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Crazy for Kajmak at Old World Meat Company

Popular feta/cream cheese/butter spread gets put on everything they make

Bosko Kresovich turns the meat on his outside Balkan-style BBQ.
Bosko Kresovich turns the meat on his outside Balkan-style BBQ.

“My grandfather was Archduke Ferdinand,” says Laura casually. “He was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914.” Whoa. The assassination that started World War One? Her grandfather? Laura and Bosko, her husband, definitely hail from the Serbian and Austrian part of the world, even though they were born here in the U.S.

Place

Old World Meat Company

2201 East Valley Parkway, Suite E, Escondido

My buddy Kim is sort of interested, but we’re standing in the sun beside Bosko’s giant smoker, and this is an Escondido-hot Saturday. We’ve just driven up from San Diego in Kim’s Toyota Tundra. And, okay, like me, he’s suffering from drymouth. We’re hankering for a nice sparkling cold one. They’re limited to cans here when it comes to beer, but $5 is a good price for Kim’s Modelo, and so’s $6.50 for my Stone IPA.

This is on East Valley Parkway. It took us a while to locate, because the actual cafe is dog-legged back from the road. But once you see it, you see it loud and clear. Red and white walls, a cute patio, a large sign — “Old World Meat Company” — and flames from Bosko’s outdoor rig. This place only happens Friday, Saturday, Sunday. “The rest of the week, Bosko’s running his tiling business,” says Laura. Bosko has a bunch of fans watching him from the patio. They’re all talking BBQ, through the smoke. “The thing about Balkan BBQ,” Bosko’s saying, “is the meat and the sauce. We usually combine beef and pork, and we have our own sauces.”

Balkan-style burger: it’s in the ciabatta and the sauces.

I see plates — okay, polystyrene boxes — coming out to waiting customers. One that’s open looks like it’s holding a giant square torta with bright red and white salad or veggies leaking out. Another dish looks like a flatbread, laden down with meat and more red and white veggies, and a third looks like a lush hot dog with coleslaw. I check that first item on the menu: “half-pound pork and beef patty on ciabatta.” But it gets interesting when I read what wraps the meat up: “with onions, marinated bell peppers, roasted bell pepper and eggplant spread, feta, cream cheese, and butter spread (think it’s called Kajmak, pronounced “kaymak,”), with a side of coleslaw.” Costs $11.99.  That feta/cream cheese/butter spread looks like it’s a defining (and wicked) heart of all the main dishes, such as the Old World Sausage Plate ($10.99) and the surprisingly cheap hot dog ($5). (You can have it American style, or “Balkan Dog.”) Separate plates of pork or chicken go for $10.99.

Then, a little confusingly, they have these two plates: the Cevap, a kebab-like grilled minced meat dish, and the Bljeskavica, basically a burger patty. “Normally, too, we offer ‘Balkan Fries,’” says Laura, “They go real fast.”

Laura and employee Bella share laughs on busy Saturday morning.

Kim and I split two dishes: his burger and my Cevap. They’re both good, with that same feta, cream cheese, and butter base. Shamelessly scrumptious. “They’re also good for people with allergies,” says Laura. “What we do is a beef and pork mix. We cut the meat up here, we grind up all the meat, we do everything here. It’s basic Serbian, Balkan food. Montenegro, Croatia, Hungary, all over that region. How we become involved is we used to serve at the Serbian Orthodox churches that we go to, and they had a contest back in 2008. I said, ‘I’m not doing it. My husband can enter. I’m not doing it.’ So of course, I did it. I basically had to cook 10 pounds of meat, put cheese in it, go there, and serve it. I never tried it. Nothing. But I wrote everything down. Next thing I know, I won the contest. Ever since then, we’ve been swamped. Everybody who eats that type of food knows that we made the best one. And that’s how it took off. There are about 2000 families from the Balkans in the San Diego area. We decided to build a commissary so we could expand [our production], and finished that in 2019. Then covid hit. All the catering jobs went by the wayside. Post-covid, we started cooking for people again in July of 2020.”

