Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Naan-Sense

For my Christmas gift, The Gentleman promised to take me out to dinner at a restaurant of my choosing. Always an acceptable offer to someone who enjoys cooking but can't always be bothered with it! I did note, however, that in offering examples, he mentioned "that Indian restaurant" first. Let's face it... he enjoys good Indian food as much as I do, and Bombay Sitar is close to The Exchange, so we inevitably stop for him to pick up some used video games.

But we're not here to question The Gentleman's motives, amusing as that can be.

Dinner started in our traditional fashion with a plate of vegetable samosas. I mentioned to The Gentleman that every time we ordered their samosas, they smelled and tasted even better than the last time, to which he replied, "That's because it's always been a while since you've had them, and you're really looking forward to them." Well, true, but I really do think they keep tinkering with the spice ratio... and this time, the potato-pea mixture seemed even more buttery and savory, and the pastry a touch flakier. But, as is usually the case, it didn't last long enough for me to make a more comprehensive analysis.

Despite the variety of dishes on the menu, we have both (in less than a year!) come to settle on our favorites: chicken korma for The Gentleman, and channa saag for me. I broke out of that rut slightly last night by ordering the saag paneer, and though the spinach was still that wonderfully creamy texture and the paneer was very good, I do still prefer having the chick peas in the dish. It's good to try other things but have that initial preference confirmed.

The garlic naan, our obligatory "side dish," was as buttery and garlicky as usual... always a good reason for getting this bread over the regular naan.

We both aim for leftovers so that we can prolong the experience at home, so we requested takeaway boxes for the remainder. Our kind waiter returned with two boxes, with fresh rice already tucked in for us! And though we had declined dessert, both of us being right at that point of being satiated but not full, the waiter graciously brought us two small complimentary bowls of rice pudding along with the check. I don't normally order rice pudding as I'm a big fan of their ras malai and gulab jamun, but this pudding, though seemingly on the thin side, was rich and creamy and perfectly sweetened with just a hint of spice to make you savor each bite.

Add to that whole meal a conversation well-spiced with work humor, political discussion and satire, and other amusing topics... well, what better way to spend an evening with a good friend?

And what a great Christmas gift. Thanks to The Gentleman!

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