Seeking out homestyle Lebanese food in Hollywood with Bill Addison

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A standout for Bill Addison from Mama Lina Cooks was this shish barak, meat-filled dumplings browned and then warmed in yogurt sauce. The Lebanese pop-up offers a daily dish available for pick-up or delivery. Photo by Bill Addison.

LA Times restaurant critic Bill Addison has a soft spot for Lebanese food. Scrolling through Instagram, he discovered Mama Lina Cooks, a pop-up that offers a daily dish available for delivery or pick-up that Addison does not generally find on menus in Lebanese restaurants. 

Founder Fouad Georges’ parents fled Lebanon last September in the wake of the catastrophic Port of Beirut explosion. His mother Lina is not a professional chef, but was coaxed by her son to cook for his friends and the surrounding Lebanese community. Georges, a vegan, has nudged her to use meat substitutes in dishes like kousa  — a zucchini that is typically stuffed with lamb. Homestyle cooking such as kibbeh in a yogurt sauce and m’lookhiyeh, a chicken stew with pearls of couscous, have been a few favorites.

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Evan Kleiman