Friday, April 26, 2013

Pssssst! Can you keep a secret?

Dearest most Loyal Blog Follower,

I have been away for a while, I know. But look, I have come back to you with something extraordinary I am sure you will love me for it.
Since February this year I have been on a mission.  The story began when I had a training, and I loved the food served for lunch I kept asking, "Where is this from? Where is this from?" and all I got was: "It's from Tasty!"

But... where is Tasty?

Since then, every time I saw food from Tasty I knew it right away before I even had a chance to taste it. It was always proper home made food. Just perfect, as if it had just come off from your mum's stove and out of her pots. Tasty was indeed Tasty!
Tasty Delicious food in Erbil - Secret places revealed
Almost four months later and I have found every man's food heaven, and I am sharing it all with you my dearest Loyal Blog Follower. 

I wish I can give you the street name, post code, house number and you could go and find it right away. however since we live in Kurdistan, and more in particular Erbil I will take you through the whole process. (You know how it goes: Next to X, then turn third street right, then after the blue building second left etc." Sounds familiar right?!) 
When I fell in love with Tasty
This is well over my fourth attempt to find this secret hiding place to the most amazing home-made food. The food has an Iranian touch to it, other than the sweets everything tastes zoooooor delicious (I bet you anything that the chef is from Iran in fact there is no need for a bet, my research already confirmed this prediction to be CORRECT).

Okay, I will get to the point now. So, after I find out it's in Bakhtiary and behind a school it makes my search a lot easier. I just have to find every school in the Bakhtiary area (which by they way there aren't many) and then try to drive behind them. You can imagine what my poor mother was thinking sitting next to me, though she didn't say anything thinking  to herself: "Finally my skinny daughter is in search of food."*

If you are familiar with the Bakhtiary quarter in Erbil this is going to be easy, if you're not don't worry I have come to the rescue with the the exact directions. I promise you, you will NOT get lost. You can prosecute my Blog if you do.^ 

1. Go on the "dooooooo side-dakay Baxtyari" (the main two sided road in Bakhtiary- yes, that's how we give directions here!) This is the long road where the emergency hospital is, and if you go down further there is another private hospital, I think it's called Farewell! Which by the way is a very interesting choice for a hospital name.

2. From that two sided road, as you go towards the Zakaria Apartments, if the artist Zakaria doesn't ring a bell to you, then I mean Naz City, on your right there is a corner fruit shop (this is the part where I expect you to think 'oooooo thaaaaaat shop'). The famous Bakhtiary fruit and groceries shop that your mum probably asks you to go to every time she needs a kilo of whatever she has runout of at home.

3. Go into that road, where all the shops are drive--or walk-- up straight. No right, no left. Just straight. 

4. Then you will see on your left a school. Here turn left, then the first right after the school finishes turn right. So you are right behind it. On the front side of the school is basically a wall with illustrations on it. It's hard to miss.

Behind the school in Bakhtiary**

5. You don't even have to look for it... it is right there "TASTY." 

This is when you probably insult me with your words under your breath. "All this way, and this is what I find?" Simply because it is a small kitchen like place with a few chairs. 

But then......

And here is Tasty
6. You find it closed! Can you imagine? After four months search, I finally find it, and it's closed. But don't worry your beloved Blogger won't let you suffer. You can order by a phone call, or here are the working hours I found on display:

Working hours for Tasty Kitchen in Bakhtiary - Erbil

Delivery Service just a call away...
Until my next HUGE discovery khwa hafiz!

P.S. I am not responsible for any meals that you find tasteless at Tasty! ;)

*For some reason Kurdish mothers (daya) are always concerned if their daughters are half a kilogram underweight. 
** Sorry, I can't remember the school name. I couldn't take a picture of the front side of it either, ask my daya why :) 
^ But I will get you a free Tasty meal, just so you don't go through with the legal charges :P

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Perfect Day in Erbil

Hellloooo Loyal Reader,

Well, public holiday today and it did not need much effort to decide how to spend my day. I managed to have the perfect day. Of course, with the perfect people.

The morning started with no breakfast.
DK texted: "Saza... I miss Mam Khalil." 
Me: "Kche Saza baqurbant bet. Mam Khalil it is."

[40 minutes later]

We found parking. That was great. Next, we walked in the maze of the Qaysari Bazaar to a restaurant that offer kebabs! Only kebabs. Listen, this is not your fancy 5 Star restaurant, and if you're one of those people who complains "eeew that's dirty, eeeew he is not wearing gloves, eeew this and eeew that!" Then I do not recommend this place, so please save yourself the trouble and save me the blame.

Everyone else (the coooool readers of this blog) OH MY GOD! If you have not been yet, then what are you waiting for????!

Kabab Khanay Yaseen - Family section
too good!
It was my good friend NQ who first introduced me to Kabab Khanay Yaseen (if you're a Loyal Reader you will know exactly when), since that day it is a must every time I visit the qalat. Look, I am not a meat eater, in fact if meat was not an ingredient in Dolma (Yaprax) then I would have definitely been a vegetarian by now, but here it is not just the food, but the experience.

Waiting for It to arrive
The restaurant, is basically overcrowded. Well, too crowded, ummm... maybe a little overcrowded? Eeer... crowded to the limit where you actually have to share a table with people you don't know. Yup! We sat on a table with a man and two women we have never met in our entire lives, but this is how it is at Yaseen's Kebab! While everyone else made new friends and socialized, we (the three of us) were dead quiet eating. The service is not perfect and no one really cares how you eat. There is no menu. It is simple: You order kebab, but just say how much you want. While some of my friends order "se nafar" (three people), poor me who is trying to add weight orders "niwww nafar" (half a person).

"niw nafar kabab"

You wait a bit (depending on how crowded it is, sometimes up to 10 minutes. But trust me 10 minutes is like 10 hours when all you're doing is listening to your churning tummy and watching people eat), and it arrives. So, basically, there is no etiquette. If you want my advice this is how you need to eat it: Put some (a LOT of)  smaq, then get the bread, add a bit of kebab, squeeze some lemon, add a bit of onion, tomato, pickles, and then.... yes, take that juicy bite and wait till the oil drips from the bottom of your mini sandwich!

The perfect bite!

Once you've eaten. Wash your hands at the sink, because it is going to be greasy, and walk your way (about 2 minutes) to Mam Khalil's tea shop-- If you don't know Mam Khalil then you don't know me!!!!
The perfect Kurdish tea
Here, sit back, relax, take out your notebook and enjoy the best chaaaaa you have ever had. In your life. In your entire life. The best. Yup. The perfect temperature. The perfect amount of sugar. Not too dark. Not too light. Did I mention it was perfect?!

aaaah that was nice...

And this, my dearest reader was my day off!