Wednesday, March 21, 2007


It’s not every day I fantasize about pickled cabbage.

But that’s what I think about most when I recall my late lunch last year at Pasha, a quaint Turkish restaurant in Rice Village. I had ordered grilled baby lamb chops – good grill flavor, albeit overcooked – and ended up gobbling every last bit of the magenta side of shredded cabbage. As soon as I finished, I wanted more.

So I returned Tuesday, this time for dinner, with CabbageLover.

Our menu:
- hummus
- phyllo-wrapped feta rolls

- baby lamb chops with the cabbage, plus tomato, green bell pepper, red onion and rice
- Turkish pizza with Turkish sausage (spicy, not hot)

The calf's liver appetizer called out to me, but having had a poor liver dish a few months ago at the otherwise swell Mary'z, I couldn't justify ordering another liver dish with only one companion to share the potential artery-clogging misery. It is meant for a bigger group on a different day.

CabbageLover and I had just had Yia Yia Mary’s hummus Sunday, so we couldn’t help but compare the two versions. Pasha’s was nuttier and lacked a lemony bite. We preferred Yia Yia Mary's runnier dip, but both were good (it’s hard to go wrong with hummus, I say). I wonder: Was it a difference in restaurants or countries (or both)?

The cheese in the phyllo-feta rolls tasted more brie than feta to me. That salty kick was just not there and it had a funkiness that seemed odd for feta. Still, we ate all four pieces. Addictive? Absolutely.

The Turkish pizza arrived in the shape of a flattened football. The menu listed a “thick crust” and all I could think about – dread, really -- was if it’d be as thick as the greasy pan Pizza Hut pies of my youth. Thankfully, it was not. It was also sliced into thin strips v. wedges. I longed for some more spice and CabbageLover wanted herbs and feta sprinkled on top. The salty Turkish sausage reminded me of Spanish chorizo. It wasn't hard to grab another piece...and another after that.

I didn’t like my lamb as much this time, maybe ‘cause I specified medium-rare and the chops didn’t arrive very hot, as CabbageLover so thoughtfully noted. I loved the rice, though, which had taken on some of that great grill flavor from the lamb. So it looks like my ideal dish at Pasha is grilled lamb-flavored rice and pickled cabbage. Wonder how much that would cost?

I didn’t get as much cabbage this time, though, because I was with CabbageLover. I very graciously offered him more than half of the pickled side and, no surprise, he took it!

I will have to return without him.

(My once-fabulous camera was on the fritz again, so no food shots. Darn. I actually remembered to bring it this time, too.)

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