Nick. Harry. Michelle. Andrea. Separate and alone, foodie icons of the internet age. Together, fierce combatants in the final weeks of what will surely become an international phenomenon–Gourmet Survivor 2004.
This week’s challenge was to write a restaurant review. Simple enough. Let’s see what our fierce fighting foodies came up with. Vote for your favorite to get immunity.
[No link, just text.]
Mordoch, the meal I have eaten 1000 times
Yikes. This by far is my most difficult challenge to
date. Not because of the content but rather my
location. I am currently sitting in an Internet cafe
in a country with an unfamiliar keyboard. The surreal
swiss German version of “white rose” by Nick Cave and
Kylie Minogue is playing on the loudspeakers and I
feel like I am in biyyaro land. That was actually
supposed to be bizarro but the “y” is where the “z” is
supposed to be on the keyboard. Eegads. Crazy Swiss.
Unfortunately I won’t be reviewing a restaurant here
but rather my very favorite restaurant in my former
hometown of what is known by insiders as J-Town and by
normal people as Jerusalem.
If you want to get to the culinary core of a culture
you need to find out where the working class grabs
lunch. These restaurants serve incredibly fresh food
due to high turnover, have cult followings and are
usually wickedly cheap. For the past eight years nary
a Friday goes by that I don’t have a delicious lunch
at Mordoch, a family owned Kurdish style restaurant.
I was lucky enough to dine at this establishment only
hours before I received the AG Survivor challenge.
You’ll have to forgive me for the lack of photos.
Now, a little about the restaurant. The Mordoch family
are Kurdish and serve the best kubbeh soup in the
entire country. Kubbeh soup? Never heard of it?
Neither did I before I had my first portion on a hot
summer day back in 1997. Perhaps you have heard of the
Lebanon’s Kibbeh, a fried version…but we’ll get to
The meal always starts out with three or four small
salads. They change daily. This week we had a carrot
salad with diced chilies, pickled lemon rind and
cilantro. A mediocre cabbage salad that was flavored
with sesame oil and an above average amount of black
pepper and a traditional Turkish salad. The carrot
salad was incredibly spicy. I enjoy spicy food but my
eastern European Jewish palate can only take so much.
That’s why I always have hummus as smooth as a baby’s
bottom on hand to cool the sometimes overwhelming
mouth burning. This of course is mopped up with hot
fresh pita bread that is brought in every half hour
from the bakery up the street.
There are two kinds of kubbeh soup – red and green –
Red kubbeh soup has a tomato and beet base. Green
(commonly known as Chamutzta) is a really sour soup
made with swiss chard and a massive amount of lemon
juice. The star of both soups however is the Kubbeh
itself. Kubbeh are bulgar dumplings filled with lamb
meat and spices. The meat is sealed in the dough and
as soon as you cut one in half with your spoon,
delicious oil from the lamb leaks out….yum. Now my
lunch companions always get the sour soup. I however
can go either way. Depends on my mood. Last week I had
the red soup and the balance of beets and tomatoes was
a bit off. It was too beet-y. It was an off day. It
happens. It was still delicious, just not the same.
Sigh. There is always next week.
Usually I fill up on the soup, salad and hummus and
it’s more than enough….and I always grab something
to bring home. In this case I took some fried kube.
Its the same kube that is in the soup, just shaped
differently and deep fried. Best served with techina
(I say techina you say tehini) and a squeeze of lemon.
Best thing about Mordoch is the price. A huge bowl of
soup is roughly three dollars. About seventy five
cents is added to the bill to account for the
unlimited salads and pita, the communal hummus runs
about three bucks for a large plate and the meal is
always ended with a complimentary turkish coffee.
Complimentary for regulars that is…..
Now if you excuse me all this talk has made me hungry.
A very late dinner beckons.