Omar Qais Anani, owner of award-winning restaurant Saffron de Twah, is hosting a pop-up at Batch Brewing Company on Wednesday, June 9, to benefit the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a U.S.-based focused on providing free medical care to sick and injured Palestinian children.
Fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas escalated drastically in the first few weeks of May 2021, resulting in the deaths of both Palestinians and Israelis. A cease fire took effect on May 21.
The pop-up is the latest in a series that has showcased Moroccan cuisine and street tacos, and celebrated the retirement of the east side bistro’s fried chicken sandwich. Pop Up For Palestine: Dinner and Dabke Benefit will include Anani’s family recipes for falafel, mousakhan, and Nabulsi kanafe. Food service begins at 5 p.m and a dance troupe will perform at 7 p.m.
Kanafe (sometimes Kanafeh or Knafe Nabulsiyye) comes from Nablus, a city in the northern West Bank of Palestine. The iconic Palestinian dessert is made with Nabulsi cheese which has no air pockets, making it a great melting cheese. In the Middle East, it’s made from goat and sheep milk but in the United States, it’s made of cows’ milk. The cheese is typically brined with a flavoring agent and has to be soaked in clean water for three days to remove the salt, transforming the cheese from salty to sweet.
“This event is about the same mantra I carry at Saffron, breaking barriers through food,” says Anani, whose heritage is Palestinian-Egyptian. “I want to introduce people to Palestine through its people, food, and dance.”
The pop-up will also include a performance by Thowra Dabke Dance Troupe. Dabke is a native folk dance that combines circle and line dancing and is widely performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. The troupe showcases two forms of dabke that are taught from Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria.
Menu prices start at $8 and guests will order and pay at the window before choosing their own seats. There are no tickets. All proceeds from the pop-up sales, in addition to any donations, will go to the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. The event at Batch is co-sponsored by Saffron De Twah, Thowra Dabke, and the Arab American National Museum.