Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Best Damn Chicken Tikka Masala Evah!

I was hanging out north of the border last week, in Ontario, and I must say how much I really do enjoying visiting Canada. I know it's stereotypical, but Canadians really do seem to be much more politer than those of us who reside in the lower 48.

I know, I know, Canada has crime and bad people just like any other country, but I've seriously have never experienced it firsthand, like I have in the States...and I like that I have such a rosy, touristy glow about the country.

I also like that there's a large Indian population in the area where I am staying, which allowed me to indulge in some serious eating of naan. (Y'all already know my love of bread, so I'll forgo the waxing and waning about that!)

I had a lovely dinner at Bombay Bhel, which I highly recommend if you are ever in the Toronto area. It's well worth the worth the drive, that when I'm back in Canada in a few weeks, I'm seriously considering driving 5 hours to eat there again. And, I don't say that about a lot of restaurants.

Most of my Indian food experience has been from the ubiquitous lunch buffet...and sometimes, a buffet is not a bad thing, especially when it comes to unfamiliar food. The buffet allows you to get a taste of many things, so you can go back later and order off the regular menu. However, I am totally hating the trend of all Chinese restaurants to be buffets with 100s of items, most of which in no way resemble actual Chinese food in any form or fashion. When I go for Chinese, I don't want to pick through meatballs, hot wings, and pizza...I want to order off a real menu.

Anyway, back to the meal. The manager/owner waited on me, and I sort of put myself in his hands. He suggested the Chicken Tikka Masala and garlic naan...and it was perfect. The layers of spice offset by the buttery garlic naan were just heavenly. I pretty much embarrassed myself by scraping up every last bit of sauce with the last of the naan was quite possible that I was veering closely towards getting my head stuck in the serving pot, and the only thing that stopped me was being in a restaurant with other people.

The owner and I had a nice little conversation about dining a'la carte as opposed to buffet. He was rather bemused about the way people think that a buffet is some sort of deal, because it's a lot easier to disguise lesser quality ingredients. Plus, he pointed out, that those giant buffet places do not throw out all the food at the end of the night--they can't afford it. He mentioned that for his daughter's birthday, they went to a local Chinese buffet, because for some reason, she didn't want to eat Indian food. : ) (Exotic celebratory food is all relative.) The buffet closed at 9:30, and he noticed that the employees were covering the buffet pans and moving them to the back kitchen...not dumping out the used dishes. That amazed me...I thought there would be some sort of health code rule about that...although, how many health department inspectors show up at closing time? I'm guessing not a lot, if any. Think about that the next time someone suggests least go in the middle of lunch rush, so you don't get last night's leftovers that were put out first thing!

People were also making plans for Thanksgiving, which was celebrated on Monday in Canada...which explains why every Canadian and his or her sister was in the Customs line with me at 4-freakin'-30 in the morning.  I had that ungodly early flight to make it back to Atlanta at a decent, lesser traffic, hour to pick up the poodles, who were staying with The Man while I traveled. 

Turns out that Canadian Thanksgiving is on a Monday, so you're always assured of a 3-day weekend.  And, Canadians do a lot of what we do--eat too much, watch some sports, maybe strain a 40+ year old muscle trying to play touch football with the kids--the regular stuff

But, those whacky neighbors to the north like to mix it up a little, and there used to be themes for their Thanksgivings.  My theme would most likely be "No Marshmallows on the Sweet Potato Casserole Ever!"  Or maybe this:  "the All Macaroni & Cheese Day of Thanks for Cheesy Goodness."  Too much, you say?  "Honey", as Tessa always tells me, "excess is JUST enough!"  (Which seems to be the mission statement for that ongoing train wreck that Bravo is presenting--the Real Housewives of Atlanta.  Total dreck is the politest adjective I can come up with at the moment

So, I'm home for awhile...maybe I can get some more things unpacked and boxes moved in preparation for painting. And, I have to somehow pry off the craptastic 80s decorative mirror set  that is residing on my living room wall.  I've managed to get 2 of the 8 off in one place, along 2 casualties of my palette knife...which should be mean my luck will peek its little groundhog head out and proclaim that who was I kidding...bad luck always adds up in the end!

Oh, and the project...I haven't forgotten, but I still haven't found the cookbooks yet! : ) (But, I think I might try to make some Chicken Tikka on my own...)


LinC said...

Hooray for Indian food! But I cheat -- I bought tikka masala simmer sauce (in a jar) at Trader Joe's in Atlanta (Roswell Road) the last time we were over there. It's the quickie way to num-nums.

J said...

Come visit! Great Indian food is everywhere here.