She gets into the meaty deets: “Basically, the burger, the hot dog, and the sausage plate are the exact same meat. They’re just different shapes and sizes. They have no casein in it. Also, they’re not certified gluten-free, but there is nothing in there that will hurt anybody who has a gluten intolerance, and me and my youngest daughter have that. The first one you ordered had onions on top of it, and then you had marinated, roasted red bell peppers, which I mix. And then our other sauce is Ajvar (‘eye-var’). That is roasted eggplant and roasted red bell peppers. And that Kajmak, and the combination of butter, cream cheese, and feta. That combination has become very popular. We put it on everything we make. We also put that on a bed of fries. People are loving it, because it reminds Southern Californians of carne asada fries. We call that the ‘Balkan Fries.’ We sell out of that like crazy.”

Laura says Bosko has been a tile contractor for the past 34 years. “But he has just finished the last of his jobs that he’s committed to, and then we go full time to this restaurant. And when it comes to allergies, I have a lot of people come in, and they say, ‘You’re the only place I can eat and feel comfortable at and know what I’m eating. You take to my concerns.’”

All I know is that this Kajmak flavor is da bomb, if you’ll pardon the military reference.

  • The Place: Old World Meat Company, 2201 East Valley Parkway, Suite E, Escondido, 760-532-8038
  • Hours: Fri-Sat 11am-6pm; Sunday 11am-5pm (look for extended days, hours towards the end of the year)
  • Prices: Old World Burger (half-pound beef/pork, eggplant spread), coleslaw, $11.99; Old World Sausage Plate (pork, beef sausages on pita), $10.99; Old World Burger Dog (Balkan style, with feta, cream cheese), $5; Italian sandwich (salami, prosciutto, hot capicola), $9.99; Old World pork or chicken plate, $10.99
  • Buses: 290, 351, 352
  • Nearest Bus Stop: East Valley Parkway at Quarry Glen
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Bosko Kresovich turns the meat on his outside Balkan-style BBQ.
Bosko Kresovich turns the meat on his outside Balkan-style BBQ.

“My grandfather was Archduke Ferdinand,” says Laura casually. “He was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914.” Whoa. The assassination that started World War One? Her grandfather? Laura and Bosko, her husband, definitely hail from the Serbian and Austrian part of the world, even though they were born here in the U.S.

Place

Old World Meat Company

2201 East Valley Parkway, Suite E, Escondido

My buddy Kim is sort of interested, but we’re standing in the sun beside Bosko’s giant smoker, and this is an Escondido-hot Saturday. We’ve just driven up from San Diego in Kim’s Toyota Tundra. And, okay, like me, he’s suffering from drymouth. We’re hankering for a nice sparkling cold one. They’re limited to cans here when it comes to beer, but $5 is a good price for Kim’s Modelo, and so’s $6.50 for my Stone IPA.

This is on East Valley Parkway. It took us a while to locate, because the actual cafe is dog-legged back from the road. But once you see it, you see it loud and clear. Red and white walls, a cute patio, a large sign — “Old World Meat Company” — and flames from Bosko’s outdoor rig. This place only happens Friday, Saturday, Sunday. “The rest of the week, Bosko’s running his tiling business,” says Laura. Bosko has a bunch of fans watching him from the patio. They’re all talking BBQ, through the smoke. “The thing about Balkan BBQ,” Bosko’s saying, “is the meat and the sauce. We usually combine beef and pork, and we have our own sauces.”

Balkan-style burger: it’s in the ciabatta and the sauces.

