Friday, November 4, 2011

...Mexico Lindo & Paititi Trading (& Sababa)

 I'm not just interested in food.


Some people think that this "food blogging thing" that I do is kind of strange, but it has allowed me to do quite a few things: A.) try new foods B.) make others aware of the authentic Hispanic/Latino restaurants in the Pittsburgh area C.) share my opinions with a broad audience D.) meet new & interesting people.

One of those new & interesting people is Burgh Gourmand.  It is difficult to blog about food by going alone - so having someone to go with makes the experience much more enjoyable.  However, since I blog about Hispanic/Latino restaurants, it can get a bit monotonous, eating that one genre of food all of the time.

I'm a pretty reasonable person, so I agreed to join him at a NON-Hispanic/Latino restaurant (gasp!) on November 2nd, day 2 of The Day of the Dead (double gasp!).  We decided upon Sababa, a Middle Eastern restaurant on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

Murray Avenue.  Sound familiar?  That's where Aji Picante is located.

If you've read my post on Aji Picante, you also know that on the way there, I passed Mexico Lindo, a store dedicated to Mexican artifacts, clothing, and other treasures.  Since I knew I would be in the area, I told Burgh Gourmand that I was going to go a little early to check it out - since he was hanging out at Crazy Mocha, anyway, he decided to join me.

I love this store - it's gorgeous and colorful, and reminds me so much of the things that I saw what I was in Mexico 12 years ago (I know, I need to get back there!)...

Day of the Dead altar at Mexico Lindo
Day of the Dead information, candles, sugar skull at the middle level of the altar

Honoring those who have died in the past year

Day of the Dead information

Airplane made of Fanta cans

My favorite item - purse made of gum wrappers!  Feliz Navidad?

Copal (incense) burning at the foot of the altar

Middle level of the altar with cempazuchitl (yellow marigolds) & skulls

Skeleton feast on the altar
Closer pic of the top of the altar

Awesome skull
Skeleton display
After spending a lot of time looking at the many treasures in Mexico Lindo, we walked to Sababa for our meal.  We ordered The Rainbow, which offered samplings of stuffed grape leaves, hummus, 2 types of babaganush, and Middle Eastern-style veggies, served with warm pita bread.  It was their version of an appetizer sampler platter that you would get at a chain restaurant.

The Rainbow at Sababa Middle Eastern Restaurant & Grill
 Burgh also asked for some schwarma, a blend of turkey and lamb shaved right off of the spit, so that I could try it.

It turned out to be an entire meal for us.  I love hummus, but I had never really had it other than from a tub from the dairy section at Giant Eagle.  It was amazingly delicious - but my favorite had to be the babaganush.  It had a distinct smoky flavor that entranced me.  I couldn't get enough!

We had to have dessert, though - Apple Caramel cake, courtesy of Sweet Tammy's, the Kosher, non-dairy bakery next door.  Delectable!

Apple Caramel Cake at Sababa, courtesy of Sweet Tammy's
I think that the sign in the foyer of Sababa says it all...

When we left the restaurant, we decided to see what else we could stumble upon on Murray Ave., since I had wanted to check it out, anyway.  We walked up the street, past Mexico Lindo again, and about 2 blocks up, we came across Paititi Trading, a Peruvian store similar to Native Inka's in the Strip District (only a lot smaller).  Burgh impressed me with his Spanish language skills as he talked to the owner, who informed us that he was from Cuzco.  His wife was helping their son with his homework for the evening, and we looked around the store.  I asked if I could take pictures, but he declined (otherwise, I would have taken many!).  I can tell you that my favorite items there were the items made of alpaca fur - it is THE softest material I have ever felt in my life (and quite expensive, but I'm sure it's worth it!)

Burgh Gourmand and I experienced quite a mix of cultures that evening - Mexico meets the Middle East meets Peru - but it all made for an enjoyable experience.  Who knows what adventures await us in the future...

Mexico Lindo Mercado Y Galeria de Artesanias
2027 Murray Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Paititi Trading
1823 Murray Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Facebook: https://www.

Sababa Middle Eastern Restaurant & Grill
2121 Murray Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Sababa Middle Eastern Grill on Urbanspoon

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