I’m a simple eater. If I like something, I’ll eat it ad naseum until I get sick of it. Except I don’t really get sick of things. It’s possibly because I’m coerced to eat different dishes all the time. It’s part of the “downfalls” of the job: having to eat at new restaurants essentially every day. I know, it’s a lame thing to complain about but it’s not really a complaint. It’s just that I like to eat some things on a fairly regular basis. It’s not unlike my colleague Helen Rosner’s affinity for chicken tenders.
My version of the chicken tender is lahmajune, an Armenian flatbread that I waxed about a few months ago. What I didn’t say is that Sasoun Bakery is literally part of my monthly routine because it’s next to my hair salon. So every time I get a haircut, I get two lahmajune and an apple-shaped bottle of apple juice. It’s really the ideal kind of positive reinforcement to stay well groomed.
Hop skip to Byblos Mediterranean Bakery, a little slice of the Levant right up in La Crescenta’s main drag of Foothill Blvd. The place is a community center for a lot of local Armenians, though the owner hails from Aleppo, Syria. While you can grab an excellent breakfast of lava bean stew, the real reason I’m here on a nearly weekly basis, or at least thinking about stopping over for a quick bite, is the wondrous flatbread.
Unlike the thinner, flimsier picks you’d get at other shops (even though I still enjoy those), the lahmajune here pick up a pizza-like crust on the edges. After getting re-fired in the oven, they crust is barely crisp, but filled with the air of the oven, as if the holes in the dough were sponges of that searing hot hearth. What you get is a gloriously light texture that feels as if the thing could float were it not for the tomato-y smear imbued with just enough ground meat to keep it honest.
One kicker that I liked here: the lemon wedge that you can use to judiciously sprinkle onto the flatbread. That extra tinge of acid gives the thing a tart high note to make every bite just a bit more addictive. And the best part? Each one’s just a $1.50.
Byblos Mediterranean Bakery 2948 Foothill Blvd. La Crescenta, CA Closed Mondays