Fauzia's food truck offers Afghan cooking

For years, fans of Fauzia Garner's cooking would wait impatiently for the one day a month when Afghan food was featured in the international section of Whole Foods' hot food buffet.

"When I was working at Whole Foods, everyone was asking, 'When can we get your food?' " recalls Garner.

Garner came up with a satisfactory answer this April, launching her first food truck. Fauzia's Kitchen, which variously parks at Faber Place, Remount Business Park and Celadon Home Furnishings, serves Garner's hummus, kofta, eggplant and doner kebab, a nod to the high school years she spent in Germany.

The kebab is served with tzatziki made according to Garner's personal recipe, and pickled onions. "So your breath doesn't smell at all!" Garner exclaims, adding, "I do a lot of pickling."

Born in Afghanistan, Garner learned how to cook from her mother. She moved to Charleston seven years ago, keeping up her catering business and working kitchen jobs at Whole Foods, Graze Cafe and the food bank.

Last month, when the truck was parked at the MUSC Horseshoe for the first time, Garner offered a chicken korma special. Served over basmati rice, the curried stew could have used a brighter spark of spice, but the cubes of chicken were tender and gingery. Equally good was the adjoining salad of seeded watermelon and corn, dressed with just lemon juice, chopped dill, salt and pepper.

"It's so hot, I thought I'd do something fresh," Garner said.

For Fauzia's Kitchen's schedule, visit facebook.com/fauzias.kitchen.

Xiao Bao opens for Saturday lunch

Weekends are rough on loyal customers of Xiao Bao Biscuit, which has long kept its hours limited to Saturday dinner service.

But now the popular Spring Street restaurant is adding Saturday lunch to its regular schedule. Xiao Bao last month started serving a slightly tweaked version of its daytime menu from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

"The menu will include a few additional items, as well as a slight return to more breads," chef and co-owner Josh Walker writes.

The new breakfasty items include banh mi op la, a Vietnamese sandwich with soft scrambled eggs, and a "Hong Kong-style French toast."

"Think peanut butter and condensed milk," Walker advises.

Oh, we're thinking about it all right.

Freddo coming to King Street

Cold treat competition is heating up on King Street, with another gelato shop set to open this summer.

Freddo, an artisanal gelato producer based in Argentina, has announced plans to open at 239˝ King St. by mid-August. The space previously housed Buckar Jewelry Architects.

The store represents the 45-year-old company's first foray into the U.S. market. Later this year, Freddo will open another location in Miami, bringing its global store count to 152.

According to a press release, gelato entered Argentinian cuisine in the 1800s, courtesy of 2 million Italian immigrants. It's generically known as "helado" and is celebrated "for its silky texture, mountainous presentations and artisan flavors," the release explains.

Freddo's flavor menu ranges from creme brulee to banana to white chocolate to eight varieties of dulce de leche. The latter is "the traditional Argentine helado flavor that is the most popular," spokeswoman Kimberly McCollum says.

In addition to 24 helado flavors, including four flavors unique to Charles-ton, Freddo will offer smoothies, sundaes and specialty coffees.

To learn more about Freddo, visit freddo.com.ar (at least if you speak Spanish; an English version of the site isn't yet available.)

New summer menus at area restaurants

Not wanting to miss a week of summer, area restaurants have begun marking the season with new menu rollouts.

At Blu, located in the Tides Folly Beach Hotel, the summer menu includes shrimp gnocchi, tuna tacos and poached bass. And Circa 1886 has made room on its menu for ingredients such as watermelon and sunflower tahini (served alongside the torched scallop sashimi); hibiscus nectar (accompanying the chicken-fried halibut); figs (plated with the rainbow trout); cucumber sherbet; and cantaloupe relish (joining the blackened yellow fin tuna.)

Pastry chef Scott Lovorn's contributions include a pan-fried angel food cake and a riff on last summer's biggest dessert craze, listed as "croissant donuts" in deference to Dominique Ansel's trademark on Cronuts. But if I had 10 bucks, I'd probably opt for the sweet heirloom cornbread with lime-avocado sherbet, prickly pear espuma, agave-tequila caramel and sea salt.

Circa 1886 is at 149 Wentworth St.; visit circa1886.com to learn more.