Monday, October 12, 2009

Bodega's pretty great

Thought we'd be fancy and order from La Bodega, which we've never done before. Although the delivery menu contains no sandwiches and such items as beef carpaccio with pesto, duck in filo with orange sauce and brochettes of fresh grouper with antiboise sauce, there is a pleasant and very reasonably priced selection of soups and salads. Longing eyeing the alcoholic beverages section, we ordered goat cheese salads at L.E. 16.
These arrived quite promptly with a pleasingly wee delivery charge of L.E. 1.50. Ya salam. Carefully packaged in aluminum foil containers upended over each other and then wrapped in foil, the salad gets full points for packaging and all cutlery was included, including spoons. The vast salad consisted of crisp mixed lettuces including fresh rocket (virtually the only leafy green item I like) with four toasted slices of French bread in the corners, each topped with a lightly grilled tomato wedge and circlet of goat's cheese. A nice big one. A little well-sealed cup of a light lemon-based dressing was provided. Everything was flavourful and the bread- which I wouldn't have normally eaten – presented a nice contrast to the cheese. The only jarring notes for me were the tomatoes, which were grilled and thus evil and not raw and plentiful as I usually prefer. But I was prepared to overlook this startling dearth of other vegetables than lettuce, a phenomenon that is at least in the top ten of my roster of rants, because the rest was awesome.
Jarring notes for officemate S were two male hairs found in her salad. She still ate it but when I called them to bitch mildly (was not own problem but she made the order to was my turn to call) they immediately put the manager on. He insisted quite strenuously on sending a replacement salad, which I declined with every appearance of kind graciousness (only because we were goat-cheesed out) whereupon he sent us both crème caramel with a fruit topping of kiwi, pomegranate kernels (right? Kernels?) and grapes. I was wowed. No one in Egypt has ever offered to replace a faulty delivered foodstuff before. I'm no fan of the crème, finding the burnt caramel taste too bitter and frankly the pomegranate seeds kept surprising my mouth in both texture and flavour (that's what she said…) but still good. Go BODEGA!

Also, my officemate says to report that Mori Sushi delivers extremely badly. Not been my experience but it is true that her eel sushi looked exactly like a long-dead internal organ, all pink and shriveled and frilly. They forgot the sauce. Which is KEY. She also ordered some kind of friend banana dessert which was an absolute travesty, an act of malignant fraud even. It was 1.5 Egyptian bananas in a thin-ass flavourless batter laying on three orange slices in chocolate sauce, which she had asked them not to include. This cost L.E. 33. Was incandescent.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ciccio, my ass

In honour of the merciful end of Ramadan…which I have more or less observed since it’s pretty inconvenient to order food at work by myself.

This "Italian cafe" is a wee spot on Marashly Street in Zamalek. The person who took my order actually had to go turn down the Quran blaring in the background to hear me, but was otherwise quite nice. The order took AGES to arrive considering the minute distance they had to travel. I ordered a smoked turkey sandwich which I was informed came with a “garnish” of potatoes. These turned out to be a serving of soggy fries. Luckily I like soggy fries, but there was no ketchup, which I consider to be a cardinal sin in the list of restaurant sins. It’s the second time they’ve done this, too, so it’s IN THE BONE.

The turkey sandwich, alleged to contain cheddar, was simply a fino loaf with a slice of supermarket turkey, a slice of processed mystery cheese and some limp shredded lettuce all popped into the toaster. For 16 pounds. The latte I ordered was mostly milk, and was small and in a thin plastic container that melted in crinkled waves from the hot coffee. 15 pounds. They did provide adequate sugar packets AND sweetener though.

So…that was poop. It’ll close down in a couple months.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


You might have seen this little place next to that shop that sells nothing but fancy stupid fans. Fans! I was pretty sure it was merely a money-laundering business, but a friend assures me that people actually buy those fans and that she knows the owner. Still.
I love panzerotti (is that the plural?) and, of course, Seinfeld so I decided to order one.
I picked the Panzerotto Sausage, boasting mozzarella, tomatoes, green pepper and sausage. These things were all spelled correctly. My ponciness is such that this is an influential factor in food selection. I also tried to order a coffee but their coffee machine is broken, as it has been for several weeks. This country suffers an extreme lack of coffee, especially affordable, good coffee. Fellow Canadians can now join me for a moment of silent reflection the sheer, unparalleled, miraculous awesomeness of Tim Horton’s coffee. Dear Tim, you are responsible for my completion of a law degree. Hug.
Anyway, my panzo arrived. It was not good. I suppose the dough and degree of baking-ness was OK, although not standard fare. The sausage was definitely hot dog, all boiled and horrible. There were by no means tomatoes or green peppers. Instead, there were olives, which I hate. It was also deeply undersauced.
In conclusion, I’d probably order this again, just to see if directing copious instructions would make a difference. Besides, it’s still Cairo, and the food here is just bad.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Eurodeli, unpunned

