The samosas are top notch -- an order of six fried pastries filled with potatoes, peas and spices. The bowlawni is an Afghan speciality -- twin pastry shells with different fillings.
But the pumpkin is a dish that I would expect on a white-table cloth rather than in a Columbia shopping center where everything comes on disposable plates. Bright orange pumpkin, firm but tender enough to cut with a (high-quality) plastic spoon. It is sweet enough that it might be pie filing if you closed your eyes. But then, Maiwand Kabob dresses the pumpkin with some yogurt whose tart flavor marries with the sweet vegetable and with a spoonful of ground beef that adds a deeper, slightly spiced flavor.
Between the bread and the pumpkin, every trip to Maiwand Kabob is wonderful. The moistly-grilled meat and the rotating Afghan specialties makes this one of my favorite restaurants anywhere.
(Update: A new Maiwand Kabob opened in 2009 near Arundel Mills Mall and the BW Parkway. There is also a branch in Burtonsville just off Rte 198.)
Harpers Choice Village Center
5467 Harpers Farm Road
Columbia, MD 21044
NEAR: This is in central Columbia, west of the Columbia Mall. Harpers Choice is between Rte 108 and Cedar Lane / Little Patuxent Parkway. From the south, Cedar Lane connects Rte 32 to Harpers Choice. From Rte 29, Broken Lane runs into Little Patuxent, which runs into Harpers Choice Road. To spot the shopping center, look for a McDonalds up against Harpers Choice Road.
Arundel Mills Preserve shopping center
7698 Dorchester Boulevard
Hanover, MD 21076
NEAR: Take the Arundel Mills exit from the BW Parkway. That road only goes east. The Arundel Mills Preserve shopping center is on the left almost immediately. There is a Starbucks in that shopping center.