Stop No. 4 on the tour of Short Pants Plaza is Village Pita Bakery, a bakery, deli and Mediterranean grocery store which has been around since the late ’70s.
They make fresh and hot pitas, which are sold in bags, and are also used in Lebanese food you don’t really get anywhere else.
Village Pita makes a variation of sfeeha ($3.50), a kind of meat pie that’s usually baked in a pizza dough. The meat pie here is made of ground beef spread inside a crispy, toasted pita. It’s a yummy portable snack with hints of cinnamon and allspice.
We also tried the chicken pocket ($7.99). I hesitate to call it a shawarma even though it’s 95% the same. Stuffed with chicken, tomatoes, pickled turnip, hot peppers, parsley and globs of garlic sauce, it’s a glorious, pungent, messy delight.
The 5% difference is the fresh, toasted pita that forms the crisp base of this chicken pocket, and the wild pickled cucumber that gives it a nice punch.
For those who want to eat-in, there are high stools at a counter facing the window with a view of the parking lot. Otherwise, it’s takeout but not sure if you can make it home before you take a bite of the hot sfeeha. I would advise not tucking into the chicken pocket until you’re somewhere safe and armed with napkins.
The grocery shelves are also filled with inexpensive spices, jars of garlic or stuffed grape leaves, and all sorts of other fun cooking stuff.
Village Pita Bakery, 255-28th St. S.E., Unit 208, Calgary, (403) 273-0330. Open Monday to Saturday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.