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February 16, 2010 Slideshows

First Look: The Vine Mediterranean Cafe & Market 

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The latest entry into the mix of ethnic restaurants on South Grand is the The Vine and its falafel is among this town's better versions. Read Ian Froeb's full column on The Vine here. Photos by Jennifer Silverberg.
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Roudayna puts the final seasoning touches on the Mediterranean style fries.
The Vine, half café, half Mediterranean market on South Grand.
Fresh pitas baking in the oven. The dough is made every morning in-house, and then baked throughout the day.
Owner Ali Mohsen in the kitchen at The Vine with fresh dough resting on the counter-top before making its way into the oven.
Chicken Shwarma, a Middle Eastern fast-food staple, is a wrap with shaved meat from a spit, in this case, chicken. Served here with the fresh, house made French fries and the rose drink.
The Vine is an inviting space with murals, hookahs and the fabulous scent of fresh-baked goods.
Many teas and syrups, among others items, are available at The Vine Market.
Tabbouleh, a salad dish, is comprised of parsley, tomatoes, green onion, bulgar wheat, lemon juice and olive oil.
The spits in the kitchen at the Vine. The left spit is the chicken and the spit on the right is the beef and lamb. The meats are of course, halal and meet the standards set by Islamic law.
In the kitchen at the Vine the Mohsen’s work side-by-side.
The Kafta kabob is grilled Lebanese Kafta, which is lean ground beef, parsley, onions, garlic and spices served with rice and vegetables and fresh pita bread.
In the kitchen at the Vine the Mohsen’s work side by side. Here, Roudayna is preparing the kibbeh while Ali is preparing the French fries.
This dessert is the bird’s nest. It is made from shredded phyllo dough filled with kashta (which is similar to custard) and topped with a honey/ rose syrup and pistachios.
Roudayna Mohsen, wife of owner Ali Mohsen, at work in the kitchen of the Vine.
Another appetizer, shown here, is falafel. Chick peas, garlic and spices blended together and fried. You can also order the falafel as a sandwich.
Manakish, small pizza-like items, about to be cooked. From front to back they are half-Jebna and half-Za’atar, Za’atar, spinach, meat and Jebna. To clear things up, Jebna is cheese and Za’atar is a paste of thyme, mixed with extra virgin olive oil and roasted sesame seeds. All of the Manakish are made fresh with the daily baked house bread.
Appetizers: Hummus, and in background, Baba Ghanoush. Hummus is a blend of chick peas, tahini sauce, garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil. Baba ghanough is roasted eggplant, pureed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Both served with fresh, house-made pita bread.
The pickle plate comes with the combo appetizer. The bright pink vegetable is a pickled turnip. The plate also comes with green olives pickled with lemon, calamata olives in olive oil, pickled Persian cucumbers, tomato and flat leaf parsley.
Back in the restaurant, all the juices and smoothies are blended per order with fresh fruits and vegetables. This is a freshly blended apple juice.
The chicken kabob entreé is seasoned, grilled chicken breast and is served with rice, and of course, pickled turnips and tomato.
Roudayna prepares the falafel.
Mini manakish and mini pizzas! The mini manakish are spinach (closed triangle), meat (open topped pinched squares) and feta & oregano (closed pinched square topped with sesame seeds).
French fries in the happening.
Kibbeh in the making. Kibbeh are made of a bulgar wheat and beef shell. They are then stuffed with a beef, onion and almond mixture.
Next to the restaurant is the market. You can enter the market from both the street and through the restaurant. Its shelves are filled with goods from throughout the Mediterranean. Shown here are dried and ground ginger.
Owner Ali Mohsen in the kitchen at The Vine with fresh dough resting on the counter-top before making its way into the oven.

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