A couple of weeks ago, I did the unthinkable: I went to a Lebanese bakery not recommended by my parents. They haven’t forgiven me for ignoring their advice, and I don’t know if they ever will. Regardless, I risked their wrath, just so I can stuff my face with unfamiliar mana’eesh and then write about it.
I won’t ask that you thank me, but as you read this post, please remember that this delicious experience was built on my parents’ tears.
But, hell, if you’re going to piss off your family, why not do it with mana’eesh? Look at it! Straight out of the oven! So tasty!
There were five of us eating that day, and I can tell you what everyone else thought, but they’re not here and they didn’t betray their parents to write this post, so who cares. For me, the best pie is easily the spinach (pictured above), flavourful and juicy, plus you can fool yourself that it’s healthy if you’re so inclined. The cheese pie comes a close second, followed closely by the meat. The za’atar is well-seasoned but the version we got was pretty obviously overbaked, and therefore dry like a cracker.
Challal Pastries has all the ambience of a half-finished basement office from the 80s, but the man behind the counter was friendly enough to listen to us puzzle over their short menu of fresh-baked goods, and to chat on our way out. Which is why it pains me to admit that my parents were right: Challal Pastries is pretty good, but not the best I’ve had in Toronto. The most enjoyable part of this meal was that everything came straight out of the oven piping hot, so if you’re going to go, I recommend eating it on the spot. Pause to take pictures if you must; it will probably save you from burning your tongue.
Challal Pastries, 1960 Lawrence Ave E, Scarborough, ON