In south Louisiana, unlike most areas of the country, tasty food is often found in gas stations. Usually, local filling station fare runs toward boudin, cracklins, plate lunches, and deep-fried delights like meat pies, crawfish egg rolls, and boudin balls. But a Houma establishment perched on the banks of Bayou Terrebonne has put a spin on the usual framework. Sara’s Deli (8006 Park Avenue, Houma, LA), tucked inside Sara’s Discount gas outlet, does indeed offer boudin, poboys, breakfast, and plate lunches, but the eponymous cook & owner Sara Rimawi uses the deli’s menu to showcase the cooking of her native Jerusalem.
The modestly priced menu reads like a Mediterranean greatest hits list, ranging from felafel, gyros, and schwarma to baba ganoush, kebabs, greek salad, and hummus. Earlier this week, a plate of warm, meat-stuffed grape leaves brimming with rice and lamb arrived with a dollop of cucumber-studded labna. (Also on the menu: a meatless version of the same dish.)
Fried kibbee, obviously handmade, offered up a tender, lightly cumin scented bulgur wheat shell encasing a savory, toasted-pine-nut studded filling. At $2.99 for an order of two, Sara’s kibbee certainly qualifies as the one of the best $1.50 fried things ever to emerge from a gas station deep fryer.
Move over, meat pies and crawfish egg rolls….kibbee and felafel just might gain a foothold on the bayou.