The kebab explosion
I finally made my way through all my backed-up e-mail. You get a good overview doing it this way (sifting through a million in a week), but I don't recommend it. Too stressful. You find there are e-mails you should have answered whose writers are probably dead by now.
But back to the overview. I've gotten a surprising number of e-mails (OK, four) about new kebab houses.
We had an earlier conversation about all the Latin American places that opened in the last decade in the Upper Fells/Highlandtown area, and the Little Asia that's developing around Catonsville and Ellicott City.
Just as striking, it seems to me, is the number of kebab places that opened in the aughts. What makes it particularly interesting is what I wrote about immediately after 9/11 at the beginning of the decade: ...
I stopped by the Kabob Hut at 13 Allegheny Ave. in Towson recently and felt sad because the normally bustling spot was empty, in spite of the little American flags stuck everywhere. (The super-nice owners are natives of Iran.) A few days later, a friend of mine was told the Egyptian owner of Al Pacino Pizza at 6080 Falls Road had gone home depressed because business was so bad.
I can understand customers having vague feelings of unease about eating Middle Eastern food these days, but it would be too bad to see any of our nice neighborhood eateries go under as a byproduct of the terrorist attacks.
Luckily that unease didn't last too long, and now kebab places are opening everywhere. To mention just two that I got raves about:
Ayubi's Chicken & Kabob
6604 Ritchie Highway
Susan wrote this about it:
I took a chance this weekend and stopped at a little place in Glen Burnie Called Ayubi's. It looks like a drive through and the posted exterior meno was for generic fried food but a quick roll up to the window gave me access to a Afghani menu. I bought an entree and it was superb! I plan on stopping there every time I drive that way. The food was cooked to perfection; the food was fresh, beautifully presented and delicious. I came home and sent a group-wise email to friends in Canton, Federal Hill and UMMS.
Then I heard about this one from Danielle, who seems to be involved with it in some way:
10902 Boulevard Circle
I've been following your blog and thought you may be interested in learning about a new small restaurant in Owings Mills, MD, KavKaz Kebab. This six month old Kebab cafe has already made a huge impact in the Owings Mills, Reisterstown and Pikesville communities.
What's particularly interesting is that this is an Azerbaijan restaurant.
From a purely personal standpoint, kebab restaurants represent something of a dilemma for Sun food writers. Our style is to spell it "kebab," but most of these restaurants have "kebob" in their names. It's like writing about the Szechuan House and having to say it specializes in Sichuan cuisine.
(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)