Cafe Smitten Brings International Flair

Shai Bitton grew up in a confluence of culture in Jerusalem. His family originally was from Morocco but later settled in Jerusalem where Shai spent his childhood. His entire family was in the restaurant business there. An older sister moved to New York City and opened a restaurant in Grand Central Terminal. Soon, Shai, now a young man, moved to New York to assist his sister. It was in New York that Shai met Stasie, his wife. Stasie was from Bakersfield and the young couple, just starting a family, moved back to Bakersfield to be near Stasie’s family. The restaurant business was in Shai’s DNA, and it wasn’t long before Cafe Smitten was born, along with baby Annabel.

Shai has fond memories of his childhood in Jerusalem. He remembers the comforting smells of his mother’s kitchen and the exotic sights and sounds of a bustling city. While the tempo of Bakersfield hardly compares, Shai wanted to pay homage to his former life and shares a family favorite on the menu at Cafe Smitten. His mother used to prepare Moroccan eggs for her family, and Shai was particularly fond of this family dish.

Shai’s version of Moroccan eggs consists of two eggs poached in an aromatic tomato sauce served in a casserole. Olives, pickles, tahini and yogurt are served on the side, as well as a few slices of crusty bread. An artfully prepared cappuccino can accompany this eclectic start to the day.

“Growing up my mom was always cooking and baking. To this day, she is still cooking incredible food and I’m happy to bring a part of her kitchen to Cafe Smitten.”