A few of us here at CHC are going on Week 7 of self-quarantine, so we understand as well as most that as strange as these strange times are, human beings are undefeated in their ability to find and create routine. Our mealtimes are some of the brightest moments in our at-home days, and while we’ve enjoyed the experimentation of Bon Appetit's recipes du jour and trying our hand at mom's famous enchiladas, we’re also experiencing a bit of Bon App-fatigue. Home-cheffing burnout is real, and we miss the patios and crowded, dimly lit dining rooms of our favorite eateries. And, while we don’t plan on banging their doors down just yet, we feel it’s our civic duty to prioritize the patronization of local eateries over national chains (you can read why here).
We’re compiling a running list of a few of a favorite dishes from local restaurants we're getting our takeout from, but—in the interest of getting you acquainted with the spots you don’t know or reintroducing you to the ones you’ve missed—we’re also going to take you on a deeper dive into a few of them.
First up: Afghan Kitchen.
If comfort cooking is an art, then Afghan Kitchen—a delightful, family-owned eatery located in a neighborhood heretofore relegated to auto repair shops and commercial building supply—has mastered it. Wali Arshad Salem immigrated from Afghanistan in 2014, and in 2016, Salem and his family opened the doors to their eatery. Currently available for your at-home consumption via DoorDash and GrubHub, we invite you to give this sensationally flavorful, locally owned eatery a go next time takeout is on the table.
First, we really must insist you try the bulani. Because the bulani! This traditional Afghan fry-bread is stuffed with potato, green onion, and spices, and is the exact right combination of crispy/doughy/melt-in-your-mouth-y. These tasty morsels are so addicting that we’ve happily wharfed down two orders before even selecting an entree. You’ve been warned...and now we're drooling.
Post-bulani bliss, we usually select an order or two of the mantu—one pumpkin-filled and one beef. These dumplings are steamed, spiced, and topped off with yogurt garlic sauce so heavenly you’ll want to just eat it with a spoon (best ask for extra sides).
Entree-wise, Afghan offers many tasty, comforting options, but there are few things more soul-warming than a plate piled high with Kabuli Palow, the national dish of Afghanistan. The traditional meal—seasoned to perfection with just-can’t-put-your-finger-on-it spices and seasonings that innately work in perfect harmony—is composed of steamed rice, raisins, carrots, and chicken, and is served with eggplant Burani (a saucy eggplant dish). It's the kind of entree you scarf down heartily, happily, and completely without shame. It's just really good food.
"Really good food" is a common theme at Afghan Kitchen, meaning that even if you're overwhelmed by an unfamiliar menu, there's really no way to go wrong here. Think of the suggestions above as a jumping-off point for your continued education. But it’s never a bad time for naan and kebabs, is it?