Aladdin’s Eatery – Guest Blog by Jerome McButters

Aladdin's Eatery on Urbanspoon

SO you want to eat Healthy or Healthier…

Healthier options are hard to find. We really don’t have places that specialize in pure healthier eats that I’ve found yet, but one place I know is right in my neck of the woods and produces a unique and flavorful blend of approaches to nutritious (and delicious) food. When Aladdin’s opened up a few years back I was extremely skeptical. To be honest I am not really a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, but when I first tried Aladdin’s I soon took to their take on the flavors of the land of Jafar, Aladdin, and The Genie. With so many choices that cover most every food need you won’t be dissatisfied with the menu (especially the desert- go with the carrot cake!). But the great thing about this place is the fact that you can still eat healthy and not sacrifice any flavor. A small part of a strip mall in the North Hills, I wouldn’t call it the ideal location, but the restaurant is the right size allowing for minimal waits and great customer service.

When I first went there years back I tried what they call a Pita Pitza, which quickly became my favorite type of menu item, so that’s what I selected to try this last time- The Aladdin’s Chicken Pitza to be exact which came recommended by our waitress. GARLIC ALERT!!! BE WARNED (as I was warned)… if you are selecting this place the day of a meeting or a date, you may not want to be within 20 feet of someone you are trying to impress without vigorously brushing your teeth and using mouthwash. On the bright side- if there’s a vampirepocalypse this should ensure your safety for a few days. But to garlic lovers everywhere- live dangerously. For starters, however, I went with a side salad with a substitute dressing, the Almond Nut dressing. The salad came at a great side portion, but the dressing is what makes it. It’s more of a paste than anything, but boy does it pack a flavor. It comes sort of bitter but it has a hidden kick to it, which you really have to try. Very smooth taste, and is almost like a hummos feel.

But the main focus is the Pitza, which is basically a pizza, but instead of dough, there are a few pitas made together as the base, complete with chunks of char-grilled chicken, diced scallions, green peppers, Garlic sauce, and Honey Dijon dressing, this item is easily my favorite. It has sweet taste with just a little crispiness from the pita with the fresh bite of the green peppers. As far as flavor goes this has the right amount since you aren’t overwhelmed by garlic, or the Dijon dressing in the least bit. And as far as portion goes, this is just the right size. As Goldilocks would say, “it’s just right,” so it’s perfect for those of you watching portion control. Unlike traditional pizza which fills you up on the dough really fast, the pita as the base is light and actually gives off a good bit of taste the way Aladdin’s has their pitas made. For those of you that love anything Dijon and love chicken as much as me, this is a must have and comes recommended from more people than just me. Taking into account the taste and unique presentation, as well as the healthier eating factor I give this a solid 8.5 out of 10 for a meal.

If you ever find your way to the North Hills, and you like Hummus and have a taste for something different, you have to try Aladdin’s. It’s something you don’t get to have everyday and you won’t go home disappointed.

Addition by Chris Jobes - Jerome and I went to lunch at Aladdin’s 2 weeks ago and I found myself more impressed with the food than previous times before. Like Jerome I ordered a Pitza but I chose Farrouk’s Falaffel Pitza that has Tahini Yogurt dressing topped with chunks of falaffel, yellow pepper rings, and diced tomatoes and garnished with chopped parsley. I have yet to find a perfect falaffel in Pittsburgh and chances are that I won’t. I did like that the falaffel was broken up on the Pita Pitza and the yellow pepper ringsreally brought out flavor that was also matched nicely with the Tahini Yogurt. We also started lunch with an order of hummos, that by itself was average. If you have had one chick pea right? What made the hummos at Aladdin’s so much better is the hot sauce that was offered to us. If your server doesn’t ask if you want it, make sure you ask for it because it is totally worth it. We kept it on the side because at first we weren’t sure if we would like it, but next time that is getting mixed in early on! Inside the hot sauce was a typical blend of savory spices all mixed together with a mediterranean feel, I think they hit this hot sauce perfectly!

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