Fresh flavors!

Published on Fri, Mar 13, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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While in college, I was fortunate enough to make friends with some Iranian students who took me to a great Persian restaurant in Vancouver, B.C.

The experience left indelible memories of an intoxicating sort that involved delicious marinated, barbecued meat and delicate rice pilafs spiked with pomegranate seeds, saffron, cinnamon, dried lime, nuts rose and mint. Unfortunately, I could not retrace my steps to that particular restaurant nor could I find Persian cuisine outside of any major metropolitan area. Even Seattle came up short.

Fortunately, for Blaine, such a place is in the works.

Fred Pakzad, a resident of Point Roberts, recently opened Peace Arch BBQ and Kebab House inside his Shell gas station on D Street.

What’s more, he said he has plans to open a full-sized Persian restaurant nearby if his plan for a 56-room hotel on D Street is successful.

Pakzad said he hopes the hotel can be completed in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics and said he expects to offer a full-range of Persian food, including a traditional breakfast that includes scrambled eggs mixed with dates and served with feta cheese, fresh herbs, pita bread, walnuts, fresh vegetables and black tea.

In the meantime, Peace Arch BBQ & Kebab House offers plenty to satiate the appetite.

The chicken kebab “joojeh” was a favorite with seven or eight pieces of chicken thighs with excess fat removed and marinated in a mixture of yogurt, fresh lemon juice, garlic and onion, before it is skewered with a seekh or a flat, metal skewer and then barbecued over an open flame. The metal becomes heated and quickly cooks the meat from the inside out giving it a crispy exterior and a juicy interior.

The dish is served with pita bread, fresh parsley and green onion (it’s ok to eat these with your fingers); two kinds of "borani" or yogurt sauce with garlic; and roasted tomatoes. All of the menu items are low-fat and full of fresh flavor.

Marinated tri-tip steak “chengeh,” cornish game hens and “koobideh,” a mix of ground beef, onions, salt and pepper formed over a seekh, are also available, as is homemade baklava ($2.95).

Pakzad’s only requests a little patience as good food takes time.

“None of our food is fast food,” he said. “It’s never precooked or frozen; it’s all fresh. So customers may have to wait five to 10 minutes for their food.”

Pakzad moved to Blaine in 2000 after graduating with an MBA from Goldengate University in San Fransisco. He earned his bachelor of arts from the University of Tehran’s Institute of Advanced Financial Accounting.

A grand opening is planned for later this month and will include free food samples and specials.

Peace Arch BBQ & Kebab House is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. They are located inside the Shell gas station at 360 D Street and can be reached by calling 332-1591.

Persian breakfast recipe
4 eggs, beaten
Dates, chopped
Mix dates and eggs together, pour into a frying pan with a little olive oil. Serve with pita bread and any or all of the following: feta cheese, walnuts, olives, fresh herbs, fresh fruit and black tea.