April is National Arab American Heritage Month, a holiday that celebrates the achievements of Arab-Americans throughout the country. Three food bloggers, Chicago-based recipe developer Mai Khader Kakish of @almondandfig and California residents Nadia Hubbi and Dena Kabakibi, the duo behind modern Middle Eastern food company Sweet Pillar, @sweetpillarfood, are kicking the month off with an Arab food-filled event at Livonia’s Butter Bear Shop. The women joined forces to create the hashtag #aprilisforarabicfood and asked their combined nearly 40,000 worldly followers to share their favorite Arabic recipes over Instagram for NAAHM. The vast response to their post led the three to tap Amanda Saab, owner of the Livonia bakery, to host one of the first April is For Arabic Food meetups of the month on April 2.
The event invites foodies of all ethnicities to Butter Bear Shop, which was established by owner Amanda Saab in 2017 as a way for her to, according to butterbearshop.com, “share gourmet treats with the world.” Event-goers will have the opportunity to sample some of Saab’s treats. Her wide variety of options includes Lithuanian sourdough bread, Zaatar goat cheese scones, and baklava cheesecake. One of the first dishes Saab learned to cook was cheesecake when she was in 4th grade. Today, she tops her cakes with ingredients that pay homage to her Lebanese heritage, like rose water and baklava. She shares recipes for her Lebanese fatayar, avocado hummus and zaatar chips, mango quinoa tabbouleh, along with others, on her website, amandasplate.com.
“April is For Arabic Food highlights and celebrates Arab food and people, and is intended to build a community of people interested in food,” Saab says. Her culinary past is extensive, guaranteeing that event-goers will be devouring exceptional pastries and pies. She appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s Masterchef on Fox in 2015. Saab also runs the Instagram account Chef In Hijab (@chefinhijab), which documents her search to find the best halal restaurants in Asia. So far, she’s found success in Japan — visiting Tokyo, Ueno, and Tamba to tasty acclaim.
April 2. $10. Butter Bear Shop, 33825 Five Mile Rd., Livonia; 734-744-6310; eventbrite.com
Do you have a favorite spot to grab authentic Arabic food? Tell us about it in the comments below!