Veggie Girl: Food From Galilee

It wouldn't be the media if there weren't a cursory reference to the recession, so here goes: Order the vegetarian Maza Tray for dinner at Food From Galilee, and your $12 will have you eating like a veggie queen (or king) for a week. Can't beat that, especially if you're a journalist in a bottomed-out economy!

Might as well squeeze in the obligatory swine flu reference, too.

Food From Galilee has long been one of my favorites, and the Maza Tray combo plate is a perfect option if you're indecisive or just want to try everything. There are huge helpings of Food From Galilee's homemade tabouli (super-fresh, and full of parsley), hummus, and fire-roasted eggplant baba ghanoush. There are four thin-rolled, flavorful grape leaves, six smooth, rich little morsels of falafel--fried in canola oil and meat-free, they promised--with plenty of pita bread and crudités for dipping. Top it off with cashew, walnut or pistachio baklava (to die for!), and you'll be a happy vegan.

Be a happy vegetarian, too. Or a happy meat-eater, for that matter.

The place is small and intimate, and as far as I can tell, it hasn't changed much since I first tried it back in the roaring 1990s. Stepping into Food From Galilee is an exercise in instant transportation to a different place--and not just because your starting point is Snider Plaza. There's Arab music playing softly from speakers near the ceiling; the tables are small, with flowered tablecloths and little candles; the walls are decorated with mirrors and lots of hanging gardens. Well, plants.

Of course, all of that pales in comparison to the food, which may be the best Middle Eastern I've had in Dallas--although I should withhold judgment, I'm told, until I've been to Café Izmir. More on that to come...

Though you can get entrée plates here--platters structured around one main dish, like hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel or grape leaves and served with pita, salad or soup--my favorite thing at Food From Galilee is order a bunch of things a la carte and mix and match. Ordered individually, things are pretty cheap, especially at lunchtime: $2.75 for a serving of hummus; $2.75 for tabouli or a Middle Eastern chopped salad; 40 cents for pita bread. Falafel sandwiches are only $4.50 for lunch ($5.25 at dinnertime), and as long as they're not crowded, service is extremely quick.

One thing to watch out for is that all of the soups are cooked with chicken broth. As is the rice--but the menu is pretty clear about that, and the wait staff is enormously courteous and helpful.

I have yet to try the Burma (honeyed shredded wheat with pistachios) or the Middle Eastern coffee, but I'll be back soon. I'm pretty sure the hummus and tabouli here are better--and certainly cheaper--than most grocery stores.

Food From Galilee
6710 Snider Plaza

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