Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Bay Area - East

We took a little trip this weekend to the East Bay area in California. We do this trip about twice a year for a conference so we've been scoping out the restaurant scene. Here are a couple of local favorites:

Salang Pass
Fremont, between San Jose and Oakland, has the largest concentration of Afghans in the US. A drive down Fremont Avenue will make this very clear. De Afghanan Kabob House, Afghan Food Market, Afghan Village, Ariana's Kabob House, and the Little Kabul Market are some of the business that bring a taste of Central Asia to the East Bay. A place that we go back to again and again is Salang Pass. This comfy little restaurant in Fremont is well worth a visit.
The dinning room has your average chairs and tables; as well as a raised platform with cushions an low tables for a more intimate meal. It's easy to see why broad Middle-Eastern type skirts and robes are so appropriate for this type of seating. Try watching a woman in heals and a business suit try to navigate the low cushion seats! (Sorry darling!)
Even when very busy, as it is on the weekends, service is prompt and friendly. A salata (don't get excited, just a salad, folks) is brought out along with naan (thicker than Indian naan).
We were looking for a light dinner, so we split an appetizer and an entree. The mantoo was wonderful. Mantoo are Afghani dumplings steamed, stuffed with beef, onions, and seasonings, topped with ground beef, split peas and a yogurt sauce. Just enough sauce to mop up with the naan. We also ordered the Combination plate of kabobs: two kabobs with rice and grilled tomato. Our selections were the Teka and the Chicken kabob. The Teka is grilled marinated beef. Why we chose the chicken, I'll never know. I never order chicken because it is always dry and tasteless at most kebob places. But here, to my surprise it was amazingly tender and juicy, wow! Get the chicken kebob, you won't regret it.
If you are in the Bay Area and are curious about Afghan Cuisine, don't miss the Newark-Fremont area.

Salang Pass
37462 Fremont Blvd
Fremont, CA, 94536

Pho 99 Vietnamese
If you have an itch for Pho while on this side of town, check out Pho 99. Pretty standard selection of pho, nothing earth-shattering but solid Vietnamese fare. Service is usually prompt and accurate. This visit was an exception, as the waitress forgot my entree. When the manager found out she did get it out right-away. It was worth the wait, great grilled pork over rice and fresh cucumber, cilantro, and mint. I've had fried chicken, grilled beef and pork, steamed dishes and always been happy with my orders. Oh, and if you like fried egg rolls filled with minced pork, this is the place kids!

Pho 99
34400 Fremont Blvd
Fremont, CA 94555
510. 792.6234‎

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