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Brauhaus Schmitz Doner Kebab

I fell in love with doner kebabs when I took a couple of business trips to germany years back. They were unlike anything I had before, and it was instant love. I had many of them throughout germany, but the best one I’ve ever had was in a random shop in Schwabisch Hall. I still dream about it. If you’re ever there, go to the main public parking lot in the city center and when you walk right out of it, past the pay machines, there’s a doner kebab shop. That’s the place. BEST. DONER. KEBAB. EVER. I haven’t had one for a long time. I’ve tried reasonable but disappointing facsimiles in Ireland and Italy, but it’s nothing like a genuine german doner kebab. They’ve somehow taken a turkish street food and evolved it all into an amazing german treat. I haven’t yet experienced a real doner kebab shop in the US. Years ago, there was a random coffee shop on Chestnut Street that supposedly served them, but when I went back there a few weeks later, it had already become a purse shop. Cue the sad face. So when I read that Brauhaus Schmitz was serving them during the soccer season, I had to give it a whirl! They’re only available on the weekend, and only for the soccer season. We enjoyed some delicious beers while we waited, patiently.
They’re typically served with fries, but you can also substitute other sides. I got the cabbage. This doner kebab surprised me. First, the bread was great. It’s actually pretty damn important how the bread is. It’s definitely not thin, limp, pita bread. It’s called fladenbrot, and it does have some heft, but it’s not thick like a regular sandwich roll. They got the bread just right. On the inside they have lamb, along with shredded red onions, red cabbage, pickles, and tomatoes, along with a yogurt-based sauce. While it tasted fairly good, I would have changed a few things. There was way too much meat in here, and it was in really thick slices, like a brisket, but not nice and evenly sliced. It was just random hunks of thick slices. It just ended up being overly stuffed and made it difficult to maneuver. If you get genuine doner kebabs, the spits of meat have slices of the meat wrapped up into a cylinder shape. And the meat is literally shaved off, by something not too far off from clippers, so the meat actually ends up being in little pieces… resembling the shape of slivered almonds, but a little bigger. And the pickles were strange to me. I was much more used to cucumbers. Also, in germany, you always have the option of getting a spicy sauce as well. And there is also some spicy flakes you can shake on, but I have no idea what it’s made of. It still remains a mystery to me. Oh, and the thing is huge! I could not finish it! Also, the fries that come with are great. And my cabbage was plentiful and delicious… if you’re into sour cabbage!
I thoroughly appreciate their valiant effort in serving up doner kebabs in philadelphia. It really made me happy, and a bit wistful. Now I really want to go to germany to have the real thing! But if this is as close as I can get, then it’s still a great substitute. Thanks Brauhaus Schmitz!

Saffron – Pronouncing Indian Dishes

H/A and I headed over to nearby¬†Saffron to stuff our faces. On a weeknight they were still doing brisk business. It’s nice to see this place busy. They had some monthly specials, as usual. When H/A ordered, the server complimented him on his pronunciation of the indian dishes.
we got one of the appetizer specials, the chicken and shrimp chaat. It’s a cold dish comprised of cubes of chicken tikka and shrimp tossed with cucumbers, tomatoes, chaat masala, and a touch of sour cream. It was ok but this didn’t excite me much. I think it would have been better just as a veggie salad as the chicken and the shrimp didn’t really kick this up any notches.
Here is the boti kabab masala. This is lean cubes of lamb marinated for 24 hours in yogurt and spices, baked on a skewer in a tandoor, and then finished in a tangy spicy sauce. The lamb was unbelievably tender and the flavor of this was pretty good. And there’s no veggies, it’s just straight up tender hunks of lamb and sauce, perfect for dipping your naan into! In this case, I got the spinach and cheese naan again. I had liked it the last time and I think it’s a nice alternative to plain naan or garlic naan. It has fresh spinach and homemade cheese. Eat it while it’s hot, people!
But you know what, hands down, with no doubt in my mind, the best dish at Saffron is the kadai paneer makhani. It’s got homemade cheese cubes cooked with bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and freshly ground spices. There’s just something about this sauce that is unlike any other indian dish. It’s just the best! I would put this sauce on anything if I could buy it or figure out how to make it. It’s not like the sauce that came with the lamb, it’s not masala, it’s not korma, it’s not butter, it’s just the best indian sauce ever. Service is just fine here. They brought out the wrong bread at first but then fixed that right away. And they’re pretty good about filling up your waters. I will come back here for the kadai paneer makhani forever!¬†
Saffron on Urbanspoon

Foodbuzz Blogger Fest Dinner

This year’s FoodBuzz Blogger Festival dinner was held at the Ferry Building. Not a bad location, eh? It was a formal sit-down with 4 courses and wine pairings. Look at all this tableware!
We started with the appetizer, which was an absolute beet fest! If you don’t like beets, then this would have been the worst thing ever. The tart was made with golden beets, was topped with crimson beets, feta, currants, arugula, and served alongside a basil puree. As for me, I love beets, so I totally dug this.
Next up were some huge seared scallops with braised fennel in a champagne beurre blanc sauce. These were cooked quite well, although we did notice that they were only seared on one side. I’m not all that into fennel, but this was pretty good stuff. You know me, I’m all about scallops.
Onto the lamb chops! These suckers were served with butternut squash mash and a bunch of expensive expensive mushrooms, which I promptly did not eat. But one of my tablemates took them. I’m not that crazy about lamb, but I enjoyed these particular chops. And the mash was great.
Dessert was tarta de almendras, a buttery almond cake served with oranges and figs and a spanish sherry sabayon. It’s quite a mouthful to describe, but it tasted even better. It was a lovely dinner with great new friends!

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