Eurodeli used to be awesome, but it’s gone quite severely downhill. Nevertheless, due to its proximity and 24-hourliness I often order food from there, even though the only really good items are the fries and some of the Lebanese food.

Today Dettol Girl and I ordered, respectively, a Panini Veggie (fresh vegetable with vinegar balsamic and garlic) with mozzarella cheese and a Tuna Sandwish (corn, tomato,lettuce, mayo or lemon) without the mayo. They were L.E. 12 each, although the extra cheese cost L.E. 4.

Dettol Girl liked her sandwich. It took considerable prodding to get her to say “it was a little small” (it’s huge, but she works out for 5 hours every day) and that it had enough eggplant, which she likes. Aren’t you entertained and informed now?

I remembered why I never order tuna sandwiches from Eurodeli: they’re too fishy. Otherwise, though, it was satisfactory. What do other places do to reduce fishiness? Tons of lemon? Mayonnaise?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vital burgers

Contribution! This is from a friend who doesn't have a job, and therefore I let her post about random ordering - it was still during the daytime. Apply to me for translation if needed!

Have a gripe about the otherwisely wonderful Burger Kitchen (and Vital, they're in on this too). Homalletnein have the same parent company, Sage somethingorother, and are in fact open in the same location.
The order guy at Burger Kitchen has my number, of course, but this time I'm ordering from a new location so I carefully dictate the address, directions included - it takes some time. I ask for my burgers and then order a salad belmarra for the 3asafeer. They used to allow it (probably since they use the same kitchen); 3ala my luck el wesekh they changed their minds on a day I was especially hungry and therefore impatient. You can imagine my state of mind when the following habal ensued.
He informs me that I have to call the other number, and when I protest he tells me they're now a 'separate company.'
'No they're not.'
'Well, they're a separate restaurant.'
'Run by the same company.'
'In a different location.'
'..the same flat?'
'But a different kitchen!'
'No. But they have a different phone line and a, a different computer!' he says, triumphant.
Whatever. I slam the receiver down and dial Vital's number, which differs by one digit.
'Vital ma3 7adretak howmayIhelpyou?'
'It's you again? I want to add that salad to my order!'
'What is the phone number please?'
'But I was just on the phone with you! And you have caller ID!'
'Ok, ok, what is the address please?'
'I just gave you the fucking address!'
'No, but this is a new order and I please I needtheaddressplease'
I was about to literally blow my top, but counted to ten instead. Through gritted teeth, I manage, 'Is-the-address-from-the-BurgerKitchen-order-still-on-the-screen-in-front-of-you?'
The madness went on for some time, but eventually I terrorised him so much that he did everything I told him to, despite informing me (by this point in a whimper) that this was againsttherulesnowit'saseparatecompanyaseparatecompany like some robotic mantra. The poor bastard had shorted his brains out, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea of 7omoreyya that is Burger Kitchen/Vital's ordering system.
Fuckers. If it's the same fucking guy taking the orders for the same fucking customers, for food coming out of the same fucking kitchen then for fuck's sake get the same fucking number and quit this insanely bureaucratic fein wednak ya Go7a bullshit.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Sorry folks. Ordered different things though. Also, I have a new officemate now, Dettol Girl, who is wildly germo-phobic, has a sensitive stomach and is afraid of food, by her own admission. However, I prevailed on her to order with me. I called Subway and said I wanted a wrap. This was a word the guy who answered the phone had never heard before. I shouted it but that did not help. Eventually I pointed it out on the menu, at which point he announced they didn’t have any. Also, the only cheese they have is something called White American. I pictured it in giant shorts and a farmer’s tan for a second. Dettol Girl ordered the Veggie Delite sandwich (I can’t believe they’ve trademarked that phrase) except without any of the veggies due to her fear of insufficient washing, and with extra cheese. She says she doesn’t want to eat protein – I heaved a deep sigh. Only olives and jalapenos made the cut and she picked them off. Thus, she did not feel like the L.E. 14 was a worthwhile investment, although she said the sandwich was good and gave it two thumbs up.

