Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall, Sanabel Bakery is really hard to find if you’re not actually looking for it. Look for the strip mall Sizzler is in and you will soon notice Sanabel hidden sandwiched between other mid-eastern shops, but this is the only one specializing in middle eastern food. I come here for the pizzas, small thinly crusted individually sized pizzas, called sphihas. They are topped with a bunch of different things ranging from chicken, ground beef or lamb to just cheese and spinach (pictured), each with its own unique flavor and each more delicious than the next.
My favorites are the ones, incidentally, the most traditional ones called lahmbiajin, are topped with tomatoes, onions and ground meat or the shredded chicken and cheese, though heavier than the lahmbiajin, is non-threatening enough for even the most unadventurous of palates. If you have room, try the spinach and cheese version where they top the pizza with fresh spinach after it comes out of the oven. The freshness of the leaves gives a wonderful contrast to the heat emitting from the pie right out of the oven.
Zaatar (or zahtar, za’atar) is a blend of different dried herbs generally consisting of thyme, oregano, salt and sesame seeds. Some versions may include cumin, coriander or even caraway seeds depending on the region. Zaatar is used on one of Sanabel’s pizzas which makes it a perfect side item to a meal such as kofta or falafel plate.
I find that there are days when I’m completely craving one of these pizzas and so we make the almost 30-minute drive to Anaheim just to eat two pizzas each. The pizzas are cheap, most are under $2 and even if it is over, it’s only a few cents more than the $2, nothing that would break the bank, and best of all, they’re so damn good so even if you end up eating four of them, it’ll only set you back around $10.
Sanabel Bakery, 816 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804. Tel: 714-635-4353