From Glendale With Love
December 12, 2012 § 1 Comment
Just by glancing at the scene in Taron Bakery, it’s easy to see why the Glendale strip-mall bakery pick-up counter is a Vast Morsels favorite. To start, a line of customers usually stretches out the door of the eatery in eager anticipation of freshly baked treats. But unlike other bakeries in Glendale and beyond, the menu here is ruthlessly efficient: lahmajeune, tahini bread, manakeesh, and a few different varieties of the empanada-like beoreks (spicy, spinach, cheese, and beef). Teeming lines combined with a single-minded focus are a good sign that titillating tastes are afoot.
The most popular of offering here is the lahmajoun, a thin flatbread topped with a mixture of spices and ground beef or lamb. The oval-shaped bread is a popular snacking staple throughout Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey, as well as with the substantial diasporic Armenian population in Glendale. Many claim Taron’s lahmajoun is the best in town, which is no idle boast considering the many Armenians in the area with Syrian and Lebanese ties.
With the unstinting popularity of the lahmajoun, the operation at Taron might bring a smile to the face of a free-market economist. Thanks to the steady stream of customers or perhaps because of the fierce competition in Glendale, where a bakery never seems to be far off, the price of a single lahmajoun clocks in at less than a buck at 90 cents. The breads are hustled straight from the oven on large pizza shovel onto a table behind the register, where cashiers bag them up and sell them to customers by the dozen. As a result, nearly every time you enter, a warm lahmajoun or beorek is at the ready.
The bakery’s no-nonsense approach may be unsettling to those seeking more narrative to their snacks. The cashier will probably barely acknowledge you, and don’t bother holding up the finely tuned process of lahmajoun delivery for niceties or a chat about an Adiss Harmandian sighting. But the lahmajouns are worth the usually short wait. Spread evenly to the edges of the bread, the paste-like mixture has that particular herby taste that evokes the breezy pleasures of an evening out in Beirut—the fatty trimmings of meat mingle with zaa’tar and parsley with just a slight hint of red pepper tickling the tongue. While Armenian pizza seems to be the default description for lahmajoun, Taron’s prizes avoid the doughy fate that plagues many other renditions around town. Instead, the flatbread has just the perfect amount of crispy char to go along with toothsome chewiness. A wedge of lemon is available on request, and the tart tang ties it all together into an irresistible snack.
The beoreks and sweet tahini breads are excellent, but it is the lahmajoun that wears the crown here—fast, cheap, and out of the control.Taron Bakery 1117 S. Glendale Ave. Glendale, CA 91209