Thursday, February 08, 2007

Closed: Kameels: Wierdly good mall food in downtown Atlanta

You know why Atlanta is cool? It's cool because you can get curried goat in the mall food court. I didn't actually get it, but opted instead for the Schwarma from the surprisingly good Kameel's Cafe at Peachtree Center. When I grew up the most exotic food at the mall was the supreme pizza from Sbarro's. I like this lots better.

The original plan was to meet up with an old client and friend at Dailey's. There were 3 of us, then one pulled out (sick), and another (sick kid), and then it was me. I actually went by Dailey's but the thought of sitting down alone to a expertly prepared power lunch at an iconic local business haunt seemed sort of depressing. I'm not sure why, but table service is a bunch more lonely than going through a cafeteria line. Still Dailey's looked good. I may grab a novel and head there for dinner.

So I walked a few blocks further, unable to settle on anything in particular (Ray's Seafood? No. Faux Irish Pub? No. Hooters? Good lord no.), and ended up in the mall. I'd actually seen Kameel's on City Search, so I know it was either decent or had enough money to pay for the user-reviews. Turns out to have been the former. Kameel's is in many ways, just what you'd expect from a middle-eastern themed, homey, local food court vendor, except significantly tastier. The Schawarma is turkey (in itself a little wierd), but it's cooked on big gyro-style rotesseries, and the sandwhich is loaded with lots of fresh cucumber, lettuce, tomato, and a tasty, subtle tahini-based sauce. The pitas are giant and vaguely sweet, and the portion is gigantic. They've got all the standards, baba ganouj, hummus, falafel; and they seem to do them all pretty well. I had a cucumber and tomato salad as a side item. Altogether it was double what I could eat.

The ambience is, well, its a food court. I sat down with my styrofoam food container in a molded plastic chair at one of a long row of tiny tables pushed together and was struck full force with how much this was just like 8th grade. I was braver then. In 8th grade, I'd probably have gone for the goat.

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