Wednesday, March 12, 2014
I love bread. I love it too much. Well, I mean, don’t we all? That said, allow me to share with you the tale of the heaven-sent Iraqi bread that I could easily wind up addicted to if I don’t watch my step.
Ahmed Abbas with a salad and a falafel and chicken kabab plate at his Tenur Bread in Portland.
Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
Falafel sandwich with tomato, lettuce, onion and mango sauce on samoon bread.
WHERE: 845R Forest Ave., Portland; 871-0655
HOURS: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
WAIT: 10 minutes
PARKING: Limited off-street
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No (two down steps inside)
Tucked in a blink-and-you-miss-it locale on Forest Avenue in Portland is Tenur Bread and Restaurant, which has been open for a couple of years now. I had gone soon after it opened but somehow managed to forget just how incredible the bread is.
Here’s my current six-letter word: samoon. A samoon is a traditional Middle Eastern pocket bread made from whole wheat flour, water, yeast and salt. Why I don’t have 20 of them in my freezer right now is beyond me, because, yes, they are that good – airy, chewy and delicious. I am already contemplating whether I can make French toast from these things.
Tenur also makes pita bread and tenur, a sensational looking flatbread that is begging to have olives, feta and such on it.
The day my lunch date and I popped in we both opted for sandwiches on a samoon. She went with the falafel ($4.99) and I chose the chicken kabab ($5.99). We then parted ways and my friend was under strict orders to email me her remarks right after eating. She reported that the sandwich was a bit dry and it didn’t have the tahini lemon sauce she’s used to. But she did rave about the bread, stating emphatically how fresh, puffy and light it was. She also gave a nod to the good, fresh lettuce and tomatoes.
I awarded my chicken kabab sandwich higher marks because the chicken was tasty and spiced with flavors I couldn’t quite identify but thoroughly enjoyed. And hello, the bread …
Tenur also makes shawarma (grilled meat) and foule (boiled fava beans with spices). They also have chicken, lentil and vegetable soup on the menu.
Sides include foule, hummus, yogurt, cheese and cream with honey.
On the dessert front, you’ll find a number of custards, including lemon and rose water. They also make baklava, basbousa, bourma and kunafa. Other than baklava, I have no idea what those things are, but judging from what I saw at the register, I have a hunch they’re all delicious.
The last thing that caught my eye on the takeout menu was these words: “Coming soon: Iraqi pizza!” I’ll be waiting for that one for sure.
Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: