Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cafe Tabasco: Their Pasta Salad is Revolting

We rarely order from here, as it is invariably a disappointment. I don’t now why we kept the faith.

Even more strangely, I ordered something called the Tabasco Pasta Salad. I am generally against pasta salads, since I believe a salad’s chief ingredients should be vegetables, and that people should not disguise carbohydrates as health food. It’s blatant misrepresentation. Also, I am generally opposed to salads being whole meals, as they just sit there in a cold lump in my stomach. To this end I have had many conversations with my friend Spaz to the effect of:

Me: How can you eat this thing calling itself a salad?

Spaz: I like it. It doesn’t leave a cold feeling in my stomach.

Me: But it’s got tuna AND pasta.

My pasta salad purported to have pasta, salami, smoked veal, green and red pepper, corn, cheddar, gargir, basil and sundried tomato, and it also purported to cost L.E. 20.

Mystic Mo ordered a Groovy Pasta Salad (“yeah, baby!”) claiming to contain pasta, olives, green and red pepper, salami, turkey, corn, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and basil oil, allegedly at L.E. 18. He will order anything if he sees the word “basil” in it. I ordered a café latte and he ordered a café mocha.

Nine hundred years later the food arrived. We were unhappy because we hadn’t asked for anything cooked and the place is really close by. Moreover, we each had to fork over L.E. 50 again (although technically he owed L.E. 5 more than me because he asked for cheese, overpriced!). It seems that our menu was outdated and now these salads cost L.E. 29 a pop. Global food crisis impacting the rich!


Needless to say, no pasta salad can live up to the expectations created by L.E. 29 but these fell far short of even that. When they arrived, infinitesimally small and minus forks, we could not figure out which was which. We just distributed them, I unearthed forks from my closet, and we sat down at our desks.

I think I started out with the Groovy. I say this because I swam in a bath of balsamic vinegar, distinctly sans anything in the way of cherry tomatoes. That Shit Was Repugnant, is all I have to say.

Meanwhile, Mystic Mo reported that his one, the Tabasco, was too full of gargeer, and certainly had no sundried tomatoes, although he liked the basil and said overall it was OK. He suggested however that it would improve both salads if we mixed them together. I got up and approached his desk, around which both of us stood for a while, plastic containers of salad in hand, trying to figure out how to mix them yet still retain half each. Ultimately, of course, we did the stupidest thing ever. We used our forks to make dividing lines along each of our salads, and then tried to use the plastic forks to ladle one half of each ON to one of the halves of the other salad. This resulted in my dropping a fat kernel of corn of a book on his desk, “How to meet and work with Spirit Guides” by Ted Andrews, which was lying face down because he didn’t want our activities to disturb the Guides. Anyway, when I got the kernel of corn (with dressing) on his nutjob text he said, “Matneekileesh el maktab!” and suggested we do the rest of our mixing over my desk. This we did not do. We did it over the floor instead, now decorated with a piece of mushroom.

We retired again behind our respective desks. The salads were marginally improved but still ick and I didn’t finish mine. Gross. There were just too many flavours in both that just didn’t mesh well together (apart from the missing ingredients and balsamic vinegar deluge). I knew I was right about this pasta salad thing. Not that any of Tabasco’s food has ever met with my approval really. It’s sad that it is, as far as I know, the only place to procure pancakes in Zamalek. I don’t like pancakes myself but my friends do. The one in Dokki has shisha as well.


The coffee was acceptable. They also provided us with sugar packets and spoons for it, and each of them was clearly labeled. Mine said “Name: Mr. لاتيه” but I got the idea. They also included two pieces of toast for each of us in triangular plastic boxes. We had no idea what to do with these pieces of toast.

Overall, suckage. Not ever ordering from there again. Their work-appropriate foods have always blown. Mystic Mo said the Tabasco Pasta Salad was OK though. But I think his judgment is compromised by his love for basil.


Nes said...

Sorry Mystic Mo, but I believe you're mistaken. However, basil does do a good job at sprucing up most things.

Anonymous said...

i mean...ehem, sorry u had a bad ikky meal, but that simply put a smile on my face. i hear ya when it comes to tabasco really, unless u order anything besides their pizza then ur in for some surprises. the pizza is actually ok. simple but REALLY small if ur hungry, i can personally have 2-3 of them if i were hungry!!
but pasta salads, NEVER touch the stuff..its a bad example and disgrace for good salads out there.

Anonymous said...

guys what are you doing ordering from tabasco? the only reason to ever have tabasco is for coffee when you want to waste hours of your time talking to your friends. for professional eating, do you know dar el-amar delivers from their express branch in mohandissen? good lunch time food with the wraps. and best hummus ever. with trianon you have to stick to salads and their watermelon/lime juice. everyone has their specialty. for sandwiches, why not thomas? you can basically create your own and they always get it right. i like the theme--a lawyer in NY who spent three years in cairo, i always wanted to do it.

Forsoothsayer said...

the cheese on the pizza is always congealed unless you're in the store.
i never actually go to tabasco...i never go anywhere just for coffee. how dull. there needs to be shisha as well.
mystic mo has lobbied long and hard for thomas sandwiches. we should give them a shot. as for dar el amar, i find them overpriced and i don't like to wait that long for a shawerma.

DesertExclusive said...

This is hilarious...especially the salad mixing debacle...Hello, mushroom on the floor!!! :)

Is gargir also known as arugula? I ask, because i always get mixed up.

Love the idea...way to go!!

f. said...

let this be a lesson to both of you. aside from their pancakes, tabasco is a disaster waiting to happen....and man, i don't know where they get the balls to charge those ridiculous prices the crap they try to pass off as food.

i've had so many abortive experiences there, just walking by the place makes me slightly mad

Basbousa said...

Haha. Living and working in Cairo before, I used to be a member of the "food team" consisting of myself and two other colleagues working in the "balcony" (that was our place in the run down appartment-office). We always struggled searching for the lunch of the day :D

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