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Aangan Indo-Nepalese Cuisine  856 San Pablo Ave./Solano Ave.; in Albany.  With a cozy combination of brick and colorfully painted walls, original paintings featuring scenes of Kathmandu, and cheerful repeat-print patterned tablecloths made from Nepalese fabric, this cheery one-room venue is welcoming and friendly.  It appears to be a recycled cocktail lounge, with some tables set on the raised former stage.  Several  times when I dined here, it seemed like many people at different tables knew one another.  Nepal’s Himalayan cuisine is influenced by both India and China, and here is referred to as Indo-Nepalese.  You can choose the degree of spiciness, and spicy here means just that.  Delicious full-flavored choices on the menu include vegetarian steamed momos (similar to potstickers) filled with a finely-chopped veggie mixture and served with a tasty dipping sauce that includes powdered berries from Nepal, a delicious crispy garlic nan, keema roti (a crispy bread stuffed with spiced lamb), aloo nan (stuffed with potatoes), tasty yellow-green fish curry, smooth and creamy paneer tikka masala prepared with lovely housemade cheese, and satisfying spicy okra with potatoes.  Goat stew and a vegetarian platter are also options.  A thick mango lassi, or thinner but equally tasty strawberry version, can serve as both drink and dessert, but kheer (liquidy rice pudding) and kulfi (Indian pistachio ice cream) are also available. 
 

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ALBANY-Aangan-spicy okra with potatoes-onFS-c2012 Carole Terwilliger Meyers-iPhone-400pix


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travel writer Carole Terwilliger Meyers