In a certain respect, chef Mirna Attar’s recollection of the Lebanese Civil War is an atypical one — the traumatic time actually holds some happy memories of gathering, cooking, and eating. Amid the conflict, she and her family retreated to a small village in the mountains to hide out with their extended family, which she recalls feeling like a big sleepover. Ultimately, Attar and her immediate family fled Lebanon for the United States, immigrating to Portland in 1983. She opened Ya Hala in 1999 with her husband John Attar.
At the Montavilla restaurant, Attar has spent 24 years cooking Lebanese dishes like baba ganoush, kafta kabobs, and tabbouleh, beginning
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