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One of the things I like most about doing this blog is that it gives me an excuse to be a tourist in my own town. It’s a bonus when I “travel” to someplace exotic that didn’t require purchasing a plane ticket. (Check out my earlier posts on India Oven, Demo’s, and España Bar de Tapas for inspiration.)

Pasha Mediterranean Grill at 9339 Wurzbach Road and Ali Baba International Market at 9307 Wurzbach Road (right behind Pasha) are two more San Antonio exotics that deserve to be placed on your Alamo City itinerary.

I went to Pasha with my daughter, a friend and her daughter. After we ordered and sat down, a server brought us a giant Naan (flat bread) to dip in spiced olive oil. It didn’t last long. Each of us ordered a different wrap, a Saj pita filled with the following deliciousness: 1) Falafel Wrap, deep-fried vegetable patties with tomato, hummus, parsley, lettuce, pickled cucumbers, turnips and Tahini sauce;  2) Shawarma Wrap, thinly sliced, vertical pit-roasted chicken with tomato and picked cucumbers; 3) Sheesh Tawook Wrap, chicken breast cooked over an open flame with cabbage, mayonnaise, tomatoes, pickled cucumbers and garlic sauce; and 4) Koobideh Wrap, a skewer of chicken Koobideh seasoned with soujouk sauce, cayenne pepper, hummus, garlic sauce, tomato and pickled cucumbers.

The wraps, priced at $7.99 each, all came with a just-right Greek salad. A table neighbor’s Shawarma beef plate, served with hummus and a salad, also looked quite wonderful. Pasha’s entree menu is quite extensive. It’s going to take multiple visits before I eat my way across the Mediterranean, but I’m up for the task.

After lunch, we strolled over to Ali Baba International Food Market to check out its shelves. Spotting mango juice imported from the United Arab Emirates was the first clue we weren’t in H-E-B. A green fruit/vegetable I’ve never seen before was the second. I picked up a jar of pickled turnips to bring home because I just couldn’t resist their DayGlo pinkness. My husband has since dropped by Ali Baba to check the store out for himself, and he came home with a giant container of Aleppo pepper that he sprinkles on just about everything. And for those of you with a sweet tooth, you’ll be in heaven at Ali Baba. An entire aisle is calling your name. Check out their honey nuts and the rose-flavored Turkish Delight.

Pasha and Ali Baba are both open seven days a week. Visit their websites for their hours of operation.

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