Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Best Meals I've Ever Had: Part 1

I like food. I am not the most voracious or gastronomically gifted eater, but I like my food. It makes me happy... sometimes for several days after consumption. A happy meal doesn't always mean the food was very good, or expensive, or the occasion and pomp and circumstance, but always a culmination of all of these. And if you can escape post erratic bowels, then it is truly a meal worth remembering. Here are a few that I remember most fondly in recent years in no apparent order.

Don Jamie's, Adams Morgan, Washington DC
Sunday brunch, sometime in October 2010
Pragyan, Blair, Patrick, and I helped Patrick pack up all his worldly possessions into the back of a twelve foot Budget truck in the sweltering DC heat. As a reward Patrick bought us lunch at this shackish Mexican joint in Mt. Pleasant. We all had the Green Migas - scrambled eggs tossed with crushed tortilla chips and green spicy salsa served with curried potatoes. My mouth waters as I write this.

Cafe de Luxe, Tenley Town, Washington DC
Saturday Brunch, sometime in September 2010
Crab Cake Eggs Benedict on toasted sourdough bread topped with chopped home fries and thick bits of semi crispy bacon. Alex and I were supposed to go to a Thai place in Tenley Town for brunch, but we found this place en-route, and what a find it was. Simply delicious.

Nice Donner Kebab, Nice, France
Post swim lunch, sometime in August 2006
I actually have a photograph of this beach side shack and the scrumptious doner kebab sandwiches they have. Hann and I went swimming early in the morning, trying to shake off a terrible hangover from a night of heavy smoking and drinking with Tru, our French Canadian roommate at the hostel. I had returned to the hostel and retched so loudly and for so long that the landlady thought I had food poisoning and was about to call an ambulance. It was nothing serious... just a drop too much pastis. So after a dawn swim, with the sun and the moon both looming in the horizon on a completely deserted beach, we walked towards our hostel, tired and hungry when we returned to Nice Donner Kebab, a small Turkish run kebab joint. Pure bliss. The simple act of adding french fries into the donner wrap and toasting it - genius. We ate, saw a glimpse of heaven, said shukran and left.

Wok Your Way, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Post coffee shop dinner, sometime in September 2010
After a day of walking, Van Gogh, and coffee shops, the one thing that could satiate a man properly was crispy noodles with beef in black bean sauce at Wok Your Way, the center of my world in Amsterdam. Han and I ate here, the same thing, for every dinner, for 4 days. I remember the first time I ate here, Hann and I didn't talk till we had devoured every last morsel on our plates and laid down our chopsticks of destruction. No Chinese food, eaten anywhere in the world, will ever come close to this experience.

Hasty Tasty, Safdarjung, New Delhi
Late night mutton momos, sometime in June 2007

Hotel President, Dehra Dun, India
A Form post ICSE lunch, sometime in April 2001

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Chateau Nicolas Cage, EST. 1964

Welcome to the first installment of "The Fine Wines of Hollywood"
Today we bring you Chateau Nicolas Cage; makers of fine California Reds.
NC has consistently produced some of the best so-bad-it's-awesome wines. The pungency of NC's wines work on multiple levels. On the first swig you're hit with awful, but as you drink deep, you taste the myriad giddy flavors of mind-fuck with an after stink that possesses you and forces you to drink every NC wine, including *shudder* "G-Force".
Perhaps, this vineyard's finest production till date is 2010's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" - light on the mind but very, very heavy on the soul. Although they did not hit the high arse-gravy standards of "TSA", there have been other equally unabashed, unappreciated gems such as 2008's "Bangkok Dangerous", and 2005's "National Treasure".
Of course, one of Chateau NC's crowning achievement was "Knowing" in 2009. When I first drank "Knowing", I thought to myself, "wait a minute, I've tasted this wine before!" - this is the same heart wrenching feeling I had drinking "Next" in 2007! Nick C is the only vinyard I know who's remade his own wine within a year of its release. First they made "Knowing", then they made "Next", or maybe it's the other way around, I can never tell.
2011 promises to be NC's finest vintage yet, although there are rumors of the vineyards impending financial difficulties. Us avid drinkers, who grew up on NC's spew from yesteryear are waiting with bated breath for the two most anticipated releases of the new year - the aptly named "The Season of the Witch", and "Drive Angry 3D" - which is essentially "Ghost Rider" with cars.
A word of caution - NC's wines will get you bat-shit drunk, and you'll love it!

Friday, January 07, 2011


Great, great movie. Indian indie flicks' finest...
I loved the poem in the opening:

"Chhoti-chhoti chhitrayi yaadein
Bichhi hui hain lamhon ki lawn par.
Nange pair unpar chalte-chalte
Itni door chale aaye
Ki ab bhool gaye hain –
Joote kahan utaare the.

Aedi komal thi, jab aaye the.
Thodi si naazuk hai abhi bhi.
Aur nazuk hi rahegi
In khatti-meethi yaadon ki shararat
Jab tak inhe gudgudati rahe.

Sach, bhool gaye hain
Ki joote kahan utaare the.
Par lagta hai,
Ab unki zaroorat nahin."

Maity's Poor Translation:
Bits and pieces of scattered memories
Are laid out on the lawns of moments.
Bare feet, we've walked on them
Today we've come so far,
We don't remember,
Where we took off our shoes.

When we first came, our heels were soft,
Even today they are a little soft
And they will remain soft
As long as our bittersweet memories
Tickle them mischievously.

True, we have forgotten,
Where we took off our shoes,
But, I feel now,
That we don't need them anymore.