It's been a while since I've tasted my buds at the Helmand. Named after one of the southwestern provinces of Afghanistan, this is a neighborhood restaurant that specializes in FANTASTIC.
Started off with a bit of the Kaddo Borawni which has become my new favorite Halloween treat (despite the fact that... ok... yes... you are smarter than the average troll... go with it...). Something about garlic-pumpkin just makes perfect sense to me.
Jeez. I'm so egotistical. Especially around the holidays. I apologize in advance.
But when it comes down to it, I want food that makes sense to me. In fact, I'd rather just make it myself. Me = Chef (x4). And that's pretty much what I'm looking for in a chef: someone who channels me but who makes food that tastes better.
Luckily, the Helmand chefs are wired to my brain. It's like an unlikely '80s movie.
Bowlawni batted second. A bit too thick, but sort of referencing my beloved potato pancakes in a weird way, these worked pretty well with the house sauce. Definitely an appetizer.
Took the Mushroom Lawand as my entree. I'm a sucker for the 'Choose Yr Own Adventure' dishes. This one came in three parts and required the completion of a telephone-survey to put together.
Not true, actually.
The mushrooms were served in a yogurt sauce. Yummy stuff; tomato and green accompanied. Silky spinach accompanied. All of this over a bed of dreamy challow. Served expertly.
In a way, I hate going to a restaurant that makes it happen so well. The one big suggestion: "Hey waiters and waitresses! We notice you. Perhaps as much as you notice us. Some of us were waiters and waitresses at some point; in fact we may be again real soon. We know you are having to deal with the kitchen. But dig: We're spending $30 for you to uncork a bottle of wine... so look happy. We tip 20%.
I must say, it had been at least a decade since MJ and I had set bottom to Afghan chair, and perhaps because of this the food -- and perhaps the realization of what the cuisine represents -- went down like the savory bits of political gossip. But I must say, Helmand of Baltimore -- right there off Charles and Monument -- continues to impress.