Adventure In Afghans

I travelled on 9/11. Yes folks, I’m that much of a badass. And then I went and ate afghani food! Yeah! But seriously, I did do these things. The travelling part was a breeze. It was one of the most pleasant and smooth flights I’ve ever had. Plus, the flight was about 40% empty. It was lovely.

I met up with A at a nondescript strip mall in San Carlos, home of Kabul Afghan Cuisine. I’ve never had afghan cuisine before. I mean I’ve had middle eastern, but I never knew what kind of middle eastern. Can I just lump all middle eastern food into generic middle eastern? Probably not. So this was going to be a new and novel experience for me.

First, a side salad. Everyone gets this I think. It was a perfectly ordinary salad.

A went with a veggie combo plate. You can pick 3 different options, and she went with two helpings of the pumpkin, challaw kadu, and one of the eggplant, challaw badenjah. That eggplant looks like brown slop but it was actually good. But not anywhere close to being as good as that pumpkin. Yes, pumpkin. Now, the only pumpkin I’ve ever eaten was pumpkin pie. So when A raved about the pumpkin, and everyone on yelp raved about the pumpkin, I was skeptical. But of course, I wanted to try it. Oh man, it’s so good. I never envisioned pumpkin being this tasty! We’re not sure how it’s prepared, but we think it’s just hunks of pumpkin slightly seasoned and cooked. So simple, yet so good.
I went with the chef platter, which is the non-veggie combo. I had the aushak, which is dumplings served with yogurt and meat sauce, and two fried things – sambas and bulanee katchalu. So this aushak stuff. It was really good. But strangely enough, it was like a pot sticker/ravioli with meat sauce. Seriously, the meat sauce was very positively italianesque. I liked them regardless. The smaller fried things, the sambas, were good. It was stuffed with some kind of veggies and I used the green sauce that accompanied my dish. It was a mysterious sauce, but it almost seemed mexican-ish as I swear I tasted tomatillos in there. The big fried thing, the bulanee katchalu, was ok. There was a strange spice in there that tasted like medicine, so I just didn’t eat it. I also got two pieces of a thick bread, they call it afghan bread. This bread is awesome.
I made sure that we left room for Beard Papa’s. Since I knew there was one in south bay, I had to fit that in. So on my way to Sunnyvale, I made sure we stopped at the one in Redwood City. This particular Beard Papa’s was in an adorable downtown-ish revival type of shopping / eating / cultural area. You could tell the area was being all fixed up and swankified. There were all kinds of shops, restaurants, bakeries, theaters, everything. And there were older buildings with their original authentic architecture. Man, I could live here, I thought to myself.

Or maybe I just wanted to live here so I could go to Beard Papa’s every day. They’re still as good as I remember them being. A large and well-textured pastry, overflowing with oozy delicious vanilla dream of a cream. I bought 3, but I only ate 2. Are you impressed?

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