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Bike Date Blasé at Kabul Restaurant

06 Nov

Last Friday’s bike date was nothing to write home about. Not that the food wasn’t tasty or unique: our authentic Afghan meal of lamb and chicken kabobs and a vegetable platter of pumpkin, spinach and spicy cauliflower was exceptional, worthy of the long waiting list that formed as we ate.

The bike route to the restaurant wasn’t bad either. We took the Stevens Creek Trail, cut through two bike-only access points into Sunnyvale and then traversed the grid of an older neighborhood, approaching the restaurant from the rear. Very important since the restaurant is located in a strip mall on the bike-unfriendly El Camino Real. Given its location, I didn’t expect a bike rack, but there weren’t even any sign posts to lock up to. Just an inhospitable “no bikes on sidewalk” sign on a brick pillar. Sigh.

After the date, we wondered: why was this date so dull? After a year of weekly bike dates, has it become stale? Have we run out of places to go? Has Bike Date Friday become passé, or have we just become blasé? We’ve had other dates that didn’t turn out as expected. Where we couldn’t get a table without a long wait, where the food wasn’t that great, where we faced a rude driver on the way to the restaurant. But the date was always fun, never dull.

I think the difference is that we usually choose restaurants in walking districts, not strip malls, so there’s a lot more going on. If we don’t like the looks of the restaurant we have planned, we walk on to another. If the food is so-so, at least there was something entertaining we saw on the street. Or we could duck into another place for dessert or coffee.

I’m not going to say I won’t go back to Kabul since the food was really good and it was cool to see large extended Afghan families gather for a meal. But I will say it won’t be a bike date, and it may only be take-out.

How important is ambiance when you choose a restaurant? Or is it just about the food?

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About Bike Date Friday: Since September 2010, my husband and I have had a standing date every Friday night. We eat at a different place every week and arrive by bike. There’s no better way to end the work week.

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6 Comments

Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Bike Date

 

6 responses to “Bike Date Blasé at Kabul Restaurant

  1. Charles

    November 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Ambiance rates behind food and service quality for me. If its not a good ride, I will drive there when the food and service are great, as is the case at Kabul.

    Its rare to find all three in one place. Mountain House up on Skyline? Hola has the trifecta sometimes, here in Belmont, but the service is consistently unpredictable.

     
    • ladyfleur

      November 6, 2011 at 11:02 pm

      Mountain House on Skyline…now that would be an epic bike date!

       
  2. Brian

    November 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Kabul is one of my favorite places. One Friday out of a whole year being a little off is still an envious record. There’s one in San Carlos (or maybe it’s Belmont?), too. Come try it out!

     
  3. ladyfleur

    November 9, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Brian, since my issue was the ambiance, not the food, we should try the other Kabul locations.

     
  4. Rachel Unger

    November 10, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I hate to say it, but I find that Sunnyvale is most often anti-bike. There are few bike lanes, there is very little bike parking, and it generally feels unfriendly to bicycles.
    Maybe take-out on the bikes, and bring the food to a picnic?

     
  5. ladyfleur

    November 10, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Rachel, the older neighborhood grid between El Camino/Evelyn/Bernardo/Pastoria wasn’t bad for the ride, but you’re right, there are fewer bike lanes and the average car speed is higher than say in Mountain View or Palo Alto. And the strip malls rarely have racks. The only good ones I’ve seen are on Murphy Street.

     

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