Day 29: A Small Step Outside My Comfort Zone
UPDATE (8/27/13) I am terribly sad to say, Freedom’s Market has closed. Sam continues to be one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I wish he and his family the best of luck in their next adventure.
The other day my friend asked if I had been to the market that recently opened.
I hadn’t, and said that I didn’t know what I would get at a Middle Eastern market.
The more I thought about it, I realized that this is exactly what my challenge is all about: finding new stores that I may not have ventured into before.
A smart decision, I might add.
Before I went, though, I googled “Lebanese foods” to see what ingredients I might find. It’s always fantastic to discover your own ignorance over food origination. I love falafel and hummus!
Whether you’re already a fan, or falafel & hummus are completely foreign to you, Freedom’s Market is a must-try. For several reasons.
When I arrived, there were a few people sitting and eating lunch, I thought it was only a market and had no idea they made food on-site. Foods are made daily by owner Sam and his wife, both are incredibly nice. Sam is the epitome of a small-business owner, he treats you like family after just walking through the door. I think he was just as excited about my enthusiasm (and lack of knowledge!) introducing me to new items.
They have a nice selection of spices; a 7oz bag of turmeric is only 99 cents (pick one up for this cold/flu season!). Huge bags of jasmine rice too!
I ended up with a bag of fresh pitas (10/$1) and really good tea biscuits (79 cents!). I also ordered dinner to pick up a little later: falafel (12/$4.99), chicken shawarma dinner ($6.99- came with amazing rice I could have eaten an entire bowlful), spinach pockets, and dessert.
I have to mention the dessert. I had no idea what halawet jibn was (I still don’t really know), but they had freshly made it and I wanted to try. In all honesty, I still can’t even explain it. The top was almost like a cannoli center with crushed pistachios on top. The bottom was…I don’t have a clue. It was a unique texture and flavor- it definitely had rose water, which led to mixed reviews. My daughter and I liked it, my son was indifferent, and my husband and a friend of mine thought it tasted like potpourri.
Even though we all didn’t care for everything we tried, we will definitely return to Freedom’s Market. It was a great experience in trying new foods, with Sam as a very welcoming “host.” Although their location is convenient, there isn’t much else around it. So, Freedom’s Market is definitely going to need support to keep this small-business open.
Here’s an opportunity to get a taste of a different culture, for little money. Sam and his family are generous with suggestions and share a genuine passion for their business.
Let me know what you think of the halawet jibn!