Culinary explorers who live along the 680 corridor can embark on a new adventure: Afghan food. In the past year and a half, three Afghan restaurants have opened in central Contra Costa and the Tri-Valley.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Afghan cuisine—like Afghanistan itself—falls somewhere between India and the Middle East. Onions, mild spices, tart sumac, chickpeas, yogurt, and dried mint are primary ingredients, and kebabs are mainstays. Basmati rice pilaf generally accompanies the kebabs. Other specialties include aushak (leek dumplings) and mantoo (ground beef–stuffed dumplings), both of which come in tangy tomato sauce laced with a dollop of yogurt.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ At Concord’s Afghan Bread Market, you’ll find date vinegar, dill flower water, and dried white mulberries. If you’re not familiar with Afghan cooking, try some of the store’s more easily enjoyed treats: smoky teas and sour cherry jam.
Oasis Grille, 780 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 417-8438, www.oasisgrille.com
Royal Afghan Cuisine, 7178 Regional St., Dublin, (925) 829-8104, www.royalafghancuisine.com
Afghan Kabob Cuisine, 1909 Salvio St., Concord, (925) 969-0991
Afghan Bread Market, 1112 Meadow La., Concord, (925) 825-1500
Lunch and dinner daily at restaurants. The market is open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily.