Ready to know more about San Diego?


The Breakdown: Aaysh Essaraya

We dissect Alforon's spin on a Lebanese classic sweet

“I’m the owner, I’m the chef, I’m the busboy, I sign the checks, I’m the guy that gets yelled at and yells at everybody—I do it all.” Beyond those duties, George Salameh, who opened Alforon in College Area in 2010, is also behind this popular dessert, a spin on a traditional Lebanese sweet. “My dad was a chef and as I got older,” he says, “I took interest in re-creating the stuff I enjoyed when I was young. One of them was this dessert. It’s light, it’s flavorful, it’s not 10,000 calories. And you don’t need to eat big bites of it. You eat it like you would a truffle.” Here, Salameh explains his aaysh essaraya by the layer.

The top layer is made of freshly ground unsalted pistachios, sourced everywhere from California to Iran.

In Lebanon, the cake portion is made with crumbled French bread. Salameh instead swaps in pound cake for its softer texture.

The cake soaks overnight in syrup made with rose water, lavender, orange blossom, citrus rind, and more. “That syrup embodies the whole cake.”

Though it has an official name on the menu, Salameh often refers to it as “the love dessert.” “That came from comments from clients through the last eight years we’ve been open. People say it’s made with such love.”

The smooth bottom layer “cuts like custard; it’s somewhat stringy like pudding, and it’s light in flavor like cream.” The milk-based layer takes about three hours to make. “It involves heavy cream and a lot of stirring and a lot of love!”

5965 El Cajon Boulevard, College Area

Share this post

Contact Us

1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA