Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sauce Wars

Tzatziki or not Tzatziki, that was my question.

The relationship between tzatziki sauce and Kebaba is as complicated as some of the Ancient Greek's relationships with their neighbor's over the centuries. But to first understand our relationship with the Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce one must first understand the histories of both. Although difficult to pinpoint it's true origin, historically tzatziki is used in Greek cuisine to accompany either souvlaki or gyros, but over the years has been accepted and transformed by other cultures throughout the region. To the Cypriots the dish is known as ttalattouri and recipes often include less garlic and includes the herb mint unlike the Greek counterpart. Similar versions can be seen in Bulgaria, Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, India and other hot-bed areas throughout the world. Therefore it is easy to presume that if one is not careful, those who embrace this delicious sauce can suffer much tribulation. Which leads me to believe it is a possibility tzatziki could very well be the basis for all of the problems that now exist in the Middle East today.

Like the complicated history of tzatziki, the history of Kebaba is also shrouded in mystery. Those who have visited have often been surprised by the wonderfully authentic and traditionally inspired dishes served up, without a person of Middle Eastern decent visible behind the scenes. Due to the extreme make-over, it is also confusing to long-time Bend residents as to what businesses used to be in that little old house Kebaba now resides in. Well, training with various Middle Eastern transplants over the years and a pure love of the cuisine, have allowed us to break the culture barrier and venture into the Modern Middle Eastern cuisine world. As for that little old house Kebaba now resides in, it used to be a green and white cottage that housed a few fancy restaurants prior to our make-over of the building and menu concept. Tzatziki was intentionally avoided for the first couple of years to not get our customers confused about the Middle Eastern versus Greek cuisine. But after the untimely fall of Demetri's on the East-side and through continued customer requests we felt it is now time to give the people more of what they want.

Although I wouldn't argue this point with the father of the bride in the movie "My Big fat Greek Wedding", the Greek word is derived from the Turkish cacık, which means a form of chutney (cacık, the Turkish side dish with similar ingredients, is diluted). Although basic in ingredients, tzatziki's preparation is time consuming and can seem complicated to the everyday cook. The yogurt and cucumber first needs to be strained and this process alone can be intimidating to most. But through many trials and test batches I have finally found a recipe I can be proud of and willing to share with the masses. Ours is a little more heavy on the cucumber and a little less heavy on the garlic than most recipes I consulted. So please come by and try our version of this often misunderstood and battle tested, delicious, creamy and zesty sauce.

Recommended pairings. Lamb Schwarma and Falafel Sandwiches. Lamb or Chicken Kebab Entrees. Lunch or Dinner Mezzas and Zataar Manakeesh Appetizer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The results are in!

...and the winner is! Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. As you can clearly see from the professionally documented winners and losers brackets, Celebration came from behind to win the whole thing. Champion is determined by two consecutive victories in final round. But that's so clear from the brackets, you already knew that.

Anyway, Celebration now offered at Kebaba. For a limited time only.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Brew

Deschutes Jubelale is flowing through the taps. I really like this years brew. It's not too heavy in any one direction and it's easy to have more than one.

Following text lifted from the Deschutes website. "Did you know that Jubelale was the first beer ever bottled by Deschutes Brewery? Brewed with dark crystal malt creating a luscious holiday note with bountiful hops to excite your taste buds— it’s easy to see why Jubelale is the perfect complement to the season. Every year Deschutes Brewery selects a Northwest artist to create an image evocative of the season’s festive atmosphere. In 2008, Pam Jersey Bird, who lives in Sisters, painted a winding, abstract river running through the open spaces of Central Oregon’s desert, surrounded by fluttering snowfall. "

Available:October to December
Alc. by Vol.6.7%
IBUs 60