Walter Mencken 4 p.m., May 3
Cajon, Kabob, Carumba!
Best kabob deal in town?
How about 99 cents?
That's for a beef or chicken kabob to go.
Stefan (“Steve”) Sagmani has it going every day at his place (Sagmani’s Restaurant, 478 W. Douglas Avenue, El Cajon, 619-440-0077).
Even here in El Cajon, which is on its way to becoming the Shish Kabob Capital of the West, that’s a deal.
Mr. Sagmani's place is hard to find. It’s behind a gas station, next to a tire shop. But he has created quite a social center here for fellow Iraqis of all backgrounds (he is Chaldean), and hey, you don’t have to be Iraqi. Everyone’s welcome.
Just beyond the tire shop...
What I like is, you get a lot for a little. The $4 lentil breakfast with big wads of pita bread fills you right up.
Or tishrib baghela bdéhan, scrambled eggs on fava beans with oregano really fills you, for $6.99.
So does mahlama, with eggs, veggies, onion. Also $6.99, or $7.99 with ground beef. Salad and instantly baked pita bread and tea are included.
Lunches are such a deal too. Like two shish kabobs, rice, salad, pita bread, and hot tea for $6.99. Or chicken tikka with the same sides, same price.
“But you should come for a feast,” said Mr. Sagmani last time. “Bring four friends. I’ll give you a feast for five people for $25. Five dollars each.”
He says that includes four beef kabob, two chicken kabob, two breaded-chicken steak, two breaded-beef fried steak…and rice and salad and pita bread.
They’re open in the evening, but really, by that time it’s a kind of club. For the rest of us, this is really about breakfast and lunch.