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15 Catt. 2: In re Kababji Food Truck

2012 December 12

Opinion of CHIEF JUSTICE JEREMY, in chambers.

I granted cartiorari to give consideration to Kababji Food Truck’s (“KFT”) spicy intabli sandwich, labneh, and baba ghannouj. KFT is a mobile gastronomic enterprise associated with Connecticut Avenue’s Kababji Grill that has been operating on the streets of this Cart’s jurisdiction since May.  At a glance, KBT does not appear terribly distinct from other kebab-themed trucks apart, perhaps, from slightly better graphics, a television mounted on its side, and a broader array of offerings. But, if nothing else, kebab makes for an excellent lunch and terrific “street food”—as defined by the precedent of this Cart—and, in the end, KBT did not disappoint.

I opted for the pita platter, which allows you to choose a sandwich from a list of seven along with two cold mezze from a list of six. I opted for the “spicy intabli sandwich,” with labneh and baba ghannouj as my sides of choice. For $9, you get a truly considerable amount of food, and so I would consider this a “good deal” in line with other good deals considered through the history of this venerable tribunal.

Spicy Intabli Sandwich with Labneh and Baba Ghannouj

In place of the spicy intabli sandwich, I could have opted for a number of staples—shish taouk, halabi, hummus, labneh, etc. But what drew me to the spicy intabli sandwich was the fact that I had no idea what an “intabli” was. The menu offered no explanation, which only further piqued my interest. It turns out an “intabli kabab” is ground beef “seasoned with house-blend spices, fresh peppers, chopped parsley and  mild pepper paste,” or so it is defined by Kababji Grill’s more intricate menu. I would not call the sandwich particularly “spicy” in the traditional sense—that is, it does not tend to burn any part of the digestive tract. It is “spicy” in this sense that it contains a bounty of spices—maybe cumin, maybe coriander, maybe sumac, who knows—that form a harmonious, pleasing, and gustatory whole.

The labneh is simple, as labneh should be. It is rich and creamy and a bit sour. It is delicious with pita.

The baba ghannouj was quite smoky but without tasting of motor oil. It tasted strongly of eggplant as opposed to filler. Most importantly, it tasted fresh.

KBT is by no means innovative. Instead, it takes classic Middle Eastern street food and, without trying to improve it or fuse it voguishly with some other far-flung cuisine, serves it quickly, freshly, sufficiently authentically, tastily, and affordably. For this reason, I would affirm.

AFFIRMED. It is so ordered.

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