Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
In this economy, lunch is the new dinner.
With cash and credit getting tighter by the day, who has the capital for a big dinner out on the town? No, the meal of the day has become lunch, and fortunately we have some fine choices for quick, reasonable lunches that satisfy the craving without busting the budget.
Personal favorites include the tasty tacos at Club Chelsea’s Taqueria Sayulita, the top-shelf panini that Marco preps and presses over at Specialty Foods of Aspen, and, always a cheap choice, a slice and a root beer over at New York Pizza.
But the newcomer of the year (and one of the best things to happen to this town in some time) is Sabra’s Middle Eastern Delicatessen down in the Clark’s Market shopping center. Since April, Lior Lilah and his wife, Angie, have been serving up some of the tastiest and certainly some of the most unique lunchtime fare found in the entire Roaring Fork Valley.
As the name implies, Sabra’s cuisine is based on the foods of the Middle East. The kemia salads, based on concoctions that hail from Morocco and North Africa, are as healthy as they are appetizing. Baba ganoush, made with roasted eggplant, lemon, tahini and oil; and the garbanzo bean-based hummus, take you to Marrakech without having to take a flight. You can order them as a lunch plate with pita bread or take them home by the pound for a perfect side dish for dinner or appetizer. And you gotta try the dolamades, Grecian-style grape leaves stuffed with rice and aromatic spices.
The sandwiches, though, are the real draw. The chawarma, a shaved lamb sandwich served on Turkish bread with lettuce, tomato and onions and a signature tzatziki sauce is a favorite. But even though I usually look for a little protein in my sandwich, I have found myself ordering the falafel, a pita packed sandwich that drips and oozes tehini sauce, cabbage, salad and hot little balls of chickpeas that are fried crisp. The taste is great, but it is the hot and cold combination and the texture that makes it unlike anything else you can eat here in town.
But as good as the food is, Lior and Angie’s place is worth a stop because of the vibe that they have created. While the decor is simple, each day at lunch a cross section of the community gathers. Mothers with kids in tow, painters on a break, business people who have decided to take the walk down the hill all gather to break pita and get away from their day for a while.
It’s nice and it’s unique. Give it a try next time you’re mulling over where to go for lunch.
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