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Ana Sortun's Oleana restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been one of my favorite New England stops for years—I'd put her carrot jam on practically anything, and pastry chef Maura Kilpatrick's coconut–passion fruit baked Alaska remains at the top of my most-adored-desserts list. So I can't say I was surprised when I fell hard for Sortun's new Middle Eastern bakery and café, called Sofra, while visiting Boston last weekend.
Sortun's Lebanese-style hummus, (which turns out to be just some lovely roasted chickpeas)—served with creamy avocado puree, sweet flecks of shredded beets and spicy arugula (from Sortun's husband's farm) alongside fried pita—is the sort of dish I could have every day. Same goes for the flaky, spiced spanakopita and bread-pudding-like cheesy borek that was sprinkled with smoky nigella seeds.
My only regret is that I didn't try one the any of the stuffed breads—or an orange-blossom-glazed morning bun, or a za'atar-feta brioche wheel. That said, I thankfully did buy a container of muhammara (a hummus-like red pepper–and–walnut puree) to bring back to New York, and I am just waiting for the perfect pita to come along to go with it.