the freedom of choice.

Desserts

The signature baklava recipe took years to perfect. The winning result is a melt-in-your-mouth treat. It 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. It features layers of minced walnuts, almonds, plant-based ghee, cinnamon, honey, rose water, and a splash of lemon.

We have introduced the basbousa, made with semolina ghee and our yummy syrup. Both are a vegan option to satisfy the sweet tooth.

New menu options, Basbousa dessertDrinks

In the drinks department, we added more than 10 new fantastic selections of drinks that our baristas have crafted. It will impress you for sure!

Final Words

Discover the dishes scented with aromatic spices, succulent desserts and lovely drinks served at our café.  Those are the highlights from the new menu. Come on in and try them out and let us know your thoughts!

 

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Helping People like Maria

Helping People like Maria Start a New Life

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We are helping one of our own, and we hope you will join in.

Helping People like Maria

Ghada, Maria’s Mom

We are helping one of our own, and we hope you will join in. Ghada, Maria’s mom, arrived in Canada in August 2015. She lost 4 of her children. Ghada’s journey to Canada was one of much hardship and pain. She is thankful every day that two of her surviving children, aged 14 and 19 are happy, safe and can go to school here. Ghada is longing to have her other daughter Maria (28) and her grandchildren to join her. She hopes that Maria and her family are going to be safe. Canadian supporters would help them once they reach Canada.

Support From Winnipeg

A group of concerned Winnipeg-based Canadians, and the owners, employees and members of the Yafa Café, have partnered with the Mennonite Church. We are working together to facilitate the sponsorship of Maria and her family: the parents and their two children. Our mission is to sponsor and make a difference in the lives of this family of four. We aim to bring them to safety and security in Canada. To do that, we have a massive goal of raising $12,800 for the family. The in-kind deductions have reduced the amount set out by Canada. The family we are sponsoring is related to a Winnipeg family and a worker at Yafa Café. We raised some money to pay for the family to be sponsored to come to Canada.

How Far Would You Go?

How far would a mother go to save her family? For Maria, the question was one of life and death. When Ghada, a widowed mother, first worked for us at Yafa Cafe in the winter of 2017, she was a proud woman. She didn’t want to stay on social assistance. However, it was apparent that she was in distress.

Later we found that four of her children had died during the Syrian war. The reasons were diverse:

  • lack of medications
  • bombing
  • sudden illness
  • not finding treatment
  • a disabled child who could not live under the stress of war

She was in a dire situation. Ghada sold her last remaining pieces of gold jewellery to pay for their medical treatment. It did not help. She lost her husband and four children. With a heavy heart, she walked the journey to Jordan with her remaining three children.

Dangerous Road Ahead

They had to make a dangerous journey through a war zone. Passing countless checkpoints, they were at the mercy of cruel security forces. Ghada and her children lived in a tent at Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Her daughter Maria got married. She did not qualify as accompanying dependent with her mother when Ghada was selected as a refugee by Canada. The situation for this beautiful family could not be more perilous. These are people with lives and families and careers that are facing a choice that none of us can imagine. Our Yafa Café Group, like so many others that I know, wants to do something. But it is expensive to get a family relocated to Winnipeg.

Raising Funds

For each adult and family, we must raise enough money to help with rent, furniture, food, clothing, medical aid, and general living expenses. We will be responsible for all their needs for one full year. We are a very committed group. Mobilizing the passion and concern within our community to act and help those affected and displaced by civil war is our aim. Along the way, we are organizing and hosting other awareness events and activities. This will bring awareness to the plight of this displaced family and hope you can join us.

Celebrate Father’s Day With Us

Father’s Day is coming up on June 16th! The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. A great way to show Dad you care by treating him to Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner at Yafa Cafe this month! We’ve got a menu that’s sure to suit his every craving. Catch up over hearty favorites like our Makloubeh, grilled BBQ platters, Manakeesh and extravagant Arabic desserts.

Share a Yafa Cafe Gift Card With Someone You Love

Summer and holidays are right around the corner. This is a perfect opportunity to give the gift of an Award-Winning Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch this season! Yafa’s gift cards are perfect for Easter Baskets, Mother’s Day, End-of-Year Teacher Gifts, Graduations, Father’s Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries & more!

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News Release – Grand Opening

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Winnipeg, Manitoba, a new café has opened its doors in Winnipeg.

Yafa Café Arabic Street Food Ltd., owned and operated by Rana and Sarah Abdulla, is set to be home to a stunning new café, loved and renowned for its architecture, its art, its great service, and, for its superb food and coffee.

Yafa Café, offers state of the art modern facilities with its Arabic ambiance, for a vibrant experience. Customers enjoy greater space, more comfortable seating, a large outdoor decking space for the summer months.  It is fast becoming the go-to meeting place for coffee-loving Winnipeggers.

Rana Abdulla, the owner said “when people experience the Café, they aren’t just enjoying great food and drink in a fantastic Arabic style setting, but they also witness how we are boosting our culturally diverse city.  We have items and styles of cooking people have never seen that will draw all kinds of customers and businesses with prices that are competitive and affordable.  This is an addition to Winnipeg, not new to Winnipeg, it’s great news for everyone”.

The café is located few blocks from Polo Park on the corner of Berry and Portage and minutes away from the Assiniboine Zoo. “You can’t get a better location than that,” said Abdulla, who believes that the café’s setting, décor and healthy exotic menu will bring curious and discerning people into the eatery, and that the quality of the food and ambience will bring them back again and again, with their friends.

The owners describe it as a café and community workspace that aims to foster a vibrant culture of appreciating culture and diversity.

The entrance reflects a thoughtful reuse of an old building dating back to 1911 and the interior introduces a creative design for maximum speed and efficiency of service while shining a bright light on Arabic street food, reimagined and poised to assert itself as the best food.

­­­Read about us in the Winnipeg Free Press:
https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/food/let-your-tastebuds-travel-468670953.html

Read about us in PressReader:
https://www.pressreader.com/canada/winnipeg-free-press/20171127/281805694243528

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