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Random bites: Al Salaam, Shawarma King
Al Salaam

This week I have been curiously attracted to Middle Eastern cuisine. I also wanted to stray from the usual haunts and luckily found....

Al Salaam Deli

Man, I've driven passed this hole in the wall joint hundreds of times and never gave it a second thought. Some Facebook buzz about the felafel raised my curiosity to the point of action. With about a dozen seats inside, it's a good thing I was in the mood for an l fresco lunch. I ordered a gyro and French fries, grabbed a canned Coke from the cold case and bee lined my way to a picnic table a knew about nearby. The nicely spiced and flavored gyro was still hot, bound tightly in an aluminum foil wrapper tucked inside a foam clam shell. The pita bread was moist, fresh and tasty - as were the other fillings of lettuce, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. The French fries were the standard frozen variety, but had been prepared to order and generously salted. While it was felafel that caught my attention, I did not try it on this trip but will on return visits.
Friendly service, a small grocery style selection of ingredients and a ringside seat on bustling Habersham Street - this is a dive worth frequenting.

2311 Habersham St./ 447-0400

Shawarma King

I had missed the opening of this Middle Eastern fast food eatery adjoining TJ Maxx. Shawarma King looks and feels like a burger or sub joint - -but the cuisine is Middle Eastern down to the baba ghanoush. I chose a Shawarma Chicken sandwich, richly flavored slices of chicken cooked with onions, olive oil and cardamon seasoning and rolled tightly in fresh pita bread. French fries here are actually thinly sliced ribbons of potato that present as sor tof a "bird's nest." Honestly, it was nicely prepared - crisp on the outside, tender on the inside ribbons of potato that I drizzled with catchup - a nice break from the dreaded "seasoned" fries or sub joint sack o' chips. The menu is pretty extensive and offers lots of options for vegetarians. Social media reviewers have been pretty kind, but devotees of Middle Eastern Cuisine aren't nearly as impressed. Still, service was pleasant, fast and helpful. .

7400 Abercorn St. Suite 522/ 692-8988

Rodney Strong Wine Dinner

Aqua Star restaurant at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa will host a 5-course, 5-wine dinner featuring Rodney Strong wines Nov. 17.  Executive Chef Roger Michel has paired an exquisite menu with some of Rodney Strong's finest wines. Guest speaker will be Heather Hanks from Rodney Strong Vineyards. $85pp++, Reception 6:30 p.m. To RSVP, call 201.2085 or e-mail