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Albany – Saffron Gourmet – Koofteh Tabrizi & 1001 Persian pleasures


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Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Persian

Albany – Saffron Gourmet – Koofteh Tabrizi & 1001 Persian pleasures

rworange | | Mar 4, 2007 05:23 PM

Three big jars of whole garlic bulbs sit marinating in the window in balsamic vinegar, white vinegar and golden vinegar.

The owner says they are used as a condiment for kabobs. Big vats of preserved lemons are in the cooler … and a few other pickled items.

There are containers of torshi, Ashe Restech, Persian lentil soup, olives and house-made hummus. There are various cheeses like Sulguni Armenian cheese.

There are about 5 varieties of frozen filo.

They sell Golnazar Persian Ice Cream (San Ramon) in three flavors: saffron, walnut and pistachio. I think they are all saffron. The other two have nuts added. There’s a combo with half faloda noodles and half pistachio ice cream. There are also ice cream sandwiches made with thin wafers.

It is a lightly flavored ice cream. The ingredients: Whole milk, fresh cream, sugar, saffron, nuts … the plain saffron also has rosewater and sahlab.

I might give the Albi yogurt soda a try when I work up my courage. Another unusual drink is Sea Buckthorn. There’ also a nice selection of wine and beers including Hebrew.

Next to the register are Persian marshmallows with pistachios (25 cents). There are jars of unusual pickles the size of okra. Big bags of pretty green Persian dill are on one shelf. The owner says it tastes different from other dill.

I bought Koofteh (meatballs) Tabrizi (named from a region that boarders Russia and Turkey). These moist baseball-sized meatballs with ground lamb, greens, bastami rice, chickpeas have a lot of flavor going on. There’s a touch of sourness.

I will definitely buy these tasty, savory meatballs again … if they are available. The menu changes weekly depending on what the Turkish chef has in mind.

This week there was:
- Ghoeme Sabzi with lamb shanks
- Chicken breasts with preserved lemons and olives
- Pears poached in port and pomegranate syrup

There’s a mezze plate for $6.99 with a choice of 4 salads. There are quite a few salads in the deli case. One salad was red and gold beet.

It seems still a work in progress. They decided to stop selling sandwiches. The owner said serves good food and didn't want to be bothered with sandwiches.

The Turkish tea was ok. It was on the weak side and then I got into it. The spices are very background and by the end of the cup I was feeling warm and satisfied and comfy.

I haven’t even begun to explore this tiny store. There are some tables inside and others on the sidewalk.

As mentioned elsewhere on Chowhound, there’s a sign offering Persian cooking classes.

Previous Saffron Gourmet post with a little about the owner

Saffron Gourmet
1007 Solano Ave
Albany, Ca 94706

Closed Monday
Tue – Sat: 11am – 5 pm
Sun: 10 – 6