Kofte with the kiddies at Turkish Kitchen in Berkeley
CHEAP EATS Some people really thought I was going to move to Norway! I'm not. I'm sorry. I was just making fun of myself for trying to move to Germany last winter. This one, between the holidays and playing shortstop for my new football team, I am going to New York City, Boston, New Orleans, and France.
Boston = old band's reunion show. New York = practicing for that. New Orleans = taking care of a baby and eating fried everything. France = refinding the chicken farmer in me and putting the finishing touches on a book I haven't started yet. And all of the above is just my way of, you know, keeping it surreal.
So that's no to Norway, yes to adventure. More fun in one-one, ready, go.
Don't worry, I have a new jacket! Thanks to my secret agent lady Sal, I will be stylin' in New York, rockin' in Boston, hot in New Orleans, and tres farmerish in France. Yes, my new wear-everywhere coat manages to be girly yet still have pockets. And a hood! And it's soft and Army green, which is one of my 12 favorite colors. So I might not take it off.
Believe me, the last thing I expected to be writing about today was Turkish food. But what was I going to do? Chunk and Chunk and Crawdad de la Cooter have a new favorite restaurant, and they invited me there for lunch after a grueling morning of playing sailboat in their living room.
On one wall and the ceiling (of the restaurant) there's this huge mural of almost everything in the world, including the Czech Republic. And a turtle. And sharks. And a mermaid. And an octopus. Honestly, it's pretty impressive. Therefore, the kids were impressed.
Kate Chunk, who is two, kept asking the waitressperson if they have pasta. (They don't.) She looked at me very seriously, after our order was placed, and said, "I want macaroni."
"I feel your pain, Sweetie," I said, "but it's not going to happen, not here."
The waitressperson, who also felt her pain, almost immediately produced a basket of pita bread, and then our little carb-loader was happy. Me too! The pita was made in-house, and it was thick and soft and very much more breadlike than most pitas I have bitten.
We were dipping it into this thing called ezme, which is roasted red peppers with tomato, lemon, onion, and parsley, and blended with a zing-zang of other spices. Awesome.
Crawdad ordered kofte, and I got the lamb and beef doner. Both plates came with rice and salad for $8 or $9. Kofte is something like meatballs but, still, the Chunks de la Cooter seemed to prefer my doner.
Clara Chunk, who eats more like me (she goes to town on the meat) kept reaching across the table for more, and I was happy to provide because I personally preferred the meatballs.
While C.C. was in the bathroom with Crawdad. I tried to get K.C.'s impression of the food.
"I like macaroni," she said.
"Yeah, but we didn't eat that," I said. "How did you like what we did eat?"
"I like pasta," she said
"That's right, Sweetie," I said, and I let her off the hook. "I like pasta too." The restaurant reviewing portion of the brain is not fully developed at 47, let alone two-and-a-half. There will be plenty of time for both of us to have more sophisticated thoughts than these, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, we both leaned back in our side-by-side chairs, except technically hers was a booster seat.
"See the ship?" I said.
"Where?" she said.
On Turkish television, at the seam between the wall mural and the ceiling one, two guys were pointing guns at each other. I thought for sure brains were going to fly, so I tried to keep K.C. focused on ships and sharks and things. Happy 11 everyone.
Sun.–Thu. 11 a.m.–10 p.m.;
Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–11 p.m.
1986 Shattuck, Berk.
Beer and wine