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Hit the road, Desert Companion readers! And while you're at it, have a look around. This issue invites you to not only escape to the outdoors, but also to think about the environmental issues affecting our pursuits and our world.

The Other Strip: Global Plaza West

A produce section with baked goods and fruits
Brent Holmes
Brent Holmes Photography

South Durango and West Spring Mountain

Global Plaza West may go unnoticed as you pass it en route to Desert Breeze Park across the street, the snow-dusted mountains to the west, or Enterprise to the south. For this installment of our guide to Las Vegas strip malls, we stop for a look inside the cluster of specialty shops with their sweeping view of the Valley.

At Kakanin Filipino & Pastry bakery, I follow my friend Izzy around the store picking out containers until our arms are full. We sit at a table to unpack our haul: Puto bumbong and palitaw, chewy rice flour-based sweets flavored with ube and coconut; buko pandan, a coconutty and slightly pine-flavored pudding with chunks of different jellos; pinipig polvoron, shortbread cookies made with malted barley flour and wrapped in jewel toned cellophane; and suman malagkit, coconut sticky rice that we unwrap from banana leaves and dip in a coconut caramel sauce. At the counter we order halo-halo, and Izzy tells me the name translates to mix-mix.

“My grandmother says you have to mix it evenly and try to keep the flan intact,” Izzy says, stirring it slowly from the top down, the flan submerging and getting lost at some point in the process. It doesn’t matter — it’s all delicious.

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Other Mama, which won Desert Companion’s dish of the year in 2018 for its Japanese fried chicken, recently added a small bar separate from the main dining room for those looking to have a drink or order from a rotating daily menu of small plates. There is also an expanded menu for the entire place, including a complete sushi menu and sake program, chef and owner Daniel Krohmer says.

At Groomingdales, a happy little dog named Moppy with a bright blue mohawk is getting a full body trim, which costs about $50, because he’s a small breed. Pre-haircut Moppy is quite cute, but post-op he’s adorable. We stay to watch him get his do trimmed in a straight line, capturing priceless before and after shots. Cash only. They do cats.

Middle Eastern hummus and pita
Brent Holmes Photography
Brent Holmes

I chose this strip mall because it holds a favorite place for me in all of Las Vegas: Zaytoon Restaurant & Market, home to an extremely well-stocked grocery store, which is also attached to an outstanding restaurant. On the market side, you’ll find a refrigerator of fresh herbs, a table of varieties of flatbreads, a produce section with some hard-to-find-in-Vegas produce, such as kohlrabi and Persian cucumbers, half an isle of rose, orange blossom, and other flower-water, spices, and Persian, Turkish, Armenian, and Israeli ingredients. In the space between the restaurant and the market, there’s a deli case holding myriad delicacies — baklava, halvah, three kinds of feta, olives, and khameh, labeled in English as “breakfast cream,” which is, in my opinion, the city’s tastiest dairy product.

“I have customers from all over. It’s like the United Nations here but much more peaceful,” says Saam Naghdi, who owns Zaytoon with his wife, Golenaz Mazaheri. “It’s been a good learning lesson, because I don’t speak Hebrew, I don’t speak Arabic, but I’ve seen Israeli customers translate Arabic for me, or I’ve seen Arab customers translate Hebrew to tell me what products (they want). I have really good clientele. It’s been a blessing.”

My mind filled with recipes, I buy pita, semolina flour, cucumbers, French feta, a huge bag of herbs, two hot Persian teas, and a container of baklava that we eat in the parking lot. Then we head off into the sunset, perfectly sated.

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