Monday, April 14, 2008

Judi's Best Lunch of ALL Time!

One Saturday we went to this wonderful "Swap Meet" type market place that went on and on and on. It is called Malateesah and it is open 24 hours a day, everyday! Apparently if you go in the middle of the night the prices are even better. I am a bargain shopper but 2 am in these environs doesn't appeal to me. The spaces are filled with watches, belts, pantyhose, bedding, stoves, pipes, washers, curling irons, shoes, jewelry, are you getting the picture? They sell EVERYTHING here! And of course there is the food. Along many of the twists and turns of the huge marketplace there are small pits with hot ashes making delicious CHOROVADZ (BBQ and not in the Southern understanding of BBQ!) The sheeshes (skewers) are wrapped in highly seasoned ground meats or whole chunks of chicken (I'm pretty sure it's chicken : ) they are par-cooked and then heated through when a willing patron comes to eat. Along our winding walk through car parts, lingerie, and metal pipe we first smell the enticing odor that beckons us to come. With each whiff of the smoke acting as a odiferous invitation to dine. Each of the ramshackle restaurants claim the best eats around and chefs call you in as you saunter past. We have been told by many well-wishers and family NOT to eat "off the street" I guess you could take this literally and it would be wise council in ANY country. But the argument for abstaining from these roadside eateries is because they are not sanitary. Alas we threw caution to the wind and bellied up to the stand and boldly ordered one of each kind of chorovadz and one FantaÒ lemonade for the 4 of us to share. (Frankie was sound asleep in Kalem's arms). The cook on the right pointed to the "Dining Room" which consisted of a rickety picnic table with a well-worn vinyl table cloth. There were two bottles of ketchup (which, by the way, is EXTREMELY popular here in Hyestan and it is sold in varying degrees of gudzoones (spicy hotness), SALT (of course salt), and two or three “napkins”. Let me expand on the idea of napkins at this point. Usually, in outdoor eateries we have encountered these 3¼” squares of very thin paper; these or a box of Kleenex accompany a meal for the purposes of wiping ones mouth and fingers. Unfortunately for me I am such a messy eater that the napkins run out all too soon. Perhaps I will try using lavash instead since it is always in great abundance on every table and is much thicker and usually softer than the napkins…Hum, I will look into this…Back to the “dining room”, which was no bigger than the table plus a foot for a row of people to sit against the wall. The other side of the table had room for another bench but those sitting there were pretty much in the kitchen and would get hit by the refrigerator door whenever opened…which was quiet frequently!

We looked at the table and saw three men, all sitting apart but in a fashion that would not allow the Kazarian gang to sit together. Seeing this the “sous chef” yells at one man, “Ackper, SHARJEH!” (Buddy/Brother MOVE!) Now I call that customer service! As we sat and waited the “executive chef” smoked two cigarettes OVER our cooking meat, and the gentleman next to me ordered a shot of vodka (which was in the refrigerator). The sous chef took a used shot glass that was left on the table, wiped it out with a handkerchief from his shirt pocket set it on the table and poured the fresh shot! We received our meal and ate with vigor. Kalem and I unfortunately added barbequed peppers to our lunch and our mouths were on fire! We finished our FantaÒ, ordered another and a Tan (yogurt drink like buttermilk without the butter) just to put out the fire on our tongues. My eyes were tearing from the pepper, we were choking on the BBQ and cigarette smoke, and thinking about how UNSANITARY this experience was when Judi announces, “This is the best food I have ever eaten in my entire life!” I couldn’t stop laughing! ; ) jonelle

1 comment:

Nicole =) said...

LOVE THIS!!! I was cracking up b/c I could just hear Miss Judi. Once again....lovin' the blog! Miss and love all of you!