I'm loving my new job! It's my second day doing door-to-door sales for Culligan drinking water systems ( http://www.culligan.com/ ) in my own territory -- I was training in other peoples' territories last week -- and while I haven't made any sales yet in Teaneck or elsewhere, I've sure learned a lot! The more "doors" (businesses such as stores, salons, or doctors' offices) I see, the more confident I become. I think I'll do just another block or two of Cedar Lane and then stop to eat my usual Luna nutrition bar ( http://www.lunabar.com/ ) and drink my Naked juice ( http://nakedjuice.com/ ) for lunch.
Yay, that business there, near Grange Road, has the word Shalom in it! I'll for sure get them to sign up, if not now then next time around. I take a closer look at the sign that says Shalom Bombay, wondering what kind of business it is.... What?! A kosher Indian restaurant?! ( http://www.shalombombay.com/ ) I debate with myself: Sarah, you just rejoined Weight Watchers ( http://www.weightwatchers.com/ ), and besides, you don't want to spend that much money for a fancy lunch. But I've never been to an Indian restaurant and I want to try it!
I step inside and am greeted by Refael at the front, who has me choose one of the four tasting menus. I select:
CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA
LAMB OR BEEF CURRY
because it is the least expensive selection that includes meat.
I sit down at the nearest table and gaze around at the magenta walls, shiny cat figures, and other Indian decor. Since it is lunchtime, I have the place to myself except for a couple by the opposite wall. "Is that Indian music?" I ask Refael as I wait for the waitress to bring me something from the menu. "Yes," he says, "do you like it?" The relaxing, rhythmic music is very beautiful background music for my upcoming meal.
Kalyani the waitress (her name is the name of a rhythm and a goddess) appears bearing a basket of soft, thin naan bread and three small bowls of sauces in which to dip it. I get up to wash and return quickly to enjoy that first delicious bite of naan by itself. Then...boy, are those sauces spicy! I eat up all the naan, but just a tiny bit of each sauce is enough to provide an ample burst of flavor for all the bread in the basket!
Kalyani then brings me a single, large, round, silver tray with a mound of rice on one side and five tiny, colorful bowls curved against the opposite side, across from the rice. "This one is the dessert," she says, pointing to one bowl that looked like it should be sweet rather than spicy.
I begin with the bowl containing a few pieces of chicken and sauce, bracing myself for the burn....I have to take a few gulps of water, it's so spicy! Kalyani is concerned that I don't like it, but I assure her that I like the flavor; it's just really spicy. I put rice in it to try to take the edge off, while she disappears in the back and returns with a couple of lemon slices. "Lemon juice takes away some of the spiciness," she tells me. I try it, and sure enough, the taste is a bit milder! The flavor is still very strong, but not so spicy that it burns my mouth. Kalyani informs me that I could have asked for my food to be mild. I didn't know it would be quite so spicy, but I'm glad to experience the real thing the first time. Next time I will request a milder meal.
I continue on to the bowl with lamb and sauce. Same deal: I put rice and lemon juice inside before I continue eating. And again with the tofu and sauce. In the meantime, Kalyani has brought me a small bowl of some white stuff that she says will help with the spiciness, and indeed it does. The daal is different, though. It reminds me of a thick version of pureed soup that I'm able to eat with a fork. I eat it without rice and lemon juice, as it's not as spicy as the other three, in my opinion. The whole while, I am absolutely enjoying the incredible sensations in my mouth. Finally I get to the dessert, which appears to be some kind of rice pudding. I take the first bite, and... wow! Its sweetness is unique and perfectly complements the spiciness of the rest of the meal. This final delight is the perfect ending to a most incredible eating experience that has left both my belly and my tastebuds more satisfied than any other meal I have had in my life! Refael tells me this is the only kosher Indian meat restaurant in the USA!
As if that's not enough, Kalyani tells me to wait a moment. She gives me a container of orange candy which she says is fried and dipped in syrup. I cannot wait to eat it, but I put it in my bag for now. I know I will enjoy it more later when my stomach is not as stuffed. For now, I must again brave the cold as I continue along Cedar Lane. Maybe I'll even make my first sale, which would be the sweetest thing of all....
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