I see plates — okay, polystyrene boxes — coming out to waiting customers. One that’s open looks like it’s holding a giant square torta with bright red and white salad or veggies leaking out. Another dish looks like a flatbread, laden down with meat and more red and white veggies, and a third looks like a lush hot dog with coleslaw. I check that first item on the menu: “half-pound pork and beef patty on ciabatta.” But it gets interesting when I read what wraps the meat up: “with onions, marinated bell peppers, roasted bell pepper and eggplant spread, feta, cream cheese, and butter spread (think it’s called Kajmak, pronounced “kaymak,”), with a side of coleslaw.” Costs $11.99.  That feta/cream cheese/butter spread looks like it’s a defining (and wicked) heart of all the main dishes, such as the Old World Sausage Plate ($10.99) and the surprisingly cheap hot dog ($5). (You can have it American style, or “Balkan Dog.”) Separate plates of pork or chicken go for $10.99.

Then, a little confusingly, they have these two plates: the Cevap, a kebab-like grilled minced meat dish, and the Bljeskavica, basically a burger patty. “Normally, too, we offer ‘Balkan Fries,’” says Laura, “They go real fast.”

Laura and employee Bella share laughs on busy Saturday morning.

Kim and I split two dishes: his burger and my Cevap. They’re both good, with that same feta, cream cheese, and butter base. Shamelessly scrumptious. “They’re also good for people with allergies,” says Laura. “What we do is a beef and pork mix. We cut the meat up here, we grind up all the meat, we do everything here. It’s basic Serbian, Balkan food. Montenegro, Croatia, Hungary, all over that region. How we become involved is we used to serve at the Serbian Orthodox churches that we go to, and they had a contest back in 2008. I said, ‘I’m not doing it. My husband can enter. I’m not doing it.’ So of course, I did it. I basically had to cook 10 pounds of meat, put cheese in it, go there, and serve it. I never tried it. Nothing. But I wrote everything down. Next thing I know, I won the contest. Ever since then, we’ve been swamped. Everybody who eats that type of food knows that we made the best one. And that’s how it took off. There are about 2000 families from the Balkans in the San Diego area. We decided to build a commissary so we could expand [our production], and finished that in 2019. Then covid hit. All the catering jobs went by the wayside. Post-covid, we started cooking for people again in July of 2020.”

She gets into the meaty deets: “Basically, the burger, the hot dog, and the sausage plate are the exact same meat. They’re just different shapes and sizes. They have no casein in it. Also, they’re not certified gluten-free, but there is nothing in there that will hurt anybody who has a gluten intolerance, and me and my youngest daughter have that. The first one you ordered had onions on top of it, and then you had marinated, roasted red bell peppers, which I mix. And then our other sauce is Ajvar (‘eye-var’). That is roasted eggplant and roasted red bell peppers. And that Kajmak, and the combination of butter, cream cheese, and feta. That combination has become very popular. We put it on everything we make. We also put that on a bed of fries. People are loving it, because it reminds Southern Californians of carne asada fries. We call that the ‘Balkan Fries.’ We sell out of that like crazy.”

Laura says Bosko has been a tile contractor for the past 34 years. “But he has just finished the last of his jobs that he’s committed to, and then we go full time to this restaurant. And when it comes to allergies, I have a lot of people come in, and they say, ‘You’re the only place I can eat and feel comfortable at and know what I’m eating. You take to my concerns.’”

All I know is that this Kajmak flavor is da bomb, if you’ll pardon the military reference.

  • The Place: Old World Meat Company, 2201 East Valley Parkway, Suite E, Escondido, 760-532-8038
  • Hours: Fri-Sat 11am-6pm; Sunday 11am-5pm (look for extended days, hours towards the end of the year)
  • Prices: Old World Burger (half-pound beef/pork, eggplant spread), coleslaw, $11.99; Old World Sausage Plate (pork, beef sausages on pita), $10.99; Old World Burger Dog (Balkan style, with feta, cream cheese), $5; Italian sandwich (salami, prosciutto, hot capicola), $9.99; Old World pork or chicken plate, $10.99
  • Buses: 290, 351, 352
  • Nearest Bus Stop: East Valley Parkway at Quarry Glen
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