QUESTION: You would think, in a city with almost as many Middle Eastern bakeries as Jack in the Box drive-thrus, there would be someplace to get decent baklawa. (Baklawa, I insist, not baklava: w-w-w-w-w — baklawa. There’s all the difference in the world.) But I have gone to your famous Beirut bakeries, I have gone to your Lebanese restaurants, I have even gone (heaven help me) to Greek bakeries, but all I find are those damnable damp wads of dough, oversweetened with second-rate honey, filled with stale pistachios that are demonstrably inferior even to the dusty generic-brand nuts available at AM/PM minimarts. So: Where is the baklawa? Tell me. Tell me!
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
ANSWER: I happen to believe that the baklava — baklawa, whatever — at the Armenian bakeries in Hollywood and Pasadena are pretty good. Panos Pastry, which is descended from a well-known bakery in Beirut, makes especially tasty examples of the breed, although the pastries made from ketaif, that weirdly crunchy shredded wheat–looking stuff, are probably better. But Oasis Pastry, a mammoth mini-mall operation that also sells sandwiches, deli meats and elaborate wedding cakes, has probably the best baklawa I’ve ever tasted: fantastically crisp, subtly honeyed, overstuffed with freshly roasted pistachios or walnuts or cashews — yet elegant, even delicate in appearance. It’s one of the few baklawas that I ever wanted more than a few bites of. Oasis may or may not be related to the famous Shatila bakery in Dearborn, whose excellent baklawa jump-started the great Warren Avenue Arab commercial strip — a sign outside the café credits an M. Shatila as the baklawa master — but in a way it doesn’t matter. Try the bird’s-nest baklawa, which is practically overwhelmed by its crisp, fragrant nuts. It has the most pistachios of all. 801 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale, (818) 241-0304.