Sahara is a small Middle Eastern market in Hackensack crammed with fresh and packaged foods, including hundreds of imported items. You'll also find homemade meat pies, fried kibbe and stuffed grape leaves, plus pita bread from bakeries as near as Paterson and as far away as Montreal.
The store also stocks pickled lemons from Egypt, like the ones I used in my tuna-sardine salad last week. See earlier post, "Cleopatra's tuna-sardine salad." Sahara is at 242 S. Summit Ave., Hackensack; 201-487-7222.
Meanwhile, based on two visits in August, a new Middle Eastern restaurant in Hackensack called Cafe Arabica is a disappointment. It opened in the large space on Main Street once occupied by The Stealth nightclub and before that Lowits clothing store.
I had lunch there soon after it opened, but me and a friend were the only customers and the falafel sandwich was pretty standard fare. I returned around 6 on the evening of Aug. 22, the first day of Ramadan, because the owner said there would be music, yet the place was empty. I walked in, calling hello, but there were no employees in sight. I left, never to return.