The husband and I ended up at Afghan Village after a quick Yelp search from the freeway when our hunger post-wine-tasting had reached critical levels. So that hunger may have influenced my opinion of the establishment, but honestly, I think Afghan Village just plain has amazing food despite mixed Yelp reviews.
It’s located in a dark strip mall, and the restaurant was just starting to get patrons in the early evening, around 6 pm. Traditional, elaborate decorations adorn the walls. Gold, white, and red were the primary colors of the room.
It gave of the vibe of a special occasion restaurant, the type where a large family would rent half the room for a birthday or wedding celebration—the two throne chairs in the center of the restaurant definitely contributed to that effect. The décor made the place seem vast when not filled, but it was pleasant to gape at, regardless.
Service was prompt. Because of our hunger, an appetizer was a must.
Those are potatoes pakora, and I loved them. The spices in the besan flour batter made for an intriguing blend, and the cilantro chutney banished any potential for blandness. It was a healthy helping, too. Despite that glossy sheen, they didn’t taste at all greasy and had a crisp exterior.
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Being a relatively young foodie, my taste buds have grown up on Farm to Fork/Farm to Table/Nouveau American/New Californian/Californian or just plain upscale cuisine that uses products from local vendors and a blend of different styles that highlight the ingredients’ natural flavors. As expected, the Bay Area is swimming in options for that particular brand of cooking, but I’ve discovered that a plethora of offerings sometimes means a plethora of mediocre attempts at it. After a string of those, I was thrilled to stumble upon Pappo on a dinner and movie night with my husband.
The restaurant’s atmosphere is understated, just a mix of brick, leather, wood, and brown-gray walls adorned with blown-up pictures of water droplets. It was sleek and cozy at the same time with welcoming, speedy service from the servers and kitchen.
I don’t have the particulars of my husband’s meal, not having expected to do a review that evening, but it was essentially a duck leg from Liberty Ranch with roasted root vegetables and broccolini.
Insert my obligatory apology for fuzzy cell phone pictures here. The husband said the duck was good. I tried a bite of the vegetables and they were perfectly roasted, bringing out great flavor in both the starches and the broccolini. Whatever broth was served with them was exquisite.
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This was my second visit to Ribs ‘N Things, and I was as impressed by this soul food and barbecue joint as I was the first time. That first time, we were waited on for dinner in their modest dining room decorated with jazz paintings.
The dining room is roped off sometimes, but they are happy to seat you whether or not it looks unavailable. Service was lacking when we ate in, but that’s because this is a small, family-owned operation and chances are the person taking your order is also the one who’s going to cook it for you.
Both my husband and I were starving and had our own helpings of the steak tips dinner.
That was a giant mound of steak swimming in a luscious barbecue sauce that held plenty of spice and enough tang to make it unique. It was just what we’d both been wanting. And boy did Ribs ‘N Things satisfy again the next time I had a craving, this time for fried chicken. The chef/cashier made sure I knew he’d cook the fried chicken fresh so it would take a good 10 to 15 minutes, which I didn’t mind one bit. I minded even less after I took it home.
World, that was some amazing fried chicken. Just this side of too salty, so my taste buds craved that next bite of the rich, red, fried coating and moist chicken. The leg disappeared within seconds of my opening the container. There’s a healthy dose of pepper in the coating that contributes to its savory siren’s call.
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