Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Like Dining in an Arabic Living Room

I love Mediterranean food so much that I am not that picky. I can just as easily visit a falafel cart as sit down in world class kabob joint. But recently I found a dream of a restaurant in Palm Desert called Kabobz that blows the lid of anything I've yet to taste in this fare.

The joys of living a block away from my best friend include being able to bop over to her house after work on any given day in slouchy clothes to drink a glass of wine on the porch and recount our days. Recently, after an hour of chat we decided to try Kabobz, a place only a few minutes away located in the Palms to Pines shopping center, tucked between a yoga studio where pole dancing classes are free on Tuesday nights and a yogurt shop. Entering the nondescript restaurant was like entering a private living room of a lower middle class family in the middle east. Tables with brown coverings sat with no centerpieces in a tiny square space with an oversized television set on the wall streaming in the Arabic pop music video channel. My dream. One waitress and a menu of delights awaited us. Being the only people in the place, we were catered to like kings.

The menu was full of traditional items and we ordered a little of everything. The lamb kabobs were tender and fell off with a flick of the fork, seasoned expertly with just a little pepper. Ala carte items like a whole roasted onion and tomato were exquisitely cooked to pull apart with ease. The gyro was dense and rich, wrapped in a fluffy, warm homemade pita with refreshing tzatziki dolloped upon it. The best dolmada that has ever passed my lips arrived in a small bowl of oil scented with a faint sweetness that accompanied my first bite. The falafel balls were moist and large.

It was nearly nine o'clock when two of the valley's renowned foodies strolled in with a megawatt bottle of good wine in their hands. One, the owner of a popular fast food restaurant chain, and his dining companion, one of my great writing mentors, sat down behind us and told us that they come there all the time with their own wine. They convinced us to stay on a few minutes and to partake in a glass of the glorious wine they had brought. It felt like we were in a home, sharing laughs, and we all rued the fact that the restaurant was relatively unknown because it's hard to find a place that offers no nonsense ambiance and food that good. We all toasted and said a prayer that the place would last.

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