Anyone who knows me knows I f*cking love garlic. The smell of it wafting through the air is a permanent fixture in my kitchen, and I have, on multiple occasions, considered getting a bulb tattooed on my left rib. So it’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of the garlic toum from Shawarmaji, a Jordan-style shawarma spot in Uptown Oakland that got its start as a pop-up. The thick, pungent toum is made with canola oil, lemon juice, and what tastes like an Olympic pool-sized amount of garlic. Toum aside, their chicken shawarma wrap - which is thinner and longer (like, forearm-length long) than most wraps you’d find in the Bay - is also fantastic. It’s made with leg meat marinated in yogurt and spices, which is then slow-roasted on a vertical spit until juicy and crispy on the outside. Then it’s wrapped up in a tortilla with toum, cucumber pickles, and fries if you want (you do), and griddled on both sides until golden-brown. This wrap has been the only thing on my mind since I ate it.
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Head to Dyafa in Oakland for Middle Eastern food and great cocktails. Order a lot of pita and small plates.
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