Felt like getting out of SF so jumped in the car with another foodie and headed out to explore the Afghan food of "exotic" Fremont. Since it was Sunday the drive only took about 40 mins. We started at the Kabob House on 37405 Fremont Blvd. Teeny little place with only 4 tables but BIG on hospitality. When I told the owner that a few years ago I had visited some Afghan camps by the border of Pakistan and had loved the Kabobs there-he gave me a huge smile and started telling stories of Afghanistan in the old days. I nodded in between delicous bites of my chaplee kabob (tho it was really more like a spicy hamburger than a kabob) Huge portions-we split one order- it was served with bread, a potato and garbanzo bean salad and a tangy cilantro tomato onion salsa. We then walked a block away to shop at the local Halal Market-many interesting spices,sauces,inexpensive grape-seed oil etc. to stock up on-watch out for the women carrying out armloads of yard long afghan bread, fresh from the oven. By now, 1/2 an hour had passed so we felt it was safe to either swim or eat lunch(guess which won)-and trotted over to Salang Pass-37426 Fremont Blvd. All the women working there could not have been more freindly and helpful.In addition to the tables there was a separate dining area with low tables,colorful carpets and many pillows to lounge on if you wanted a more authentic feel. We ordered aushak, leek filled dumplings that were made with the lightest pasta dough and topped with homemade yogurt and sumak. As delicious as these were, they came in second to the mantoo-same dough-same sauce but filled with meat-will dream about these! Washed these down with Daugh-a savory yogurt drink, rather like a more liquid Indian raita. And then the Quaibili pallow arrived. A huge mound of buttery-brown basmati rice,topped with shreds of carrots, raisins and big chunks of lamb. After declaring it a perfect meal and lamenting only that it wasn't nearer to SF we headed out the door, only to be stopped by a lovely woman (owner/manager?) who came running after us with a takeout box of dessert that she wanted us to eat on our "long drive home". Gee-I wonder if they'll deliver????
Headed for home and, lo and behold, only a few blocks away passed a Ranch Market store-so had to run (make that waddle) in and stock up on some asian essentials.