Postcard from NYC
[Yep, Shellyn wasn't a huge fan of my camera-usage in or near eateries, so here is a Google map street-view original, complete with blurry dude.]
My friend Shel lives on what she (and others?) call Curry Row. Raj Mahal, Calcutta, Taj Mahal, Spice Cave, etc—the line of Indian restaurants and the proprietors standing outside to convince to come in remind me of the narrow alleys in Brussels. Menus look the same and you can’t tell from the outside if one is better than another.
We chose Raj Mahal because of the friendly guys standing on the street, and I think our pick was top notch. She’s vegetarian, and because I <3 vegetarian food, we shared two entrees and some garlic naan. I love the beghum bartha (I see it sometimes as beigan bartha or some other spelling incarnation at other restaurants); it’s eggplant based, and at Raj Mahal it was so nice—a little sweet, and very light. I’ve had it spicy, I’ve had it a little salty, but this was my favorite version. We also got a spinach and chickpea dish, chana saag. I thought about pallak paneer (spinach with cubes of cheese), but it can be sort of creamy and heavy, and we were planning our dessert from the start. Plan ahead and ye shall watch what you eat. I loved both dishes and would go back and get the exact same ones. The garlic naan was ok—not the best naan I’ve ever had, but it was fine. We drank water, got two vegetarian dishes, one order of naan, and there were some fun sauces on the table (albeit mostly too spicy for me). Shel got herself a side of hot sauce so she could free herself from the constraints of my mild-loving tastebuds. We didn’t even clean the serving dishes clean (we had a bit leftover), we each got a complimentary scoop of mango sorbet at the finale, and we did it all for $23. In New York City. ::pats self on the back:: Raj Mahal
E. 6th St (Between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
We had room for dessert after taking a stroll to 16 Handles.
AND THEN we went to 16 Handles. Yes, another yogurt place. I know, enough with the yogurt already, but this place is different, I swear. 16 Handles is for people who want to get what they want in the amount that they want with whatever they want on top of it. There are 16 flavors (obviously) of non-fat fro-yo and you pay by the weight. Get as little or as much as you want. Toppings are decadent (cookie dough pieces, tiny brownie pieces), funky (mochi), and fruity (blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, mandarin oranges, etc).
With so many flavors to choose from, I decided to forego all the fruit ones and also the original plain tangy. I had pistachio, mint, chocolate, peanut butter, coffee, and I think cookies & cream. I topped it with almonds and blueberries. I thought about coconut, but decided to save that for a day when I would make a “normal” cup. Maybe I’d go back one day and have peanut butter yogurt with nuts and coconut. But not this day. On this day it was totally necessary for me to have a zillion flavors.
I thought it was going to be unbelievably expensive, but trying all those flavors and having a fairly sizable portion didn't cost me anymore than cobbler & custard at DG.
As all the young folks gathered and hung out on the street with their crazy yogurts, the Tasti D-lite across the street looked so sad and empty. For now, anyway.
E. 10th St & 2nd Ave