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The House of Basturma, a Middle Eastern restaurant, mini-market and gift shop

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Diane Tegarden

The House of Basturma


If you crave Middle Eastern Lebanese and Armenian shish kebab that is marinated and cooked over an open flame, served over fluffy rice pilaf with a side of hummus and fresh pita bread, you have no farther to go than The House of Basturma, located at 2487 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91104.

As you walk in, on your left you will find a mini-market stocked with dried garbanzo beans, lentils, bulgur wheat, farina, semolina and a variety of dried beans. They also stock plenty of canned goods, like: vegetable oil for cooking, stuffed grape leaves, olives, canned chick peas, coffee flavoring syrups, bottled rose water, hot pepper paste, pickles, dried noodles, hummus and an assortment of condiments.

Their gift shelves offer up unique imported finds, they sell brass coffee sets, beautiful hand-crafted Tavli boards (backgammon), miniature animals, sparkling jewelry, hookah tobacco pipes and variety of other gifts.

The Mezian family, father, mother and son have been in business for just little over a year, and are generous, friendly and helpful. The restaurant is open Monday through Thursday 9 AM to 8 PM and Friday to Saturday from 9 AM to 10 PM. Directly outside of the restaurant and adjacent to their small parking lot you will find a few tables and chairs in a shaded area where you can eat there, or take your food to go.

They serve: a delicious, tender beef filet mignon kebab; the beef lule kebab (a combination of ground lamb and ground beef mixed together); Chicken breast kebab; beef shawerma (thinly sliced cuts of meat, like chicken, beef, goat, lamb, and sometimes turkey, rolled into a large piece of flatbread or pita) kebab and chicken shawerma kebab (from $6.99 to $9.99). Their deluxe combo plate comes with three skewers of meat: one filet mignon kebab, one lule kebab and one chicken breast kebab. The burger plate includes a quarter pound cheeseburger and fries for $5.99.

The vegetarian offerings include: foul (a bean and vegetable soup), falafel (a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both) with vegetables or the veggie combo, for $6.99. You can also order a variety of vegetarian side orders including: hummus (a dip made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic), babaghanouj or mountabal (vegetable dip made with baked eggplant that is pureed with tahini, garlic, and olive oil), taboule (made with bulgur wheat, fresh parsley and mint, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, and lots of lemon juice), fatoush (a Middle Eastern bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables), tzatziki or djadjikh (a dipping sauce is made with Greek yogurt, cucumber, lemon, garlic, and fresh dill), 6 pieces of dolmas or sarma (stuffed grape leaves), six pieces of kebbeh or kofte ball (dish made of bulgur, minced onions and ground red meat, usually beef, lamb, or goat), rice pilaf, French fries, or onion rings (from $1.99 to $5.99).

They offer a variety of sandwiches including; basturma (dried spiced beef), soujouk (a dried spicy sausage), maquaniq or maani (veal sausage), beef shish kebab, kafta lule kebab, chicken breast kebab, liver kebab, beef shawerma, chicken shawerma, falafel and lahmajoun (Armenian flatbread pizza) from $1.50 to $5.99.

For dessert you can dig into a flaky baklava pastry that is dripping with honey and topped with walnuts, or try one of their Sweet Dream ice creams. Their beverages include either American or Armenian coffee, Tahn (a yogurt drink), bottled water or canned soft drinks.

They also sell their meat by the pound, and you can get your food to go or eat there. Call them to place an order for their catering at 626-345-9090 or visit the restaurant at 2487 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91104.