Observations on Food in the Bay Area
The Mediterranean Food Tube!
Today, after devouring my delectable meal of chicken and potato-y goodness, I just had to start this.
The keys to a good shawarma? #1: lavash bread. None of this pita crap. Pita falls apart too easily, doesn't have the great texture and flavor of lavash, and doesn't tube the food as well. #2: spicy. That red Mediterranean spicy sauce is the shit. A necessity. #3: tomato in drippings. They've gotta have the roasted tomatoes that have the big meat-on-a-pole drippings in them. Sooo good.
Beyond that, it's mostly up to personal preference (or what you feel like that day) as to which of the many possible extra additives will make you decide for one or another. Tahini sauce, baba-ganouj, hummous, tzatziki... Many options, and most places use different combinations for their various tubes.
The one thing to watch for is that the lamb is often fatty, and can be somewhat gristly. I'll have to update when I get a better feel for whose is more or less reliable.
Mediterranean Wraps on California Ave used to be good stuff. Then they decided to replace their lavash with tortillas. Let me tell you, tortillas do not a shawarma make; their flavor is too sweet, and the texture far too smooth. Not sure whose brilliant idea this was, but I haven't been back since.
Sinbad's Market, on 3rd st next to Pizza My Heart. So good. Wow. A staple of my working lunch. Their chicken shawarma comes with tahini, fried potato bits, hunks of red onion & tomato, and other wonderful goodness. They also have homemade bread for the sandwiches which is very, very good, but also very large and messy (and not a tube!).
Ali Baba's Cave, in Lower Haight, has quite possibly the biggest shawarma in SF. They're massive and very tasty. Falafel is also quite good, as I recall.
Truly Mediterranean, on Vallejo and Columbus in North Beach. Good, tasty, and reliable, and they add grilled eggplant which is great. Also makes a good falafel. And, they have bite-sized, cheap baklava too!