Julie Stalmer 6:30 p.m., July 23
Afghan Pizza? Zia's Shows How
Nine at night in Normal Heights: Khaled Waleh is trying to explain just what Afghan pizzas are.
This place, Zia Gourmet Pizza (3311 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights, 619-284-4320) is his vehicle to bring Afghani tastes in food to a town that has only heard about its wars.
Zia's: Afghan-flavored pizzas for Normal Heights
Me, I've just had a delicious $3 slice of potato pizza...
While Khaled's regular customer Daaiyah chomps...
Khaled's li'l sister Somiyah brings a combo plate of Eggplant pizza and New Yorker turkey pastrami pizza.
Me, I’m hooked on the look of this Eggplant pizza. “It’s the most Afghan of them all,” Khaled says. “Eggplant is one of our main foods, and so is the Indian-style raita salty yogurt we put in. And the cranberries.”
Wow. Cranberries and yogurt in a pizza? Definitely a South Asia thing.
I pick it up and bite in. Oh yeah. Any doubts evaporate. Squishy eggplant, scallions, tomato, those cranberries, red sauce, mozzarella, and splotches of the savory yogurt sauce. The combo is, well, rico suave. And the yogurt, cranberry eggplant combo makes you think of Persia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India. Who knew, what stories a pizza tells?
Zawzaw the Burmese chef with owner Khaled
There’s so much more to tell. Khaled is working on a cool lounge behind his main pizza room. And soon, they’ll be getting a wine and beer license…d’argh! Too much to tell. Check for a full Tin Fork, soon as I can.