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Lunch at Aziza's, Take Two

By 8:43 AM

When I worked downtown, Hubby and I would go to lunch a few times a week. Now that I don't work downtown, we try to meet for lunch at least once a week. A few weeks ago, Hubby & his co-worker tried Aziza's for the first time. After hearing him go and on about it, I finally made him take me.

I'm not going to rehash what Hubby has already said, but I will offer a few observations and tell you about our delicious lunch (lots of pictures too!) and why it may be my new favorite downtown lunch spot. Also, I have a few exciting updates!

The interior is eclectic. The ceiling is an ornate tin. The walls have high ledges that showcase wine bottles, local pottery and other miscellaneous items. There probably no more than 15 tables - comprised of two and four tops.  Most of the tables are rectangular and covered in a faux animal skin/leather, there are also a round copper tables.

I ordered the eggplant, Aziza's chicken salad (they also have a Southern chicken salad) and Lebanese potato salad.

Our server had explained to us that the eggplant (that's how it was listed on the chalkboard) was roasted and then the flesh was scooped out and mixed with red peppers and onions and served as a dip with toast points. Holy moly was this good. Now, I love eggplant, so I might be biased, but it was phenomenal.

Their chicken salad was out of this world. It's not the typical mayo based salad, but instead it's coated in a balsamic and coarse grain mustard vinaigrette. The salad consisted of chunks of roasted chicken, red peppers, celery and red onions.  I cannot even tell you how fresh and light this salad was.

The Lebanese potato salad was good, but it kind of got forgotten in my excitement over the eggplant and chicken salad. I'd say this is more like a very light mashed potato, than a typical potato salad.

Hubby ordered the white beans & pancetta, cream of mushroom soup and thai chili hummus.

The white beans & pancetta was wonderful. The large chunks of pancetta were tender and the beans were cooked perfectly.

I kind of cringed when he ordered the cream of mushroom soup. I never order cream of "you fill in the blank" soup - I can't get my mind around the canned stuff. Ugh. Anyways, it was fantastic - so creamy and decadent. Probably the best mushroom soup of any kind that we have ever had.

The thai chili hummus was also delicious. This actually wasn't listed as the kind of hummus they had that day, but Hubby had seen it on his first visit and our server told us they had it. It was very spicy - but not too spicy to enjoy.

Overall, the portion sizes are fantastic - especially for being considered "side" or "tapas" size. We both got three items, and agreed that next time we would each only get two and maybe share one. Three per person was way too much food for us.

The service was extremely fast, which is perfect and many times needed for a weekday lunch.  Our server was very friendly and attentive.  She was also very knowledgeable about the menu.

In all honesty, I can't believe this place has been open for a year and that we just discovered it, especially when we have driven past it a zillion times. Everything is so fresh and flavorful. I can't wait to go back.

And here's a couple of things to get excited about:

- The addition of a Sunday Supper night. This should be occurring soon and will be family style. There will not be menu options on that night, just one set menu.

- The much talked about pizza oven, should be in use at the beginning of May. Work began on the installation of the oven last week.

- Dinner will be served nightly. This should coincide with the firing up of the pizza oven.
Lebanese Potato Salad

White Beans & Pancetta

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Thai Chili Hummus

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