Afghanistan: Almost Elephant Ears

Every Tuesday Bridget and I travel to U Street area for different reasons.  Tonight we chose to have dinner at a small spot called Local 16 (www.localsixteen).  While this place is well known in DC for its amazing rooftop deck and brunch, we had no idea they served Afghanistan cuisine.

Due to the amazing weather we first tried to sit in that popular rooftop deck area.  We got outside and it was packed, probably for happy hour, with loud people.  We made our way downstairs and thought we found a quiet spot, boy were we wrong. There was a large party near us with people that just laugh LOUD!  Luckily the food (and price) made up for this by far.

Local 16 had a complete Afghan menu that were all covered by the happy hour prices.

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Happy hour menu made the ordering process very easy, as we shared tons of stuff.  The fact mostly everything was just $5 we assumed it would be small plates to share.  Man were we wrong, as out came large plates for us to share.  There was plenty to take home for leftovers which no one complained about.

First thing we ordered were two types of Bolani, Afghan stuffed flat bread.  The bread was grilled in wood fire oven as well.  We ordered a pumpkin & onion as well as a potato & leek bolani.  Both came with a side of spicy cilantro and yogurt dipping sauce.  They were crispy while the inside was soft and full of flavor.  Bridget of course loved the pumpkin and I loved the potato.

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To go with the flat bread we also ordered two dishes that were similar to each other: Mantu and Ashak.  If I am close to being right (which usually I am not) what makes them different is the stuffing. Mantu is a dumpling stuffed with lamb or beef while Ashak has a vegetable stuffing. Mantu has a vegetable sauce on top (this time carrot) and Ashak had a beef sauce.  Both were delicious, so much so we had none to take home for leftovers.

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Mantu top picture and Ashak on bottom

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I know this looks like a whole lot of food (and it was) but I couldn’t help but order more.  I mean each dish was $5, how could I not.  Lastly we ordered Afghan meatballs or Kofta.  They came along side a bowl of rice that were mixed with raisins (Bridget’s FAVORITE!).  There was barely any to take home when done with this dish.

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As you can see below the table was covered in delicious Afghan cuisine.

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We were so stuffed by the end I almost (not really) didn’t want to order dessert.  There was something on the menu called “Gosh Feel.”  First off the name alone made me want to try it but then there was a description on the menu: ELEPHANT EARS!!!! YES PLEASE!   I asked our nice waiter (who I forgot to mention had a mohawk and a 12 inch rat tail) about the desserts.  He then proceeded to break my heart (and stomach) by telling me they didn’t have dessert tonight.

I was okay with this (not really) and moved on.  My stomach thanked me later for not being able to get dessert.  Afghanistan cuisine at Local 16 was outstanding and such a change of pace from other cuisines.  Maybe next time I can get me my Gosh Feel.

-Matt

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