Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vienna Waits for You!

The first Saturday I spent in Vienna, I made a wonderful discovery. Our program director took us to the Naschmarkt, which was essentially a large, semi-permanent farmers' market. Among all the purveyors of stinky, foreign cheeses and pungent, marinated olives, I found a treasure: the Doner kebab. Greatly influenced by Turkish flavors and cultures, Austria is certainly the place for such a meal. But in America, you probably only find them in New York.
You may have heard of kabobs, but these are nothing like that. First off, they're pronounced 'kay-bop', but I don't know if that was the German or the Turkish talking. Second, the meat is cooked on a skewer, but it isn't served that way at all. The meat is cooked on a rotating spit (which is where American gyro comes from), and then it is shaved off and paired with lettuce, tomato, onions, and a fabulous sauce in pita bread. Yum!
Sounds pretty standard, but if I only could describe to you how far from prosaic this sandwich actually is. The meat is generally lamb, but for us Americans, chicken is often substituted. The meat alone is fabulous, which its rich and juicy flavor. Skipping past the vegetables, the sauce is fabulous. I believe it is a type of tzatziki sauce, but I've never been able to replicate it. Finally, the bread they stuffed this into was unlike any pita bread I've ever had. It seemed a lot closer to focaccia bread, which I also discovered for the first time at the Naschmarkt.

I recently tried to recreate this wonder in my own kitchen, but I failed to do it justice. Maybe one day I'll visit my beloved Vienna once more and reunite with my friends at the Naschmarkt.
grilled or pan fried meat, sliced
shredded lettuce
sliced tomato
sliced onion
pita bread
tzatsiki sauce

1 8 oz. container plain yogurt
1 cucumber; peeled, seeded, and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
1 1/2 cloves garlic, peeled

In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Process until well-combined. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor.

Stay tuned for some true Viennese cuisine: Wiener schnitzel, apfelstrudel, and Sachertorte!

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