Middle eastern coffee cake

When searching the best brunches in Portland online, Ya Hala, a Lebanese restaurant came up. I really liked the idea of middle eastern brunch, with lots of lamb and inventive pastries. Ya Hala is located in SE Portland, near Country Cat. I only had been there for lunch and remembered their tasty bread.

The brunch was very delicious. You could get a normal mezza platter or shakshuka (baked eggs and tomatoes) or a lamb pizza, to name a few things. I chose this delightful breakfast platter (below) with lamb bacon and mint hash.


The brunch cocktails were very refreshing like the guava mimosa or the fresh prince of beirut, with rosemary, mint and gin. They also serve traditional Turkish coffee.

Now for the most important part: the inventive pastries. I love my Asian sweets that enjoy mingling savory with sweet and Ya Hala did not disappoint. I was first drawn in by the croissant (with zaatar or chocolate halva) before deciding to order the sfoof, tumeric and anise coffee cake, studded with pistachios and served with vanilla bean cardamon icing. The tumeric made the cake more savory with its mostly sweet ingredients and was the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Turkish coffee.

I hope I can find a recipe for a similar coffee cake, but my knowledge of Indian and Middle Eastern sweets might help me recreate it on my own.

Stephanie Landis

I am a native Oregonian, but traveling has been my way of life since I was young. I was raised in Europe and traveled around Asia and Africa. I've studied two languages and plan to add more. Along with travel, enjoying a passion for food, art and culture is apart of my daily life. My hobbies other than writing are cooking, reading, watching films and attending cultural events.

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