San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

Mana’eesh Lady


Mana’eesh are baked round breads traditiona­lly topped with za’atar, cheese or meat and are eaten for breakfast and lunch throughout the Levant. Depending on exactly where the breads are from, people liken them to “Lebanese pizza” or “Palestinia­n pizza.” Though mana’eesh are flatbreads and pizza has its roots in Italy, the two foods will scratch a similar itch for many.

“They both have the same general structure, dough and toppings baked in a hightemp oven,” said Mona Michael (Dyafa, Serpentine), who debuted the Mana’eesh Lady popup last July. The main difference is that “pizza dough has a much more rigorous proofing process because a certain level of gluten needs to be developed.”

Michael’s mana’eesh are made with an extremely highhydrat­ion dough and are baked less than 60 seconds at 750 degrees in a Roccboxx oven. The result is an extremely soft, supple dough reminiscen­t of the legendary Una Pizza Napoletana pie in texture; instead of tomato sauce, Michael tops hers with za’atar, mozzarella and fresh goat cheese.

Michael has been popping up at Libertine Bar on Saturdays in Oakland, but will soon be serving up mana’eesh at Lulu, her new California Palestinia­n restaurant and cafe opening in May in Berkeley.

Cost: $8-$13. Website: www.themanaees­;­hlady/ Address: The Libertine 3332 Grand Ave., Oakland; Lulu (opening May) 1019 Camelia St., Berkeley

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