gyros gyros gyros....

So, I had to go to the malls 3 or 4 times a couple weeks ago. I never go to the mall, I avoid it if at all possible. In fact I will drive farther to avoid Mission Valley. Just the traffic, the parking, the walking around looking for a store...this is all a nightmare to me. When I was younger and in college I would have loved going to these open air malls, wasting time, shopping, window shopping, not so much now.

So, 2 weeks ago, I went to the Fashion Valley Mall - one of the worst malls to just pick something up. So this is where I got our beloved macbook pro. The place was loud and buzzing with activity like a cafeteria. There were about 2 employees working for every 3 customers. I upgraded the memory, so I had to wait until it was ready. So, it was lunchtime. I wasn't hungry because I get jittery when making big purchases, as I always wonder how we can afford it - which we really couldn't, I would find out a few days later.

Anyhoo, I knew I had to eat lunch because it was lunchtime. So I went to the food court. There was japanese, mexican, sandwiches, and a greek place. So, I figured I would get a gyro plate. It was okay.

Nothing special. Not enough dressing on the salad, there was kind of too much feta, and the meat was a little dry, but it did the job. It's funny, because back in the old days, the more cheese the better. But not so much now. So, I was pretty much finishing my gyro plate, when the Apple store called and told me that my new computer was ready, so perfect timing!

So, then, the next day, I had to go pick up contacts from Lenscrafters, which is in Mission Valley mall. So, we picked up the contacts, then we had lunch in the food court. I had an italian salad this time, only because there was no gyros there. It was a very blase salad with romaine lettuce, olives, grated mozzarella, and some sliced salami. The Food Pimp had his usual indian - some chicken makhani and some other stuff. Not really that good. And I guess the samosa sucked.

So, then on Friday, we had to go to guitar center to by an audio interface for our new macbook. Just spending money we don't really have on things that we think we need. Guitar center is in the Grossmont Center. There is a mall across the street that has a food court with indian food. So that's where we went for lunch. Food court. There was a greek restaurant, so, guess what I had? Gyro plate? I actually thought of the quarter chicken special, but the gyro won out, possibly because I knew it would be funny to eat gyro again? So, this plate came with rice and salad, and tatziki, surprise, surprise. It was much better than the first one. Not as dry, more dressing on the salad, good gyro meat. The FP's indian food was much better than the last food court's indian restaurant's offerings. I didn't get pictures of these, because we had been here before, so at the time, I didn't take any.

So, then, the next Saturday night, I had a horrible accident. I dropped the FP's iphone on the tile floor, and the glass shattered. I can't help thinking that this happened partially because I was still dealing with the fact that my future was up in the air, given I had gotten the new 2 days before that I was being replaced. So, we had a horrible Sunday morning going to the Horton Plaza looking for this internet store where they also fix iphones. So we wandered around, looked at the map, and after a long time and lots of frustration, we found it. But it wasn't open, of course. It didn't look like it was going to be open any time soon. So, we had to leave. We had to find somewhere to eat - so this time, we had El Salvadoreno, which was not the fastest choice, but a delicious choice, anyway. I had my usual - yucca con chicharrones, and the FP had his carne guisada. Once again, I didn't take pictures because we've eaten this over and over again!

I guess I can paint a picture. So there are those large yucca fries - they are as big as steak fries. They are crunchy on the outside, starchy fluffy goodness on the inside. And there's the cabbage salad. Cabbage and carrot. No dressing on it. And then there's the Chicarrones. So these are different than the mexican puffed up pig fat. It's the fat and the meat, and it's fried in this giant fryer pot in a huge amount of oil. So the outside is crispy and hard. It looks dry. But usually, you bite into it, and the meat is tender and fatty. Sometimes it's dry, but that doesn't bother me really, because it still has that delicious porky goodness. And now that I think about it, I didn't get the pickled onions this time!

And, they bring a chicken sauce and a red pepper salsa to the table, along with a cabbage salad. But they were busy, and they only brought us the sauces. We don't touch the chicken sauce because for one, it's pretty flavorless, and two, once they brought it to the table and it was bubbling like a hot springs. So, we had to ask for the cabbage salad. What I've noticed before, is that when they are busy, they don't bring us the cabbage salad, but they bring it to all the latinos. So I think there's this discrimination going on there. Like maybe the whites don't eat the salad or if they don't know about it, why bother giving it to them? I know I'm not white, but if I'm not latino then it doesn't matter what I am there at El Salvadoreno. Anyway, I'm not complaining really. Because eventually I got my cabbage salad, and I didn't really eat much of it, the FP ate it.

The FP's food is like a stewed thin puddle on a plate with the rice on the side, and I always thought it was weird that they serve it on a plate. I am a bowl girl myself. I can eat most meals in a bowl and be content. Probably because I'm a sloppy person, and bowls contain food much better than plates. So, anyhoo, the FP's food came with the homemade tortillas, which are thicker, but delicious. And we also got our usual mandatory pupusa with jalapeno y queso. Pupusas are just what should be a staple snack food. Like, why aren't there pupusa carts around town? Anyway, it's simple. It's two tortillas rolled together with filling in the middle. But if the masa dough is fresh and the lady (I've yet to see a senor making tortillas in a restaurant) knows how to roll a good tortilla and the filling is flavorful, it's just wonderful.

Monday morning, we had to go take the phone back to Horton Plaza. So we dropped the phone off, and then we needed to eat lunch. So, I had remembered this place called The Kebab Shop. We couldn't remember where it was. I said 6th, and the FP said 10th. So, it was 9th. I admit. I was wrong. I am often wrong. Very often. So, the place is a chain. But it is done in a very minimal, modest way. Small menu. Ikea furnishings. It gave me hope for opening my own restaurant. I could use cheap furniture and not have to offer everything under the sun. So it was lunchtime, so we had to wait a while. The tables were jammed together. This was the day after Coachella, and I guess these kids seemed to have just come from there. They were fucked up! I mean tripping balls. The FP noticed first. They were hugging and trying forever to get wristbands off, and they had the crazy eyes look. And they wouldn't sit down. They just waited and waited at the counter. And waited. And we waited. and waited.

Finally, our food came! So, I got the gyro plate with saffron rice and salad.

Oh, they had other sides, that after I ordered I wished I had gotten, but that left other items to get later. So, the gyro meat was delish. The saffron rice tasted like saffron. The salad was fresh and tasty, and the tatziki was really nice. I loved it.

And then I tasted the FP's dish. The iskender kebab.

So, it was gyro meat over warm pita squares, with brown butter, a tomato sauce, and lebneh kind of on the side. And a roasted chile. It was wonderful. Tomato and yogurt together on the lamb and the pita. Just so...comforting.

So, at the end of the week, the Kebab Shop won, hands down. I can't wait to go back there!

630 9th Avenue, downtown San Diego, 92101