Last week, I went to dinner with law buddies Jami and Melissa at a brand new Mediterranean restaurant in Federal Hill, Baba's Kitchen. We had these plans for a long time (need to plan ahead with our busy schedules!), and I was excited to try out the new place. But, I must admit, I sort of jumped the gun: while shopping for our ridiculous Halloween party, Xani and I went to Baba's for lunch! Oops! We had a great time - we met Farid, the owner of the place, and tried some of their awesome mediterranean eats. Also, we tried their coffee, with the amazing addition of cardamom! So delicious and interesting. So, I was excited to get back there and bring Jami and Melissa.
Melissa, Jami, and I met up at Baba's on a chilly weekday night and grabbed one of the (few) tables just in the nick of time. Since I knew Farid from my visit only a week earlier, we were treated as VIPs right off the bat!
As we were perusing the menu, we saw lots of people coming in and ordering/picking up take-out -- good thing to remember the next time I am tired of my local Chinese joint around the corner.
As is my custom, we ordered lots of things to share. We got the "Med-ley," with dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), falafel, hummus, spanikopita, and olives. We also got extra dolmas (love those things) and some baba ghanoush.
Extra dolmas - for good measure
Everything was amazing - almost as good as in Israel! The falafel was freshly made, crispy on the outside and tender and delicious on the inside. The dolmas were very flavorful from the mint, rice, and olive oil. The spanikopita was delicious and you could really taste the spinach and feta, plus the layers of buttery phyllo dough added a great bite and crunch. The hummus was smooth and classic; the baba ghanoush was also good, and had a good amount of tahini in it. A very good start to the meal.
Baba's baba ghanoush
We also got the Quinoa Tabouleh, made with quinoa, parsley, tomatoes, scallion, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice. This was a nice twist on the classic tabouleh, usually made with bulgur. Very fresh and refreshing.
Last, we got the Meditteranean (Pita) Pizza, with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, spinach, kalamata olives, feta, and basil.
I liked this pizza, but I definitely preferred the Syrian Pizza, which I got when I was there the first time with Xani. The Syrian pizza is made with oregano, sumac, English thyme, and sesame seeds. Farid gave us some fresh tomatoes and feta cheese to put on top. This pizza was really herby, and I loved the sesame seeds and olive oil. The pita underneath was crunchy, and the tomatoes and feta added texture, temperature, and of course taste. Yum!
At the end of the meal, Farid came over to chat with us since it was towards the end of the night. There had been a slight delay with our pizza, so he hooked us up with some fabulous baklava. It was sweet and crunchy and just the right little bite to end the meal.
Check out that crushed pistachio garnish
Mmmm flakes of deliciousness (and honey)
The food at Baba's is pretty spot-on if you are looking for some great Mediterranean fare. Since they have only been open for one or two months, they are still working out some kinks with their service, but that is to be expected with any new place. I am so glad to have this non-bar-food place around - we have plenty of those in this part of town and we need a little variety.
We had a lovely time at Baba's, eating, drinking (water), and of course gossiping. What better way to blow off some steam than with some hummus and really great gossip?? Thanks to Farid for a great meal, and to Jami and Melissa for the wonderful company!