On November 22, when many New Yorkers are looking ahead to Thanksgiving, Lebanese-Americans commemorate their 1943 liberation from a French mandate. Sahlap ($4) — an Independence Day-only special, barring popular demand — is widely known, under various spellings, throughout the lands once under the domain of the Ottoman Empire. This hot beverage is traditionally prepared from milk, sugar, and an orchid-root flour (increasingly rare nowadays, so substitutes are common) that adds an almost creamy thickness. My cup, accented by a pair of sesame-seeded breadsticks, was strewn with cinnamon — though for New York tastes a pumpkin-spice topping was available, too.
Also shown, from a summertime street festival: a hand-drawn schematic of Manousheh's namesake flatbread, and the imminent application of dough to saj, an inverted-dome cooktop that sees action only during outdoor events. At the Bleecker St. storefront, which employs a flat-surfaced, largely enclosed oven, the baker trades in his pillowlike hand protector in favor of a long-handled peel, like that for pizza. The bread-making is less dramatic, but by most accounts the manousheh is just as tasty.
193 Bleecker St. (Sixth Ave.-MacDougal St.), Manhattan