Monday, May 25, 2015

Best Friend Friday No. 33: Manakeesh

Today is Leti's birthday, Happy Birthday! Unfortunately, Lauren and I aren't able to physically be in Sacramento to celebrate her mom's special day, but that didn't stop us from partaking in the festivities. Leti really wanted us to celebrate for her, so Lauren made the executive decision to make that happen this past Saturday evening.

Every Saturday Lauren and I go on a long run. This weekend that long run consisted of 18 grueling miles. We always make sure to calculate our route so that once we finish our run, we still have a good distance to walk back to our apartment. On our walk back we were talking about we wanted for dinner that night and the next few days. Out of nowhere Lauren kept saying that she "made the executive decision", but she never said exactly what for. I finally questioned her and she surprised me by saying that we could go somewhere for dinner in honor of her mom's upcoming birthday. To say I was excited is a complete understatement. We don't go out to eat often, and so whenever we do it feels like a huge treat.

There are many places to find a delicious vegan meal in Philadelphia that we had to narrow down our options. We decided that we wanted to be able to walk to the restaurant. Even with that limitation, there are still a handful of places to eat that we love. Together we came up with a list of four restaurants, all of which I would've been more than satisfied to dine at. Ultimately though, I wanted to try somewhere new. We've had the Manakeesh menu on our refrigerator for quite some time because they specify which items are vegan. So, we decided to try it out!
Photo by Lauren
Manakeesh is a good sized restaurant/cafe with plenty of seating which we really appreciated. The place is essentially separated into two parts: the restaurant/bakery and a smoothie bar. We just stayed on the restaurant side though since we were there for dinner. There were plenty of different vegan options, many of which sounded good, so I had pretty high hopes. I ordered the falafel wrap, Lauren chose the falafel platter, and we split the grape leaves and fool (fava bean dip) appetizers. 
I love falafel. I've never had falafel that I didn't like. That being said though, some falafel are a lot better than others. The falafel at Manakeesh was okay. It wasn't the best I've ever had, but it wasn't the worst either. I felt like my wrap needed more than just the falafel, tahini, and tomatoes (I asked for no pickles). Luckily the grape leaves were sitting on top of a bed of lettuce, so I threw those greens into my wrap. The grape leaves were really good, not too oily, yet not dry either. Lauren didn't particularly care for the tangy-ness of the fava bean dip, so I ended up eating most of it. I think it needed more flavor, but it tasted fine as a dip with pita bread.

It seems like the staff don't communicate too well with each other. I wasn't the only customer confused as to whether or not I was supposed to go up to the counter to pick up my food; I heard two different things from two people. Everyone was respectful, but it seemed like they lacked a little professionalism. While I don't have plans to come back soon, it's nice to know of another place in my neighborhood that has plenty of vegan offerings. Most of all though, I'm really glad that Lauren and I chose to go to Manakeesh because it's good to try new things, and right now I'm all into the "experiences" outlook. You won't know whether you like it or not until you try it!

Lauren and I decided to stop at a grocery store on our way back home as well. We found exactly what we were looking for: S'mores Oreos! Of course we had to try a few that night, and they did not disappoint!

I had an awesome weekend with my best friend! Thank you for letting us celebrate your birthday with you, Leti!