Recently I have not been posting, due more to laziness than anything. Not just laziness in writing, mind you, but laziness in eating. i have taken to going to the same old joints or worse yet, bringing something from home and eating at work. Ugh, I gotta stop that.
A willingness to take the short jaunt across the highway to the City market certainly opens up more intriguing possibilities as far as lunch goes. I imagine if one worked over in that area, it would be nice to be able to patronize these establishments regularly. However, people like myself who work in downtown proper are a little more hard pressed to get over there, particularly if lunch has to be a quick thing. Fortunately, the weather has been nice-ish and my boss does not take much of an interest in whether I take 2 minutes or two hours for lunch, so the Market is shaping up to be a sweet little summertime alternative to the depressingly pedestrian array of crappy sandwich joints and questionable fast food enterprises that infrequently litter the area surrounding 11th and Main.
As a relative newbie in KC, my experiences of the City market area were somewhat tainted until recently. You see, when you move to Kansas City, everyone says, “Oh, you have to go to the City Market on Saturdays!” So of course, I did. Yeah it’s quite a scene, but it seems more geared toward suburbanites and children than anything else, what with all the vendors selling crappy scented candles, homemade soap, and jewelry that would even make a hippie run screaming. Well, maybe not. That reality, combined with the experience of trying to navigate the market proper around clueless couples pushing the puffiest baby carriages in the world, made me a little hesitant to return. When did baby carriages get so damned big anyway? These things are like covered wagons these days.
Anyhow, on to Habashi house, a decent little Middle Eastern Lunch spot near the Northwest corner of the market complex. The people who work here are insanely friendly–all smiles and very welcoming. The menu offers pretty typical mediterranean fare: Gyros, Falafel, Hummus, Tabouleh, etc. This is really a much needed change of pace when lunch rolls around, because a big old greasy falafel really hits the spot like nothing else. You order at the counter, fetch your own drink and wait a short 3 minutes or so for some swarthy dude to bring a tray out to your table. Habayashi House offers free hot tea which is nice if you are into that sort of thing. A sandwich comes with one side (like hummus & pita, for example), a few olives and will set you back about five bucks. Add a little more for a drink and a counter tip and you are out of there under $7.
Sounds great, right? Well, mostly it is, but sadly the food could be a little better. The chicken gyro for instance was served with an odd, pinkish sauce that bore little resemblance to the typical yogurt-based gyro condiment. The falafel is indeed good but not spectacular. One day I went in and the cook gave a me a huge helping of free rice because he had accidentally made too much. That was great, but the rice was pretty boring. I always end up getting enough to eat, though that’s not usually a problem in these United States.
The decor would be pretty drab without the ragtag assortment of colorful blankets and rugs on the wall. They have a variety of seating and the space is never full at lunch during the week. Best of all, they rock the authentic Middle Eastern music in this place which is great, cuz I don’t need Steely Dan with my baba ganoush.
So I give Habashi house my whole hearted recommendation as a viable lunch place, but if you have any Persian friends in town, don’t expect them to be overly impressed.