During my trip to New York, one of my ticky list items was to find a good Indian restaurant and gorge myself on delicious spicy delicacies. Using the power of google and yelp from my sketchy hotel room, I found an Indian place less than a block away from my art show that had a menu with everything I could want on it, well within my limited budget.
When we got there after visiting my show, they had a lunch buffet, but it was like 18 bucks a person, and $54 for the three of us, plus tip, plus tax, plus a stomach that won't fit $18 worth of food was so not going to happen, so we asked to be seated and got menus. After looking at all the tasty 5 dollar appetizers we would share, my mom noticed that at the bottom of the page, in small letters, it stipulated that each person must order $25 worth of food to eat in the dining room, which is where we were seated. That was followed by a horrifying conversation with our clearly displeased waiter where I offered to take our food to go, if needed. "No, fine, just order." So we ordered our food and it was SO delicious, like 'I wanted to lick the plate and then mate with it' delicious. Crispy fried onion fritters, spicy flaky pockets of mashed potato, green peas, and chilies, and chicken pakora, so salty and crunchy, all with tamarind dipping sauce that was sweet and cool and tangy. It was amazing.
And I could feel the hostility each time my water was refilled. Damn me for drinking so much water all the time! I'm the complete opposite of a camel.
And then, sheepishly, I asked our waiter about dessert. I wanted Gulab Jamun, badly. If you've not had Gulab Jamun and you like syrupy sweet desserts, get your ass to an Indian restaurant, immediately. I don't care if it is not open right now, go wait. These things are little dense balls, not unlike cake donuts with the texture of a hushpuppy, soaked in a sugar syrup that is heavily laced with cardamom and rosewater, until they cannot hold another drop of syrup, and dear people, they are so very good.
What they are usually not is BOILING MOTHERFUCKING HOT, which is what they were when they were served to me in this lovely restaurant in NY. They were like, passive aggressively hot. Like every bit of anger that that waiter had at me for wasting his time with a 20 dollar order for three in the heart of Manhattan, times 20, was put on the microwave timer. To the point that I could feel the searing heat coming off of it before it actually got to my face, which thankfully gave me a warning, or I would have lost all the skin lining the inside of my mouth. My poor impulse control still contributed to minor burns, but thankfully, I avoided a hospital visit. And still they were delicious. So good. Almost worth the burns, totally worth the story.
Next time I have cause to visit NYC, I will, fer real, be budgeting a bunch of money to get an assortment of their amazing dishes, but I think I will get it to go next time, just in case.