Waking up to the delicious smell of food is one of the beautiful joys in life, don’t you think? Well the Dubbaneh family, founders of Zayt and Za’atar (ZandZ), a local Middle Eastern Vendor seem to agree and say it might just be one of their biggest inspirations to starting ZandZ in DC 2 years ago.
ZandZ is a pop-up stand at local farmers markets where they aim to celebrate their Middle Eastern heritage through a primary ingredient of Za’atar (dried thyme mixed with varying ingredients depending on the country of origin). They are a family business who are determined to show people creative ways to use this magical ingredient of Za’atar, they even say they may have gotten a little Za’atar crazy.
Hungry Lobbyist visited them at their H st on NE stand for a breakfast sample and we fell in love as their approach is not only family oriented but highly local where they source many of their ingredients from the farmers market itself. First up was the samples of home made labneh (a yogurt dip that takes 3 days to make) topped with a za’atar and olive oil mix and dipped with local pita chips.
Second up was the Ejjeh which is made up of eggs, parsley, onions, green onions, flour, garlic, baking powder, salt, pepper and ofcourse topped with tomatoes, fresh mint, their homemade labneh and za’atar. This dish really hit home for me as the fresh flavors combined with the magic sprinkle of za’atar created a great blast of flavors. There are three large layers of Ejjeh (which are similar to 3 savory pancakes) making this one dish that costs $7 a very shareable, fresh, filling and affordable meal. My only recommendation would be to add more labneh to have enough for the 3 stacks since the labneh gives a cooling off feel, which is refreshing especially for the start of your day.
Finally was the spices product itself that features middle eastern wild thyme mixed with sesame seeds, sumac, and oregano. The Dubbabneh family recommends it for seasoning or mixing with olive oil as a dip. You can sample and get one for yourself at their locations on Foggy Bottom and H st NE. Their fresh home made labneh is also available for sale (highly recommend it, as it is local, fresher and more affordable than the one available at Whole Foods).
While visiting them I did wish they had their delicious flatbreads that come in three different styles. But I was informed I do not have to wait too long as they will be having a pop up block party starting Thursday November 16 – 19 in collaboration Cotton&Reed and Knafeh Bakery (read our previous story on these bearded bakers here). RSVP here and get ready for some baking and shaking. I promise you this is a party you do not want to miss (eat good food then go burn off the delicious calories with some dancing).
See YOU there! Nov 16 – 19 @ Cotton&Reed NE