Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Just down Broad Street toward West Falls Church (about twice the distance to the State Theater where we saw los Aterciopelados last Monday, but not quite as far as the good Indian restaurant, Haandi, where we dined three Mondays ago) we located a neat little jam-packed used book and comic store called the Hole in the Wall. We were here looking for the local Afghan restaurant Panjshir, which was just across the street and down the block. We opted to eat before shopping. This was my first Afghan food, and I wish that I'd held taken notes. All I can do is describe the medley of veggie dishes I ordered to sample as many things as possible. I have no idea what these dishes were called: one, apples cooked in nuts, brown sugar and ginger with a fine hot mint chili; two, pumpkin cooked similarly but with the nuts replaced by what I thought tasted like tamarind or pomegranate; and three, gingered turnips drizzled with garlicky yogurt and tomato sauce. This last dish was my favorite. All were served with yummy olive-drab coriander rice and leavened bread. There was middle eastern cardamom tea. Afghan food seems a distant cousin to North Indian (some dishes share transliterations that sound similar: korma/quarma), with a little more date-and-nut middle eastern influence. This makes a lot of regional sense, I know. Every dish I had was both very sweet and somewhat spicy, much like challenging Thai food flavor combinations, but without any of the sour third. I was pretty heavy-handed with the mint hot sauce. My favorite thing on the table tonight was the hearty Afghan noodle soup Aush; vegetarian, toothsome, and also topped with yogurt and tomato. By the time we were done eating, the bookstore down the road was closed. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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