Thursday, May 12, 2005

Naan-Stop Fun

Guess who's been to her favorite Indian restaurant???

Yesterday evening, with the lovely Phoenix at the wheel, me in the navigator's seat, and Mr. Nice Guy providing the ballast in the back seat, we headed off to the closest (and, in my humble opinion, the best) Indian restaurant, favored by pretty much everyone with whom I've dined there. It's the end of the school year, and thinking that these two deserved a real treat for all the hard work they've done in recent months... and just because I love 'em a bunch... I thought it was time to splurge on some really good food.

No, make that GREAT food.

Since I wanted them to get the full experience of the many culinary delights to be sampled at this place, we started off with vegetable samosas (a longtime favorite of mine) and the vegetable appetizer platter, which included a third samosa, vegetable pakoras, two paneer pakora "sticks," and one large aloo tikki (potatoes mashed with spices and all sorts of good stuff, then batter-dipped and fried). Add to that some good chutneys and fresh pappadums, and you can't go wrong.

I persuaded them to sample the thick and refreshing mango lassis as well, which came in very handy for cutting some of the heat from the spices. Phoenix, who had never sampled a lassi before, was torn between describing it as a milkshake or a smoothie, finally settling on "yum."

For our main course, Phoenix and I naturally settled on the vegetarian entrees... my favorite palak chole (spinach and chickpeas) for her, and the aloo chole (potatoes and chickpeas in a tomato curry) for me... while Mr. Nice Guy opted for the sizzling chicken tandoori. And with a basket full of fresh garlic naan, well, we were set.

I had warned them ahead of time that it was very easy to fill up quickly on this food, so we all exercised restraint and saved about half of our entrees for leftovers (yippee! another night of not cooking for me!). That way, we all had just a little room left to tuck in a smidgen of dessert.

And the desserts were well worth the restraint. We settled on two desserts, split three ways: my favorite ras malai (this is the only place where I like how it's made... so creamy and flavorful) and some sweet and tender gulab jamun. What bliss!

No chai for us, as I think that would have pushed us all across the line from "full" to a Pythonesque explosion of overindulgence. (A pity, because their chai is good, but it's not really worth the agony of a too-full stomach.)

My dinner companions both agreed that this was certainly a place to revisit in future... as much as possible!... so I hope that we will get there again yet this summer and into the next year.

In fact, I know we will.

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