Thursday, October 07, 2004

I Love That I Know About the Authentic Kabbabish

I have three things to say about Kabbabish, the tiny 24 hour steam table joint in Cabbie Alley along Orleans:

  1. Perhaps the biggest never ending debate amongst foodies is the authentic thing. I sympathize slightly with the team that underplays authenticity because, of course, it matters most how it tastes. And if you futz with recipe in a way that produces something delicious, why argue. The problem, as those on the authenticity team point out readily, is that when things are made "authentically" or the way it has been made, it tastes better. In other words, there is a reason things have been done one way. Kabbabish tastes so good because it is authentic. It may not be totally authentic in a sense of ingredients or cooking tools; they offered canned peas today. But it tastes the way it is supposed to taste (judging by its clientele, I really have no idea how it is supposed to taste).
  2. The very fact that I love Kabbabish so is testament to the chowhound process. Hounds like ReneG scouted out the various cabbie places, singling out Kabbabish for me to enjoy, and hounds like Zim helped me learn so much more about the product being offered. As was noted in today's Reader, we are a tribe that likes to eat AND talk about eating, and believe me, the latter is just as important. Kabbabish is a prime example of the actions of talking and eating.
  3. Ah, but the eating, once again I ate so well at Kabbabish for the never changing price of $6. Today's table featured a bit of leftover orange semolina (halwa), two forms of goat curry, a chicken curry in a very dark sauce, ground beef (keema), grilled chicken, a vegetable (canned peas with potatoes) and a yellow thick dal, plus the away from the table, superior fish tacos. Starch could be rice or fresh made chapatis. I went with the keema, Pakistani sloppy joes (or in today's multi-culti society, Pakistani picadillo), a mixture of sauteed hamburger, whole cinnamon sticks, tiny whole dried peppers (the ones that look almost like crabapples Zim), intriguing black cardamon, bell peppers, tomatoes, and a bit of Kabbabish magic. I kicked up a few notches by asking them to take a bowl of chopped jalepenos that was sitting around doing noting, and toss it on my beef. Like ceviche and papaya salad, keema is the kind of dish I cannot make too hot.


939 N Orleans

Chicago, IL