NOW FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Yeganeh Riazi works the counter at her namesake bakery. Photograph by Alex Stover
I was given the first-timer’s tour the moment I entered Yeganeh Bakery by the enthusiastic young man behind the counter. “Yeganeh” he told me, is Persian for “unique.” This Persian bakery comes close to one-of-a-kind status—there aren’t many in the South Bay. Yet, it is different, even for Persian food. They make a point, he told me, to select items that wouldn’t be found at Persian restaurants in the area.
Yeganeh’s most popular item, sangak bread, is the common household bread in Iran, but it can’t be found anywhere else in the Bay Area—at least that’s what the man insisted was the case. The sangak is baked fresh in store and sold in packages. It’s a fluffy, oval flatbread that’s nearly 4 feet long, and made from whole wheat, sourdough and sesame seeds—with no oil or sugar at all. It has a light wheat flavor but isn’t overly starchy.
Yeganeh is really more of a cafe, despite the word “bakery” in its name. The menu includes coffees, juices, bite-size Iranian pastries and Persian sandwiches, which are served on the sangak bread or a baguette.
I ordered the sossi banari, which is a mildly spicy sausage and potato sandwich, and a kookoo sabazi, which is a vegetarian souffl- made with spinach, cilantro and mint. I ordered them on sangak since I can get a sandwich on a baguette anywhere. They come with tomatoes, pickles, onions and lettuce and range in price from $6 to $8. The sossi banari tastes like a delicious hot dog and potato sandwich and has a faint hint of mustard. The kookoo sabazi is a bit too minty, though the combination of spinach, eggs, pickles and tomatoes is delicious.
The bakery’s made-to-order juices are Yeganeh’s hidden gem. I tried the watermelon, and it was amazing—like drinking a whole, fresh watermelon. They also offer cantaloupe, carrot and pineapple ($3.50-$4.50).
Yeganeh’s mission to make everything special includes even the coffee. I tried the “lavender latte,” which is, as the name suggests, a latte made with lavender syrup. I couldn’t decide if I liked the unusual blend of coffee and lavender or not, but then again, I don’t usually like flavored coffees. I’m sure for many a coffee connoisseur, this drink would be a well-received treat.
For dessert, approximately 20 traditional bite-size Iranian pastries go for $8 a pound. The desserts are all lightly sweet and go great with a fresh cup of coffee. My favorites were the coconut and zaban—which is a soft biscuit served with or without apricot jam.
3275 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose