New Afghani in Beverly Hills

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A sweet little patio at the back of a small parking lot in Beverly Hills, is home to the brand new Afghani Kebab House. The menu features fragrant rice dishes, grilled kebabs, meat filled dumplings and a variety of fruit and vegetables entrees suitable for vegetarians. The food of Afghanistan is reminiscent of neighboring Iran’s Persian dishes, and a mild interpretation of the cuisines of Pakistan and India. The restaurant’s small kitchen cranks out homestyle flavors while catering to customers with warm and welcoming hospitality the region is known for.

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Carved wooden bowls filled with potato and garbanzo salad in a cilantro chutney, start guests off with a hint of flavors to come.  Warm, airy Afghani flat bread is the traditional eating utensil, although the table is also set with fork and knife. The chewy, straight from the oven bread is addictive and we went through three baskets over the course of dinner.

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Always looking to incorporate healthy options into our diet, we started with the uber sweet Borani Kadoo, butternut squash, covered in ribbons of in-house made yogurt and a sprinkling of dried mint. This melt in your mouth appetizer is both soothing and gratifying.

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The eggplant appetizer, called Borani Badenjan, is sautéed with fresh tomatoes, garlic and peppers before being drizzled with homemade yogurt.

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The easy to devour mantu are dumplings stuffed with seasoned ground beef and sautéed onions, topped with yogurt, tomatoes, peas and herbs. These little beauties pair exceptionally well with the vibrant green sauce served along side.

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Chicken Kabob skewers are tender boneless chicken breast marinated in their secret mix of ingredients before being charbroiled into plump, juicy chunks.

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For lamb lovers, the Quabili Pallow consists of a hefty mound of richly seasoned basmati rice, raisins and julienned carrots a top tender lamb shank, a specialty of the house. Dishes are large enough to share, which to us means more plates to sample.

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Do not miss the warm walnut and pistachio baklava, whose  sweet and savory balance, coupled with the slight crunch through layers of filo, makes this one of our favorite hidden LA desserts.

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Only three weeks old and already Afghani Kabob House has everything running smoothly, from the friendly service to the well prepared cuisine. We are looking forward to many warm summer nights of affordable meals on their airy patio.

Afghani Kabob House
8560 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Phone – 310-854-1020

Twice As Nice Brazilian

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Cafe Brazil has two locations, but we are drawn to the little green, tropical shack on Venice where Bill Esparza, Street Gourmet LA, first introduced us to Brazilian food.

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The plant heavy environment, keeps things cozy with pillow laden chairs, open-air outdoor setting, mismatched furniture, bright colors and great Brazilian food.

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Guests place orders inside before choosing a table to relax into.

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The menu is a smattering of breakfast, hot sandwiches, combination plates, grilled entries, salads, appetizers and specialties.

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A salsa bar offers spicy additions to the flavorful, mild cuisine.

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While the homemade pickled vegetables pack a vinegar smack and slight spicy punch, always an exciting enhancement to the food.

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Unable to decide, we chose to try all the appetizers which are easily cut and shared, except for the pao de queijo (cheese bread), which we reasoned were too small to share and required us each to order our own portion.

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We started  with coxinha, also known as Brazilian chicken croquettes. They materialized as large, ball shaped turnovers of soft, thick, rich crust, stuffed with a flaked, spiced chicken mixture that is even better when hit with a few drops of hot sauce.

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The light and airy pasteis we had stuffed with beef and cheese that oozed out when we cut into it.  The gooey dairy and spiced beef were a substantial bite inside the flakey pastry.

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Risoli are buttermilk flour puffed pastries filled with seasoned beef and deep fried.  It’s hard to go wrong with crispy bread wrapped around a mild spiced meat.  Again, the hot salsa and picked vegetables were a great compliment.

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Finally the empadinha are extremely rich, soft, crusted, layered pastry which we elected to have stuffed with chicken.  The crumbly dough falls apart easily and melts away with a buttery finish.

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The heavy appetizers were a meal in themselves and with a simple salad would have been enough, but we had to try the Portuguese sausage plate.  The mild slices filled half the plate and were enhanced by addicting grilled peppers and onions. The chef was kind enough to concoct a mustard sauce for us which, although not exactly mustard, satisfied our craving and intensified our experience.  Plates are served with a choice of soup or salad, a big cup of salsa, white rice, satisfying black beans, and super sweet fried plantains that we could eat all day long.

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Siting on the patio, we felt as though we were transported to the home of a dear Brazilian friend who was kind enough to cook for us. The attention to little details and strong use of color added to our enjoyment of the space and the food.  For an utterly charming taste of Brazil, we recommend a visit to Cafe Brazil on Venice for the outdoor experience and Washington for the indoor adventure, of emersion into Brazilian culture as fully as is possible at a restaurant in the heart of Culver City.

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Cafe Brasil, 10831 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Phone – 310-837-8957          web site – cafe-brasil.com

or

Cafe Brasil, 11736 W Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone – 310-391-1216