Kabila Indian Restaurant

A full work week after a long weekend can feel like eternity. When Saturday rolled around I couldn’t wait to meet up with S and kick it like the old days. After a fun day in Berkeley, where every event (Cafe Med, Ici, Jeremy’s, the Lawrence Hall of science and Berkeley Bowl) felt like a journey down memory lane, we headed back to our abandoned neck of the woods for Indian food at Kabila. Indian and Mexican are the only good cuisines found around here, but I ain’t complaining.

Inside the warehouse building is a warmly decorated space with a case of Indian sweets, a buffet table, and a gang of attractive waiters waiting to usher you to a good meal. It’s not surprising that I was expecting heaven on earth.

A basket of papadum and dipping sauces while we waited for our main courses. Apparently I'm still queasy around these after my overdose in England years ago.

Kabila leans towards Northern Indian food with lots of meat options and heavy cream sauces, but I was excited to see a few thali (11) and combo options hailing from Southern regions. I chose a dal stew (medium hot, but I'd ask for spicy next time) which came with saag paneer, salad, rice, naan and chutney. S chose an individual entree of the same paneer and we both thought that everything was too salty--even the rice and yogurt. For those of you who are sick of hearing me complain about salty food, too bad. I found solace in the plain raw vegetables and amazing naan. Kibala has a massive bread menu so I doubt one can go wrong there.

As long as I can ask for less salt, I’ll be returning here. I liked that the waiter asked how our food was, which happens too rarely. Which reminds me, I should start referring to this blog on my receipts.

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The 42nd annual mushroom festival we dropped in on prior to dinner to whet our appetites.

Pakwan

While I’ve been at my parents’ house (three more days left!) I haven’t been eating out at all, until today. C lives in Fremont and had heard good things about Pakwan, so off we went. Man it is hard to choose an Indian place around these parts because there’s authentic, vegetarian Indian food on every corner. Perhaps my favorite thing about Fremont. Not much to add–their menu was really short and Indian food always tastes the same/awesome–so I’ll let photos speak for themselves.

Pakwan is that huge barn that I drove past twice and finally needed C to help me find because I was looking for a small a hole in the wall.

Line out the door's always a good sign. When they call your number there is an electronic song that plays, akin to those in airport announcements. It's the bomb and signals you to something way more exciting than a plane. Also...after looking at this photo I ask, does any color besides navy exist in Fremont?

On second thought, Indian airlines probably have really great food. I usually hate plane food so much I fast on planes but the mushy spicy qualities of Saag Daal (5.5) probably holds up really well on long flights.

I'm always in the mood for a simple daal, which makes it hard to expand my repertoire. I loved the impressive amount of sliced chili in this, but it still could've been hotter, especially when the diners are Desi. What's up with that? Thank God for those ubiquitous squeeze bottles of spicy yogurt sauce.

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On a side note, I just stumbled across a food blog I used to read a lot called Chow Times, and I am still amazed at how they post 1-2 times a day, and always at least one is a restaurant review, the other a recipe. And they don’t work in the food industry. what rockstars. Also, the blogs I follow are so different now. (I deleted hundreds from my reader. Gotta keep cutting down so I can have a real life.)

India Chaat and Sweets

Ethiopian was on the agenda today but unexpected complications led us to Indian Chaat and Sweets instead, otherwise known as the ugly abandoned building on University I always see when I get on/off the freeway.

I worried that the empty parking lot meant the place was closed, but it was only a reflection of a mediocre restaurant in an economic recession on a Monday night. Like Chick-O-Pea’s, the four of us were the only diners sitting in the restaurant, except in this case, no one even came in for a to-go order. Depressing not to be able to people watch! Instead, I felt watched by the (I assume) family who staffed the place, as seems to be always the case when I go to Indian restaurants no matter how many people there are. I shouldn’t hold it against them but I don’t like incessant staring when I’m eating – nor waiting forever for them to clear the plates and give us the check.

papadum with dribbles of sauce

papadum with dribbles of sauce

I’ve seen these crackers before as appetizers but have never tried them. I was really hungry but these were one of the worst things I’ve eaten before. It was offensively salty and the texture felt stale and papery, although that’s probably normal for lentil flour or whatever they use in the dough. Some of us liked the sauces. The papadum had a mild aroma of bombay mix I used to eat, which I never want to smell again thanks to my trip to England last summer. 99 pence bag of bombay mix+a few days locked in my dorm trying to avoid spending money=new food aversions

Lamb Vindaloo - Boneless lamb cubes cooked in hot spicy - tangy sauce, served with potatoes

Lamb Vindaloo (12) - Boneless lamb cubes cooked in hot spicy - tangy sauce, served with potatoes

Seekh Kabab - Minced lamb rolls coked in clay oven with herbs & spices

Seekh Kabab - Minced lamb rolls coked (sic) in clay oven with herbs & spices

I didn’t try these but those who did thought they were fine. Just fine. Both these diners can handle their heat and from what I heard, the Seekh Kabab was spiced perfectly, although there was a misunderstanding with the lamb and it was only moderately spicy.

 

Vegetarian Thali (14) - Two vegetable curries of the day, lentil soup, nan bread

Vegetarian Thali (16) - Two vegetable curries of the day, lentil soup, nan bread

I split the thali with Baingan Bhartha (eggplant) and Mutter Paneer with a friend. Everything tasted alright, but I think I’m just not a good judge of Indian food due to all its agressive and clashing flavors. I can’t tell the difference between this and the stuff in a box from Trader Joe’s. I also refuse to subscribe to the belief that spicier equals better or authentic (Vic’s Chaat fans, I’m looking at you). Besides being lukewarm which I despise, the food seemed uninspired and bland. I like the texture of the eggplant though, but I’m queen of eggplants, after all. The sad salad in the corner was old and wilty but the chutney was surprisingly awesome because I thought it tasted kind of like potato. But really, there’s no place in this delicious world for old salad.

The naan was one of the most disappointing ones I’ve had, aside from the garlic naan purely because of the insane amount of garlic and cilantro on top. I mean, as a bread product the naan was good, but nowhere near the doughy fluffy kind they have at other places. The other naan I kept dipping back into the basket for was the Kulcha stuffed with onion. I probably should’ve held back since it wasn’t great, but I repeat, it was stuffed with onion.

I’m taking a break from Indian.

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