Flatbreads & Community at Manakeesh
Adam Erace takes in Manakeesh, the Lebanese bakery and cafe at 45th and Walnut. He finds everything you would want in a neighborhood cafe plus Lebanese bites including the manakeesh, a Middle Eastern flatbread sandwich.
The manakeesh options roll 21 deep here, and after three trips, the vegetarian varieties get my vote. The 700-degree dome lures out a woodsy aroma of thyme in a za’atar-covered manakeesh, and lifting that still-warm flatbread to your mug is like catching a whiff of a forest fire. (Sesame and sumac join the herb in the spice blend, the latter accounting for the lemony wallop resounding across the palate.) Topped with feta and akawi, a Middle Eastern fromage that calls to mind queso fresco, the cheese manakeesh is good and salty on its own, but better as a “Combo” (half za’atar). I also dug the “Kishk,” a crushed tomato/cracked wheat/fresh yogurt tang factory as refreshing as citron sorbet.