Some people, like superstar chef Anthony Bourdain, for instance, will journey to the ends of the earth for unforgettable Middle Eastern cuisine and culture. All you have to do, on the other hand, is head to the edge of Tempe and the plaza housing Hookah Mania. As its name implies -- and the ample supply of gleaming water pipes in stock illustrate -- the raison d'être of the establishment is the utter joy of firing up shisha. But in addition to perusing an entire side room with three-dozen imported flavored tobaccos, visitors can peruse four pages of Mediterranean and Mid-East standards, albeit done magnificently (try the buttery makanek Lebanese sausages). Melt into an over stuffed chair or cop a squat in a padded floor booth to either sup or smoke up the place with sweet fragrances. If it’s a weekend night, both belly dancing or DJs will entertain while plates of gigunda baklava are brought out, thus helping you feel even more like some decadent shriek.
No, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. The manager did, in fact, stick a small bowl hewn from an apple and packed with shisha atop your water pipe. Or maybe it was made from watermelon or a pear. Regardless, adding the fresh-cut produce helps accentuate any of Hookah Mania's 40 flavored tobaccos with a fruity zest. It's one of the many amenities that the staff at this Tempe hookah lounge adjacent to Lebanese restaurant Mijana provides to its patrons. Attentive service is another, as... More »