This year's highlights are not in any particular order. Check out the past two years' highlights here: 2011; 2010.
- OC Weekly cover story about Little Arabia. Orange County's weekly alternative featured a cover story about the county's next famous enclave - Anaheim's Little Arabia. The story highlighted its great restaurants, politics and rivalries. It didn't hurt that Omar Masry and I had the honor to be featured on the cover of the January 2012 issue :-)
- Marie Colvin Convoy for Freedom in Syria: The brainchild of Little Arabia-based businessman and former Anaheim Council candidate Bill Dalati, the convoy was planned and launched in Little Arabia. The convoy left Anaheim on Thursday, March 8, to embark on a cross-country convoy to highlight the growing bloodshed and brutality of the Assad regime's crackdown on Syria's revolutionary movement. Named in honor of American journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed by Assad regime forces in the Baba Amr district of Homs while covering the uprising, the convoy will travel nearly 3000 miles to the White House, making multiple stops to add participants along the way. The convoy stopped at the home of Colvin's family in New York, participated in a rally in front of the UN on the 16th, before heading to Washington, DC, on the 17th to rally in front of the White House.
- Fresh Choice Market opens. Many locals (and visitors) have been disappointed with other Middle Eastern markets in the area either because they don't offer halal meat or because they simply don't meet the needs of consumers. Fresh Choice features an international food court and local favorites represented such as Hatam and Al-Amir. The market is located on Katella and Brookhurst (the Garden Grove section of Little Arabia) and it sure beats Super King Market and all the tiny grocery stores in the area. It also doesn't lie when it labels its foods as halal.
- Speaking of halal, Super King Market got fined half a million bucks for advertising and selling meat in a display case falsely labeled halal. Generic meat was often mixed into the display. It cost Super King Market $527,000 in a lawsuit settled in Orange County Superior Court.
- RIP Mike Hawari :( Little Arabia was shocked when it lost one of its most admired chefs. Mohammed Hawari of Kareem's Falafel passed away in October due to lung cancer. See his appearance on NBC Channel 4 a couple of years ago: