|A Menu Full of Yum|
Over the next few minutes Rachael and I chatted about our workdays and sipped on our drinks. Rachael found the Afghan tea to be a delightful change from normal, and I relaxed a little more with each pull from my bottle of Spotted Cow. A short time later our appetizer arrived. On a small round plate rested four large triangular fried pastries next a to a pool of white sauce. Without delay Rachael and I dug in, tearing pieces from one of the pastries. After dipping our pieces in the sauce, we both happily munched away on the light, delicious food. The inside was stuffed with a blend of peas and beef that maintain a mild, yet persistent spice. After all but eating the last bite, I suddenly realized had not taken a picture of the food in our haste to dive in. As such, the only photo evidence of this part of the meal is a nearly empty plate with a corner of a pastry left resting in a pile of crumbs.
Our main course came relatively quickly after we finished the appetizer. At first, Rachael and I were given a full bowl of Mashawa soup, which contained a delicious and spicy blend of chick peas, kidney beans, split peas, and meat with a blend of mint yogurt sauce. We quickly worked through the soup before our server returned with our main course. The server first set Rachael's plate onto the table, which contained a appealing blend of lamb, vegetables, and two different kinds of rice surrounded by a brown curry sauce. As the server set my plate on the table, I was struck by the bounty of color layered throughout the food. Orange strings of carrots and purple flecks of raisins sat atop a pile of white saffron rice ringed by a bright red sauce containing pieces of chicken. It was unlike almost any other meal I had seen before, and was certainly the first time I had a dish with carrots and raisins as two of the main ingredients.
We didn't hesitate to start our meals as the server walked away from our table. After a few brief remarks about the appearance of the food, Rachael and I spent the next 15 minutes nibbling away at the food before us. We periodically traded bites of our meals, taking time to discuss our thoughts on each. Both meals maintained a mild spice much like the Sambosa before them, but the flavors of each dish were vey unique. Rachael's lamb curry was complemented well with the blend of vegetables mixed into the meal, and the raisins in my Qabuli Murgh provided a sweet touch to the spicy backdrop of the chicken and sauce. While Rachael did not find my main course that appetizing, I enjoyed both dishes equally. The mix of flavors and spices was certainly something new to me, and they came together in a way that definitely appealed to my taste buds.
Eventually Rachael and I worked about half way through our meals before concluding we were both incapable of handling another bite. We sat and relaxed for while until our server came back and offered us carryout containers for the remainder of our meals. We packed up our food as the server completed our check and proceeded to soak in the calm summer air for awhile before wrapping up the evening. I sat, stomach full, with my head facing the sky as it rested in my hands. I barely moved when the server picked up the leather sleeve containing my credit card and walked back into the restaurant to run our payment. I was in a good place, with a full stomach, after a good meal. Based on this first experience, Afghan food had won me over.