Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dr. Laffa, Iraqi Food

Dr. Laffa is a small enterprise offering certified kosher, Iraqi (this may seem like a misnomer) food, on the side a factory building located at 40 Magnetic drive, unit 44-3, North York. It is not easy to find. Being this kind of kosher, it has no meat or milk products in it's food. The hours are Sunday to Friday 9:30am to 7pm. They are closed Saturday. Don't let any of these cultural statements inhibit or discourage you. The people  there love you to indulge in good eating and enjoy yourself.

When you enter, the friendly and helpful staff will get you started. You may eat in (limited seating) or take out. On entering, you will know that these people are very serious followers of the Israeli soccer team, by the posters on the wall. The other poster that greets you is:

Before you order, you try to get a sense of the place. There are 2 baking kilns.

The kiln below holds 3 laffa on the interior wall much like an Indian tandoor is used to bake various indian breads, like naan.

The co-owner/baker prepares the dough by hand, initially shaping the dough into balls, which rest and then are flattened and spread over a cotton covered convex shaped former.

When finished and removed from the oven, the laffa look like this:

There also is a unit containing so many delicious toppings if you get sandwiches to take out (or eat in).

When you order, your order comes with small complementary bowls of pickled veg, hummus, spiced carrots and spiced beets. I ordered shakshuka ($8.00), eggs that are poached in a mildly spicy tomato puree with garlic, onion and coriander and topped with chopped parsley and brought to the table in the hot fry pan. I have plated these items below. The 2 small bowls visible below contain hummus and a small bowl of pickled veg. Behind the 2 small bowls is a "sabih", misc veg rolled in a laffa (more on this later). A laffa is the relatively large blister surfaced flatbread covered in sesame seeds, on the side. Topping the laffa with the  tomato sauce, some egg and egg yolk, is a wonderful mouthful.

A sabih ($6.00) holds chopped lettuce, slices of purple onion, chopped pickled veg such as turnip and carrots, small pieces of pureed potato fried into small balls, chunks of fried eggplant, slices of hard boiled egg, some sesame sauce (tahini), some hot sauce (if you choose) and this is all wrapped in a piece of laffa. It is a big wrap to get your mouth around but, oh so good once you do!

On Thursday and friday, "Morroccan fish" ($12.00) is available. The fish is cooked in a spicy tomato sauce flavoured with coriander, turmeric, sliced green and red pepper and chopped parsley. It is wonderful spooned on your laffa.

Dr Laffa is is worth the journey, for both the food and the experience. 

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