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Dining

5 thoughts on the annual Lebanese American Festival

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A vegetarian sandwich on crepe-like saj flatbread was one of the best bites at the annual Lebanese American Festival.
Photo: Jason Harris
Jason Harris

1. I always enjoy finding booths that sell either specialty foods or no food at all at food fests like this one, held at the St. Sharbel Maronite Catholic Mission of Las Vegas October 11-13. At the Greek festival a few weeks ago, there was a fantastic kiosk with interesting, delicious types of honey—mango honey, rose honey—and each was better than the last. While I enjoyed the traditional Lebanese dancing costumes displayed at one booth at this weekend’s Lebanese fest, I have to think the guy advertising his automotive repair shop a few spaces down felt a bit out of place.

2. While Middle Eastern food is known for its deliciously spiced meats, the best thing at this fest was a vegetarian sandwich on saj, an almost crepe-like flatbread made on a heated dome also known as a saj. The sandwich included labneh, strained yogurt that’s basically a Middle Eastern cream cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, a really nice punch of mint, and zataar, an oil and herb blend with sesame seeds and sumac. Filling and fresh, this was as good as any wrap you might desire.

3. Meats were bountiful with the most scrumptious being the succulent kofta kabob. The ground meat that made up the sausage-like meat roll was juicy and flavorful.

4. As new festivals emerge featuring greater varieties of food, it’s time for more traditional fests like this one to consider expanding the menu. The food truck fiestas at South Point and Silverton tout trucks from all over the country and even more diverse cuisines. It was odd to see Mexican and Asian stations at the Lebanese fest; I would have preferred a few more vendors digging deeper into Lebanese cuisine.

5. Every time I see a bouncy house, I immediately want to jump in it. A micro-second later, I remember I don’t want another torn ACL. Memories will have to do.

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