Thursday, October 27, 2005


Well, we've found it. Our local go-to place when we want good, fast and cheap food.

Urfa Kebab on Boulevard Auguste Blanqui (just blocks from our door.)

Urfa is what the Parisians would call a "Grec"--a place where you can get kebabs, schwarma (in Paris, most of the schwarma is poultry, not the lamb I am so enamored with), pita, fries, tzatziki sauce, etc. They are very common, and you will find them in nearly every quartier. We've tried several, with varying degrees of success.

But Urfa Kebab is in a class by itself.

First, it's not a Grec (Greek). The owner is Kurdish, we think. From Turkey. And he seems to always be there, with an eye on everything in the place.

Secondly, it's clean. Really clean. I mean *Grandma Borgen clean!* (My Grandma is amazing--I'd eat off her floor any day. Not that she'd let me, but I'd try.)

Usually, going into a Parisian business, if you notice it is clean, there will also be the somewhat disturbing smell of dirty mop water. I especially notice this in grocery stores. It is rare to find a place that doesn't have that odor and is clean as well. Even rarer to find one that smells like good, likely highly toxic cleaning chemicals. I know all the environmentalists out there are tearing their hair out, but growing up as a North Dakota Norwegian/German, you learn to love the smell of highly toxic chemicals.

Urfa smells good. Clean, but chemical clean good. Like I wouldn't feel weird allowing a baby to crawl on the floor clean.

And, the owner is very fussy about presentation. He even has a ring of fresh parsley, bright yellow lemons and red tomatoes around the soda cans in the refrigerator. The SODA CANS!!! And when one thing is removed, he readjusts everything else so it is pleasing to the eye, organized by color and symmetrical.

And the food? Delicious. Cheap, and beautiful.

So last night, after I called Dr. B from the brasserie and asked him to start dinner (there were pork chops from Boucher Olivier at the street market in the fridge), he did what he normally does when he starts dinner.

He walked out the door to look for takeout.

And came home with 2 trays, compartmentalized into 5 sections, filled with green salad with tomatoes and vinaigrette, carrots, red cabbage and onion with more vinaigrette (organized by color), crispy fries, tzatziki sauce and on a bed of more fries (for presentation) --my favorite-- Kofta.

We call Kofta "that stuff that looks like dog poop but tastes amazing." It's a mixture of ground beef and lamb mixed with spices, skewered and grilled. Officially, I think this is also known as "urfa"--but his menu lists it as Kofta.

And I have to say, UK did not disappoint. Absolutely wonderful. Plus, the owner really appreciated Dr. B's attempts at conversation, and threw in fresh bread for free. When J told him "my wife loves your food" he got visibly excited. He knows it is a high compliment when the wife loves the food. And, all this wonderful food cost us only 13 euros.

We'll be back.

And if you're ever in the 13th, and hungry, head to Urfa Kebab, on the left side of Boulevard Auguste Blanqui (heading away from Place d'Italie). You won't be disappointed.



At 3:07 AM, October 28, 2005, Blogger Katia said...

yeahyeahyeah! It can be hard to find clean fast food places to eat here.
I think Kofta really is the turkish word for the stuff that looks like dog poop (I LURVE it. hehe). At least that is what it's called in these sorts of restos in Australia *shrugs* There are probably quite a few words for it though, in reality ;)

At 9:49 AM, November 01, 2005, Blogger Barnze said...

Kebabs are top class snap ain't they?


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