Persian food is not the easiest to prepare and the taste might be foreign to the average Aliso Viejo-an where our definition of exotic is the local Panda. You might ask what the hell is Koobideh? I know I love to order it with a side of tadik at my local Caspian where a belly dancing parade and a light show is complimentary. But if you’re not as adventurous as me, the minced meat flavored with parsley, onions, and spices might be out of your element. Well without all the bells and whistles, Panini Cafe located in Aliso Viejo Town Center is especially popular during lunch time. Luckily, we don’t have to rely on the usual of fake Chinese food and stale pizza. This hotspot is the meeting place for the soccer moms, business moguls, smoking housewives, hungry and proud 20 somethings like me. This restaurant chain offers healthy alternatives to its neighboring Italian and American franchises without compromising quality and meat (most importantly). Nothing disappointing here as I can see and taste. Their menu is a melting pot of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Italian flavors and ingredients. I ordered the Chicken Koobideh Shish Kabob with the Wheat Pilaf and an Avocado Salad. Coming from a fan of all Koobideh, this local cafe created a tasty concoction that comes close to the real thing. I’m confident to say all Persian mothers would be proud.