Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kennedy Café

NOTE: I have been struggling to organize this post but the new blogger system has wrecked my simple, easy to read layout. I spent two hours trying to straighten it out and it just ended up making me crazy. My apologies.

When my California buddy Tim was visiting a few months ago he told me to find someplace exotic for breakfast. "Is Uzbek cuisine exotic enough?" He begged off claiming his traveling companion was a little boggled by the possibility of a Central Asian meal.The Kennedy Café is the place to go for Uzbek cuisine,a style of cookery with which I am not familiar. It seems to incorporate stuff that might be familiar to say, a Turk or possibly a Lebanese gourmand.The Kennedy café used to be the Seven Day Deli, a Cuban restaurant and it's current incarnation bears reminders of it's past. The breakfast menu was a disappointment in that it offers the usual Cuban-American Key West style of meat and egg items and sandwiches. I was curious to know what Uzbeks eat for breakfast...The special board looked promising.
I was alone, seeking lunch, and my wife in California had suggested I try this place. She is full of good and adventurous ideas. I had the lamb shwarma. It looked like the illustration, a large sandwich made with Uzbek bread. the bread looks like a sweet roll with sesame seeds embedded in the glaze, but the bread is not at all sweet and is halfway to being pita bread in consistency in that it doesn't have a thick spongy middle.The sandwich came with chunks of lamb,a spicy red sauce and chunks of garlic onion and cucumber on lettuce. It was delicious. I realized I have to come back with my wife (who has already eaten here previously) and share several dishes at a meal. I resisted the desserts on display at the check out counter.
My sandwich was eight bucks and I should have taken this thing shown below, home...to eat later. I was strong. I resisted. I was stupid. God knows what it is.
The Café is just one in a series of small businesses on Kennedy Boulevard.I wondered if my colleagues can be persuaded to try this at work some hungry night?
I can just imagine Noel throwing a fit if I suggest to to him we eat Uzbek some night at work. He is not an adventurous eater. He threw his last fit when I told him the ban on gays in the military might be repealed. "What?" he cried in panic. "I'm counting on that to keep me out of the Army in the next war!" I'm full of bad news for my young colleague whose news reading extends in the direction of celebrity gossip. "What's the point of being gay if they can draft you?" he asked with impeccable Cuban rhetoric. I don't want to get drafted either (I shall claim age related infirmity when they come for me) but at least I am adventurous enough to enjoy an Uzbek lunch.
Well, imagine my surprise when Noel agreed to try out the Uzbek take out menu I brought to work Thursday night. The Café delivered exactly as promised and Noel eagerly unwrapped the packages for the three of us. I ordered a Lamb Doner sandwich:
Keith enjoyed his shwarma sandwich. With a lifetime in the restaurant and hotel trade Keith knows what he likes and the Uzbek sandwich gote his vote. "Interesting bread" he said, as he dug in.
Noel plucked the hated tomato disks from his sandwich.
I ordered a side of somsas, samosas of spinach to try them out. Noel liked the pastry and said had they been of potato rather than spinach and feta he might have enjoyed his taste. They worked for me...
All in all my colleagues surprised me, especially Noel with his willingness to try something new. The Café Kennedy came up to expectations which was no surprise.