Americans compete over who makes the best bbq, Vietnamese the best pho, and us Arabs, we fight over who makes the best kebab.
Kebab, kebab, kebab, that’s all I’ve heard all week since my parents came to visit. Even though I currently live in Arizona, home to tasty Mexican food (shout out to Los Betos late night drive thru) my mom made it clear that she did not want to go to a Mexican restaurant the day she arrived.
She wanted kebab.
With that, the marathon of kebab began.
Stop 1: The Persian Room in North Scottsdale:
This used to be the go to place for kebab in the Valley. With generous portions, great prices, and a bustling dining room, anyone who was anyone in the kebab community came here for Iranian kebab.
Then tragedy struck The Persian Room; they got a new oven. If ice cream is to apple pie then bread is to kebab. While one may be able to survive without the other, the synergistic effect of the two is immeasurable.
The Persian Room for an inexplicable, baffling, and inexcusable reason decided to change their oven from one that used to produce hot, fluffy, delicious bread to some Set It And Forget It contraception where the bread comes out flat and dry.
Picture your favorite puppy before and after falling into the pool.
Without the trusty sidekick of bread with kebab, my parents and I enjoyed a deflated dinner of kebab.
Stop 2: Pars Restaurant in North Scottsdale:
Pars is another Iranian kebab palace in Arizona. Iranians lay claim to making the best kebab but as an Iraqi I beg to differ. Historically, this has been a subject of great dispute. See Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988.
Preaching for peace in the Middle East, my parents and I broke bread (slightly fluffier than The Persian Room) at Pars while waiting for or kebab to arrive.
Out comes the kebab, all tender and juicy, but wait! Where is the mint, basil, and sweet onion? If ice cream enhances apple pie, then whip cream makes it orgasmic. Same analogy holds true with kebab depending on your bonus toping of the aforementioned three.
For me it is sweet onion, of which Pars had none.
For my dad it is basil, of which Pars had none.
For my mom it is mint, of which Pars had none.
The critically observant kebab critics left stuffed but slightly unsatisfied.
Stop 3: My Uncle’s House:
What’s a vacation without family? What’s a family invite without kebab?
My uncle laughed at our Persian experience and welcomed the prodigal sons and daughters back to the land of Iraqi kebab. Combining the best of both worlds, Iraqi and American, he fired up the grill and set fire to the freshly prepared kebab.
While I would love to give you a full report of how it compared to the others, I am too full to type another letter.