I had the spicy Italian in brown bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. Exciting stuff, isn’t it? It was pretty good. The lettuce was shredded though, which just makes things icky when it combines with the mayonnaise (forgot to prohibit) and mustard. A word about mustard: I understand the following is an unorthodox, nay, a heretical view to most, but I just do not like it. No. Nein. You can’t make me. I do however stock it in my house in various forms for my friends, who use it to make salad dressings, grotesquely. The sandwich was slightly under-cheesed, however, and not nearly as attractively stuffed as in the picture. I still believe in food pictures on menus apparently.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I specifically ordered food today so as not to lose the momentum from yesterday (thank you, Arabist). Sometimes I just subsist on coffee and a piece of fruit all day. I know it’s bad for me. The fruit is the concession I made to that. So yeah.
First I asked if anyone wanted to order food with me; one of the responses I received was “la2, batalna nakol khalas.” I was silent. Further questioning revealed that she brought her own lunch. This, I think, is quite a different thing.
I solicited lunch suggestions from friends, my menu store being thin right now. One suggestion was koshari – immediately followed by: “If you did that you would spend all night groaning, and clutching your stomach with gas pains. Also, I do not relish the prospect of spending the night smelling your moist koshari farts.” In deference to this pimp expression I did not order koshari, which totally wipes out a work day, anyway.
I ordered from Arabica. I’ve eaten food from there often, but stopped getting it delivered due to two deeply maddening practices:
  1. When you order wraps in the restaurant, they bring you awesome potatoes. They do not when you get them delivered, unless your order the potatoes separately. The price is the same. You can imagine how apoplectic this makes me.
  2. When you get soups delivered they won’t bring you the croutons they serve you in the store. Less of an issue.
When I complained about this I received the inspired response that when you dine in, the potatoes and croutons are complimentary. Buncha crooks!

Anyway. Menu dearth. I figured I would try their pasta, which has only relatively recently been added to the menu. I had the creatively named “chicken pasta”, alleging to have chicken, mushrooms and beef bacon. I substituted pomodoro sauce for alfredo sauce (asking for “red sauce” did not achieve the desired result). He asked me if I wanted mozzarella, and I hesitated, and asked for it on the side. He assured me it would be mixed in, not just in a lump, so I acquiesced. Wish they had parmesan.

The food arrived at a reasonable time costing a whopping L.E. 44. The pasta itself cost L.E. 32, and the mozzarella was NINE POUNDS. Welad el a7abi! L.E. 3 delivery. Did not tip (I hate tipping in general).

It was a large portion – and that ends my list of pros. There sauce was too sharply tomato-ey; the mushrooms canned; the mozzarella in congealed, fatty lumps; the chicken fibrous and dry; and the beef bacon absent. As was anything in the garlic family. Fuck them with sharp sticks.

Don’t do this shit.

(By the way, feel free to email me your reviews. Because it’s only one Delivery douche right now.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eat fresh - but also, all meats are halaal

Back to practicing law, and ordering food. Just me this time though – but Mystic Mo wasn’t too helpful really, not being completely in touch with mere food.
Today I ordered from Subway, newly opened in Zamalek on Yehia Ibrahim St. I happened to pass there with a friend at perhaps midnight last week, and when I stepped in to get a menu I was eagerly greeted by an elderly white-mustached man, who asked us cautiously if we were familiar with Subway and then launched into English immediately. He handed me a menu without prices. Sandwiches cost from L.E. 16-18 for a six-inch though. They don’t charge taxes, but there’s an L.E. 5 delivery charge.
The menu contains absolutely no spelling mistakes – chilling. Oh, wait, at the bottom they spelled “Jordan” as “Jordon” which is just better.
I ordered a tuna sub with tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos and onions, no cheese, brown bread. This is exactly what arrived, to my astonishment. Ingredients were fresh, but the tuna was quite a bit over-mayonnaised (oh most dastardly of substances). Perhaps I can talk them into taking it down a notch – although my attempts to influence Casper and Gambini’s increasingly poor food and service met with no success.

There’s quite a bit less to write about one person ordering, isn’t there. Trying to break my writer’s block though, so it might be best to take it easy.