Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday Night Fever

Had a near perfect day today. And such days are so rare that one needs to record this for the future me.

First, found a store that has clothes that fit me. I understand that I have ballooned up a lot in the last few years, but I am sure there are tons of Indians who are my size and maybe larger than me. Where do they get their clothes from! Surely not everyone gets them custom-made. Thankfully found a place today (and got to know of some others, which I'll try out in the coming days) where sanity prevails and there is some thought given to poor blokes like me, who can't fly to the US to do their shopping. I am actually surprised I am writing about clothes, but one does need a few shirts and couple of pair of jeans to cover one's modesty (and not keep wearing the same thing everyday).

Two, was THE MOVIE. But, will come to that in a while.

Three, was a meal at the Dakshin at ITC Maratha (or is it Grand Maratha - how can anything Maratha not be Grand?). We had gone there planning a meal at Peshawri, and in anticipation of the beautiful non-veg platter there I hadn't eaten the whole day. But, since they don't take confirmed reservations after 8, we were stuck with a half-an-hour wait and decided to try out Dakshin instead.

Instead of trying out the a-la-carte menu, we just decided to take it easy and settle for the Thali. Which is an extensive 3-course deal. We were three of us, and ordered one each of the three Thalis on offer - veg, non-veg, sea-food. Since all cost the same, they were fine with us sharing stuff across plates, which is generally frowned upon at most restaurants.

I can't go through the Thali item-by-item for you, so would just say that this was far better than I had expected. Right from the poppadums, chutneys and pickles they began with, through the chicken and fish starters, the unbelievably delicate appams, the lovely avial, the unforgettable fish and chicken curries (I was having the non-veg version), and finally the delicious sambhar - it was a beautiful experience. And the service was impeccable. Good food and good service. Makes your day.

But, the best was for the last. I am not exactly a sweets person. Except for some very select dishes like kaju barfi, I am not a big fan of sweet stuff, and generally avoid dessert after a good main course just to retain the tastes. Thankfully I decided to have a try today. My cousin, who was having the veg version got this light, just about sweet, coconut dish, which was quite interesting. He also got the payasam and another dish that I can't recall much of now.

My sister-in-law (who was having the sea-food version) and I got the same stuff - payasam and another dish that looked like a burnt barfi.

But, what do morons like me know! I stuck my spoon into it and the spoon just went right through it. So, it was no barfi. I scooped up a small part of the slightly gooey thing and put in my mouth.

"Oh my god" was probably my first reaction. I won't remember because I was in a daze for a few seconds after that. This was my first encounter with a Vattal Appam. This dish made from pine jaggery is the most brilliant dish I have had in a very very long time. It's just the right amount of sweet, feels very light on the tongue, is absolutely mind-bogglingly delicious.

I asked for a second helping. I have been thinking about it since I got back home. I think I am going to dream about it tonight. I think I am in love with it.

Will talk about THE MOVIE later.


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