Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
An Education in Ottoman Pastry: La Cafe
I love finding a food that I haven't seen before. I wandered into La Cafe on Regents Road in University City looking for a sandwich and ended up getting educated about burekas, also known as boreka, burek, byoreka, and many other names, depending on where it's made.
La Cafe is a Kosher restaurant and bakery. They serve vegetarian and middle eastern fare, pastries, and cakes, along with a few nods to south of the border (breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros).
A bureka is a filled pastry, most often savory, made with phyllo dough or puff pastry. It probably originated in the Anatolian region of the early Ottoman Empire in what is now Turkey. From there, it traveled and evolved into many different forms, with unique regional fillings.
La Cafe's bureka is Isreali style, and comes filled with mashed potatoes ($8.95) or cheese ($9.95). I chose a potato one, which has a small chopped salad and a hard boiled egg on the side.
Well, yum. The warm potato filling was surrounded by phyllo, then wrapped into a spiral. The filling was smooth, thick and just rich enough, and the phyllo was baked into flaky, crisp goodness. The portion was huge - I took most of it home. It reheated well and enjoyed another life as a side dish for two. The salad wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it was very fresh and provided a nice counterpoint to the pastry.
I also had a good double espresso ($2.50) to ward off any sleepiness from the twofold hit of carbs.
Next time, I'll try the Shakshuka ($9.95), a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions.
6104 Regents Rd.
San Diego, CA 92122
Sunday - 8.30 am - 8.30 pm
Monday -Thursday - 7.30 am - 8.30 pm
Friday - 7.30 am - 2.00 pm
Saturday - 6.00 pm - 10.00 pm
Free lot parking.
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