When he decided to open a hookah bar, Farrukh Pakal knew that one thing had to be perfect: the seating. “If my body is not relaxed,” he reasoned, “I cannot relax my mind.” So, within Silk Hookah Lounge's cherry-colored walls, guests’ backsides will not bounce into a single hard-backed chair. Couches and sofas sprawl throughout the space, inviting patrons to linger over teas imported from Pakistan or hot chocolates sprinkled with coconut, cinnamon, or vanilla. And, perhaps most importantly, the cushy seating cradles holders of Egyptian glass hookahs. Like anger over an incorrectly punctuated parking ticket, these slowly burn for up to three hours, releasing scents of chocolate, mint, lemon, apple, or other fresh fruits into the air.
While enjoying their hookahs, groups can grab cards, dominoes, or other games as LED lights splash a rainbow of colors overhead. On weekends, DJs infuse the flavorful airwaves with music.
Family-owned since 1989, the kitchen at Poppy’s Place sends forth steaming plates of pasta and seafood with scents that suggest hours spent simmering tomatoes, chopping garlic, and stirring sauces. Waiters glide across the caramel-hued floorboards, bearing trays to a table cloaked in spotless white linen like a ghost in a job interview. Dishes of pasta, saltimbocca, and catch-of-the-day fish settle there alongside bottles of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The clatter of busy forks drifts past the lengthy bar, where rows of bottles bristle and patrons sip beverages beneath yellow walls, hanging flowers, and an absence of shrill cuckoo clocks.
Founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton, Burger King rapidly expanded from humble beginnings as a lone burger joint to more than 12,400 locations across 79 countries today, making it the second-largest fast-food-hamburger chain in the world. Its signature burger—the Whopper sandwich—consists of one to three flame-broiled, quarter-pound beef patties crowned with a miniature fedora and a fully customizable array of toppings such as tomatoes, onions, and dill pickles. Focused on continual improvement, the chain recently reinvented the fries that accompany each value meal, outfitting the spud slices with a thicker cut of potato for a fluffier texture on the inside and crispier golden-brown exterior. A spread of decadent desserts including dutch apple pie and an Oreo sundae keeps sweet teeth from elongating into fangs, and made-to-order breakfast sandwiches clasp eggs, american cheese, and bacon, sausage, or ham between two halves of a flaky croissant to round out the speedy menu.
Not coincidentally, the center column of Alibaba Afghanistan Fine Cuisine's menu is dedicated to the eatery's central dish: kebab. The mildly spiced, charcoal-grilled skewers are lined with succulent meats such as filet mignon and lamb shank, which has been slowly cooked in rosemary, garlic, and caramelized onions. But Alibaba's cooks aren't just kebab wizards—their other meaty mains include cornish hen paired with rice and scallion-stuffed dumplings smothered in housemade yogurt and meat sauce.
They likewise cater to vegetarians, with dishes such as housemade potato-filled turnovers and cauliflower simmered with tomato sauce and jalapenos. Feasts unfold inside a colorful dining room decorated with everything from framed paintings to disco balls, an homage to the kebabs John Travolta used to grease his hair in Saturday Night Fever.